Ya little devil

Trip Start Sep 12, 2005
Trip End Sep 11, 2006

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Monday, November 21, 2005

So, Weds (16th) morning I got up at 5:30am - not fun, in order to get to the airport in time for my flight. Knackered. And it was bloomin well delayed - typical! Nay mind, it meant I didn't have to wait as long in Tas to meet Liz off her flight. Got into town and checked into the cheapest hostel we could find in Hobart, though it was actually pretty nice, just had a couple of weirdos staying there. Didn't actually do a hell of a lot that day, seeing as we were so tired. I just basically had a mooch around and checked out the tourist office for ideas of what to do there. I had already seen a cycling company that organises tours to various areas around Tasmania and I was quite liking the idea, but they all left on Mondays (and were hideously expensive) so were no use to me. Instead, I decided to go it alone and ended up buying myself a detailed map of the south-western quarter of Tas and hiring a bike for 6 days which I was to pick up tomorrow. My rather ambitious plan was to cycle to Mt Field National Park and back (a kind of rainforest with waterfalls and huge trees, etc.) That evening Liz and I got dolled up and went off in search of a good night out. This was a state capital, after all. However, being a Wednesday night, things were pretty quiet, even in a supposedly really popular bar (where a band on tour were playing to just 5 people - myself and liz included). We therefore ended up in just a backpacker bar watching Oz play Uraguay for entry into the World Cup. Unfortunately Oz won. Met a really nice bloke there who Liz had eyed on her plane called Teddy, which in itself was entertainment enough for us two, and we hung around drinking and playing pool.

So, Thurs (17th) I got my stuff together (far too much stuff as it turned out) and went to pick my bike up. The poor guy in the shop was rather concerned about the welfare of his bike when I asked him how I actually attached the pump to the wheel. As he was showing me, he foolishly said, "well, you know how to remove the wheel, right?" ... I looked apologetically at him ... he looked aghast ... "right, well, you know how to replace the inner tube, yeah?" ... ditto before ... he looked even more worried. So I decided to leave the lessons behind, reassuring him I'd be fine and hoping I'd never have to put my lack of knowledge to the test.
There are a couple of points I neglected to consider when deciding to cycle this route:
1. It's a 100 mile round trip,
2. I am incredibly unfit,
3. Although I had been told it was 'undulating' route, I considered it to be decidedly 'hilly',
4. My destination - MOUNT Field National Park, was, surprisingly rather high up,
5. The only pair of trousers I had were jeans, which I later discovered become rather tight and heavy in the rain,
6. It's harder to cycle uphill when your bike is leaded down with all your food, clothing and toiletries in the saddle bags,
7. It's impossible to stand whilst cycling uphill when said saddle bags are unbalanced,
8. It's quiet unnerving when a huge lorry passes you on the expressway at 80mph.
I was also rather thankful I had decided to wait till after this trip to see Wolf Creek - a particularly gruesome film out at the moment about a couple of English girls backpacking who fall foul of some weirdo in the outback.
After all that though, I actually had a fantastic time. I stopped on the way there in a place called New Norfolk for the night, which seemed to be more backward and full of inbreds than our Norfolk back home.

Fri (18th) I made it to Mt Field National Park and I wasn't disappointed. It was gorgeous. Barely able to stand properly when I dismounted, I then had a 2 hour trek up and around the National Park to 3 different waterfalls and through a section call 'Tall Trees' which had some kind of Eycalyptus trees which are supposed to be the 2nd tallest trees in the world after the Californian Redwoods. I'm not so sure, but they were about 80metres high, and you really got to appreciate their height when you walked along one which had fallen. I finished the trek and went in search of accommodation around/in the Park. There was none. Well, none in my price range anyway. So, off I cycled BACK to New Norfolk (a further 40km), setting off at 5:30pm. Became quite worried about the light failing me about half way back as I realised that there were (a) no lights on my bike and (b) no street lights. Anywhere. Even in the towns. Hmm... was absolutely exhausted when I got to New Norfolk at 8:30 that night and couldn't wait to get into the shower.

So Sat (19th) I cycled the rest of the way back to Hobart and took my bike back to the cycle shop 3 days early. They kindly gave me a partial refund, I think they were just so surprised I had managed it. When I turned up they figured I hadn't made it and had given up half way there, so it was pretty satisfying telling them otherwise. I had a great night out that evening too. Went out with two of the weird guests at the hostel, a Liverpudlian woman and Ozzie guy (a supposed artist - I'm no art critic, but I could tell this was not going to earn him a living!). Anyway, had a few giggles at this other backpacker place and then moved on to a rather trendy bar in town where I met the nicest couple you'll ever likely to meet - a Scotish gal and Tassie guy who were just so happy together and realised how lucky they are to have met and be doing exactly what they want in life. Thankfully, they asked me to join them, as the two from my hostel were getting quite intimate and I was feeling like the gooseberry. Stayed out till about 3:30 and just had a superb night getting hideously drunk on port.

Sun (20th) I had to get up at 7am in order to catch a public bus to the famous Wineglass Bay. Unfortunately the bus network in Tas is less 'quaint', more 'inadequate'; with most services only going once every 2 days and at awkward times. As a result, I only had 1hr 45mins at the Wineglass Bay. To get there though, involved climbing a rather steep path over a mountain to a lookout point, down the other side to the beach and then back again. I was pretty chuffed I managed it all within the time limit, even though I had to jog part of it. It was well worth it again though. I would actually go so far as to say it was on a par with the Whitsundays. The only downfall was the temperature of the water - a tad on the nippily side, but after the trek, you were ready to get in. Liz and I then coincidently met back up and got the same bus back to Hobart. We had a rather quiet night in as Liz had to be up at 3:30am for her flight tomorrow, mine was on Tues.

I had been invited by the Scot/Tas couple to go the cricket on Mon (21st) morning, to see Oz play the West Indies - Liz had gone for the day when I went cycling, but to be honest I was feeling pretty damn pooped and the idea of getting up early again filled me with dread. So instead, I'm ashamed to say I completely wasted the day. Just hung out in a park reading my book and finding a pressie for Liz's birthday. Another quiet night was had by me as it was now my turn to get up at 3:30am to catch my flight to Melbourne... I miss sleep!
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