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Old 10-23-2011, 01:52 AM   #1
Eaglebeak OP
Aussie BM rider, West Oz.
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Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Perth.
Oddometer: 1,863
Tasmania, from Perth

Well, I've been back 3 weeks from this trip.
I've got Tom Waits cranking on the Stereo, my afternoon looks free, there is simply no more excuse to put off posting this report.

I starting planning this trip last year. Take my BM 1150R across the Nullarbor to Melbourne, catch up with a mate, meet Lout and go to the Dargo rally.
Then stick the bike on the ferry to Tassie and spend 9 days wandering our southernmost state before punting back home across the bottom to Perth.

Approximately 10,000 kms in a bit over 3 weeks. Easy peasy !

In the past I've been happy to ride alone but lately I've been enjoying riding more with mates so I put the word out early.
A few expressed interest but as the departure date got closer work and family committments got in the way.

I resigned myself to going alone.

So it was with gratitude I accepted my old mate Mark's offer to ride out from Perth to Hyden with me.

Mark and I go way back.

Memories of him doubling me around our home town on his first bike, a Suzuki Hustler 250 two stroke to him graciously loaning me his late Honda 400 "Super Sport" to take my bike license on.

We made it to the Bakery in Hyden where a compulsory lunch stop was in order.

We ran into two other BM mounted riders in Hyden who were also heading east, aiming for Lake Eyre to see the flooding. (a rare event out there)

Here we parted ways, with Mark heading south for the night before swinging back to Perth and the other two riding out to Norseman with me.

Hyden to Norseman is 300 kms of good dirt (when it's dry). There are two or three interesting sites along the way but I've done this road a number of times now so after a couple of photo's, I left the guys to look at "The Breakaways" and pushed off for Norseman and a refuel.

I made another 100 plus kms from Norseman and decided to call it a day a Fraser Range Station (For overseas readers. "Station" - very large grazing property, usually +200,000 acres anywhere up to a 1,000,000 acres)

Fraser Range was making a little extra cash by providing budget camping so I thought I'd have a look.
Only about 700 kms for the day. Including getting out of Perth (~ one hour) and a lengthy stop for food in Hyden. Good enough.

Up early and a fuel and food stop in Caiguna roadhouse . . .

. . . before finally calling it a day about 40 kms east of the Border Village.

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself at this point. I'd last camped at this exact same spot in 1992 and I'd found it again at my first attempt.

It's not sign posted, it's just a faint little winding track of to the north of the road.

The shadows started lengthening so I quickly got down to dinner and retired to my swag early.

I never set out on my trips with the expectation I'll write up a trip report, I just take pics for my own sake.

I've down at least 8 return trips by bike to the east from the west, 3 motor vehicle trips and one, one way bicycle trip across so I took stuff all pictures.

Night 3 and I camped behind the roadhouse in Kimba, South Australia

From Port Augusta I planned to head south east down through Peterborough to Melbourne. But first a side track to have a look at

Up above Port Augusta

A nice track into the lookout.

A punt across the Murray, somewhere near Cadell I think.

In the above photo you can see how 1500kms of straight Nullarbor roads square off a rear tyre.

By the time I got to Pinnaroo I was ready to grab a room. This section of the trip, down east from Pt Agutta was bloody cold, the worst of the whole trip, including Tasmania (still to come).

I couldn't believe it, not a room to be had in Pinnaroo, so in the dark I had to ride east to Murrayville where I managed to snaffle the last room in the pub. Apparently there's a lot of road work going on in this part of the world, and that means good money for struggling pubs and Motels with all the road crews to accomodate.

Did I say it was cold ?

There'd been a mice plague in the town and this little guy apparently deserved his place in front of the fire.
On the phone to my sister that night, I watched as a mouse ran across the floor of my room and disappeared under my bed.

My host, a young Frank Thring doppelganger perhaps ?

I'm always trying to find new roads on my trips, life is too short to ride the same road where another route is possible.
I'm also a bit of a luddite. Paper maps, not Garmins and satellite technology.

I was planning to meet fellow inmate, Lout, in Melbourne on Thursday morning. He lives in Tassie and was due of the ferry that morning for a 5 day wander around Victoria with me before he headed off to the BMW Safari, starting in Broken Hill.

I made it late on the 5th day to a crappy motel just off the Melbourne ring road and about 30 minutes from the ferry terminal.

Up early to catch Lout, here he comes.

First order of business, a trip to Tiger Angel for Jim to get some alterations done to his new, all weather suit.

Then to Pablo's where I dropped my rear wheel out for some new rubber.

Some nice bikes inside.

Then off to Mount Dandenong for food . . .

. . . . and bird watching.

Oops, I meant this. (although our waitress did have some interesting artwork on her neck.)

We overnighted with some friends of Jims before heading out the next morning, hoping to make Dargo townsite and then on to the Dargo Rally itself at Talbotville.

After a great ride in, we made Dargo and took a shared cabin with some other rally goers.

There'd been snow higher up the valley and big Mal, behind the 33, had got his 1150 stuck on a log, trying to come in from the north. After a 4 hour trip Dargo Dan had brought him back to town, minus his bike.
That was retrieved the following day.

Chatting to locals in the pub, I learned two things.
Firstly, it's a standing joke amongst the locals that every time the Monarchs Touring Club hold their Talbotville rally, the weather turns to shit.

The other thing I learned was there'd been a big increase in wild dog attacks in the area. One young woman, while out fixing fences, with her own two dogs in the back of her ute, had to make a quick retreat from a pack that looked likely to tear her two dogs apart. Apparently she went straight through 2 fences with the vehicle, with the pack in hot pursuit.

There were a lot of thoeries as to the bigger wild dog numbers. One was that the State Governments new viscious dog laws, targeting breeds such as the American Pit Bull, had lead to a number of owners dumping their animals in the mountains.
I'm a country boy too, but not a Victorian local, so I have no idea, but when I travel I'm always ferreting out this sort of information. After 30 years of living in a big city, Chatting to small town loclas is my way of getting a little country back into my soul.
(How's the song go ? "You can take a boy outa the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy")

Up in the morning, chatting to rally goers. Jim and I debated heading further up to the rally site at Talbotville or turning around like many others we saw that day.

We decided to have a look.

We got to the dirt turn off . . .

. . . and within 200 metres I lost the front tyre and went down.

I still had 3 weeks left on my trip and couldn't be stuffed fighting 17 kms of mud to spend a wet night in a paddock.
So we turned around and headed down to the coast !

Call me a lightweight, I'm not bothered. To me, thy journey IS the destination and I still had a lot of this journey to go.

Jim and I were pulled over having a chat when this old boy stopped.
He was on his way to Dargo to meet his son. He wasn't heading for the rally, just a look at the town.
A 360 cc honda, what, about 1973 ?

I had my helmet off, but earplugs still in.
So I was leaning over to hear better when we chatted. He was leaning over to hear me better too

. . .because he was 88 ! ! !

Bloody great to see. I hope I'm still out there on my bikes at that age.

A quick look at Port Welshpool

A night in Paynesville and then on to Phillip Island, my first time on the Island.

Then back to Melbourne.

Observant viewers may have noticed my leather work on my bike. Many, many years ago, I did a lot of leather work. Just before I left Perth for this trip I dug out some old leather and stitched up a set of mini saddle bags to carry 2.5 litres of water each side. just in front of my panniers.

Unfortunately, even though I'd re enforced the stress points of the stitching with rivets, the stitching pulled apart. The leather was pretty old and had sat in a damp shed for about 15 years.
I wasn't too worried, before leaving Melbourne, we dropped into Andy Strapz workshop/salesroom and I picked up a set of his tank bags.

Keep your eyes open, you'll see them in later shots, not as tank bags, but slung where I had the water bags.
Pricey, but worth the money.

Melbourne was where Jim and I parted ways. He was off to friends for the night before heading to Broken hill for the BM Safari. I was to spend a night with an old mate and his family before getting on the ferry for 9 days in Tasmania.

Thanks for the company big fella.

Now this was my 6 visit to Tasmania, but the first with my own transport. I've always flown in (or paddled across) so I was new to the "hurry up and wait" system of loading the ferry.

I watched the trucks go aboard,

I looked into the gaping bow entry,

I got checked into the queue,

Then I waited and waited.

Finally aboard and I settled into my luxurious (not) recliner chair for the entire 11 hour crossing.
(very little sleep, I upgraded to a cabin for the return crossing 9 days later)

First stop the following morning, the little town of Penguin for breakfast. Picked at random, because it weasn't too far from the ferry terminal, the name was a laugh and I could watch my bike from the bakery.

Then on through the rich earth of the north coast, heading for Stanley and "the Nut".

I again indulged myself and got a great little flat behind an art gallery.

A good meal in the pub and I was ready to head out the next morning, heading for the wet and wild, west coast.

The further west I went, the gloomier the weather became.

But the scenery was brilliant.

Approaching Authur River on the west coast.
I've zoomed in here, check out the size of the waves.

I planned to top up fuel here before tackling the Western Explorer, about 80 kms of good dirt down to Corinna on the Pieman River.
Unfortunately, there was no fuel to be had and I had to back track about 16 kms to Marrawah, a place that looked much smaller.

Crossing the Authur River.

and on to Couta Rocks, a small fishing shack community.

I spent some time trying to work out the channel entrance, it's a wild bit of coast, all the boats 40 + feet at least, were hauled up out of the water on rails.

Finally onto the Western Explorer.

Not a bad road.

Small bits of tar where the heavy (all year) rain may erode the track.

I only saw one other vehicle on the track. A 22 seater Toyota Coaster bus, towing a trailer nearly took me out on a blind corner as they hogged the middle of the road. luckily, I'd been worried about just such a thing occurring and had been hugging the edges on all corners.

If I'd been on my sidecar I might have been clipped.
(I found out in Corinna that is was a group of Jesus freaks. They'd stayed overnight in Corinna and had a prayer meeting that morning before heading north and into my path.
Thank god for the power of prayer.

First order of business when I got to the hamlet of Corinna was a good feed.

I procrastinated for a good hour in the pub, warming myself in the warmth and chatting to the manager. He was a Tassie local, who'd been away in Queensland managing similar ventures for a number of years.

A newish building, designed to look a bit old.
Nicely done though.

Finally I hauled myself away, out into the cold for the ferry ride across the Pieman river.
The young ferry operator in the cap was particularly helpful. Chatting about my bike, and offering camping advice for my journey south.

Although my map showed otherwise it was all tar from here to Zeehan, a distance of approximately 50 kms.
It set in with heavy rain and I was grateful to get a cheap onsite van for $30.
No matter that the stove didin't work and I had only one operating light. At least the showers were hot and the water was plentyful.

I tossed my swag out on the bed and set to with my Trangia, preparing some hot food.

The following morning I set off for Strahan, a place I'd been before.

It's a top little town and the gateway to Macquarie Harbour and boat cruises up the gordon River.

Pretty quiet at this time of year though.

I pushed on, heading for Queenstown.

Check out the house in the background.

Now Queenstown is nestled in a valley and has an incredible climb up a switchbacked road, but unfortunately it started bucketing down, my camera was under a cover in my tank bag and to top it all, I had an impatient local up my rear with scant places to pull.

You'll just have to accept my word on the 200 metre waterfall that cascaded down the mountain side.

Up out of the valley I pushed onward, ever onward.

Leaving the wild and primeval west coast I started rolling through the middle of the state.
This shot is in the small town of Hamilton. A free campsite with toilet facilities in the heart of town. No stay longer than 3 days.

I should have taken more pictures, the scenery opened right up. Rolling pastures, with big views in places. But it was cold and at times wet.

I finally pulled in for the night to New Norfolk, about 40 kms from Hobart and found myself another cheap van.

There I met Norm and Jane, travelling around Oz for the last 9 months in this giant . . .thing.

They had sold everything and were spending Norm's sons inheritence. A fact Norm told me had resulted in an estrangement between the two of them.

It wouldn't be my preferred mode of transport but I was happy to accept the offer of diner and wine in the Winnebago that evening.

After days of my own cooking, I found I was easily bought !

I had no plans to go into Hobart, after 5 previous visits to the state I'd covered all there was to see in the capital.

Don't get me wrong, I love Hobart, there are some funky little bars in Salamanca. Great bakeries and fantastic old buildings.
Constitution Dock, where the Sydney to Hobart yacht race boats tie up is well worth a look.
But on all my previous visits, I used backpackers in town as my base when setting out on wilderness trips, so I've pretty much covered the town.

I was on my way to my mate Laurie Ford's place. About 30 kms north east of Hobart.

Laurie is the first person to paddle a kayak solo across bass Strait, both ways. Laurie left from tassie, wnet across to Victoria and then a few days later, paddled back.

I was looking forward to catching up with him and spending a couple of nights in his fantastic, self built house.

Well that's it for now, I'm off to the kitchen, I'm hungry.

To be continued.

Eaglebeak screwed with this post 10-24-2011 at 04:20 AM
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Old 10-23-2011, 03:38 AM   #2
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Nice, look forward to the rest.

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Old 10-23-2011, 04:49 AM   #3
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Location: Devonport Tazmania
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as a Local i can happily say i hate the "link" rd or Western explorer(dirt rd highway) with a passion.......when its dry its dusty like Kalgoorlie still it looked just right for you

i like seeing what places other people find interesting in Tas keep the pic's coming
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Old 10-23-2011, 05:57 AM   #4
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Nice ride report. Looking forward to reading more.

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Old 10-23-2011, 06:35 AM   #5
Gnarly Adventurer
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Location: Hydesville, Calif
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You live in a beautiful country, as your photos clearly show. A bike trip to Alaska "was" at the top of my bucket list but after seeing the beauty of your country I must rethink that.
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:55 PM   #6
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Location: Perth west aussie
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Apparently Rob and Wayne had a great time, they were travelling with another mate of mine on a Guzzi NTX650 but must have met him later.

Your trip looks like it was a beauty, Tasmania is a very scenic state and so different to our own.
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:02 PM   #7
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Nice. I'd like to do Tassie myself one day.
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Old 10-24-2011, 01:52 AM   #8
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Love Aussie and Tassie

Great post! Tassie is such a nice and remote place! Love to go back there some day!
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Old 10-24-2011, 01:59 AM   #9
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Great report so far Andrew, keep it up

I'm off to Tassie in January so I'm keeping a close eye on your report

Cheers: thumb
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Old 10-24-2011, 02:38 AM   #10
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Lovin it! I followed along with a map in another browser learning places and routes. My mother and step dad have been down to Aus twice in three years. On one of those trips they went to Tasmania as my step dad has an old college friend from Canada living there 30 years now.

More please.
I'd rather be dragging a club than clubbing in drag.
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Old 10-24-2011, 03:24 AM   #11
Eaglebeak OP
Aussie BM rider, West Oz.
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The view from Laurie's place

This house is totally off the grid. No power or water connected from the street.
Laurie has solar panels and a wind turbine to charge batteries and runs 12 LED lights throughout. A large camping fridge also.
If he needs to run any 240 volt tools he uses an inverter.
So we watched TV and listened to his stereo, just like normal people !

Water comes from two tanks, and from memory he has about 5,000 litres. Since he goes away every year for a few months, either OS or to the mainland, the tanks are always pretty full. He certainly had no problems with me taking longish showers.

Laurie used to work in the electronics field so his home workshop has lots of interesting "stuff"

He's also a volunteer radio operator for the local coastwatch, giving out weather reports and keeping tabs on boaters.

The toilet is a composting type. A small 12 volt computer fan pushes warm air from the main room (pot belly stove) down into the holding tank to help speed up the breakdown of solids into fertiliser and another fan helps extract any smell from the room.

I should have taken a shot of this room. Large, luxurious, with a welll stocked bookshelf. No smell what so ever !

Anyway it's a top little place and he's done a great job on it.

I hung out with Laurie for two nights before pushing off.

Earlier in Zeehan I'd met a fellow biker who'd invited me back to her and her Husband's place on Bruny Island. A small island off the east side of Tasmania.
An island off and island. Talk about hiding away from the world !

Jane had recently ridden her old airhead BMW 90/6 around Australia, about 17,000 kms.

I left Laurie's place in Dodges Ferry and headed south through Hobart on a big loop for Huonville and then Cygnet.

A crappy shot below, but I just love seeing all these old building well maintained.

Market happening in Cygnet.

I worked my way to the beautiful little town of Kettering, where I was to take the 20 minute ferry ride to Bruny Island.

I don't think the town itself is too big, but it has a big marina and I suspect a lot of the boats are owned by people in Hobart, which is only a short 30-40 minute drive away.

Back in 2000 I'd organised a Tasmanian paddle trip for myself and 5 friends.
We flew in from the west coast and hired collapsible two person kayaks of thsse people, "Roaring 40's Kayaking" and then loaded everything into light four seater single prop planes for the 30 minute flight in the wild and wonderful Port Davey, on the far south west coast. Six days in the wilderness. Magic.

Onto the ferry for Bruny Island

I decided to have a look at the southern part of Bruny and camp one night in the bush before catching up with Jane and Jimmy.

I took a track across the Island from Adventure Bay.
It started out okay.

But got a bit slimy as I climbed up into the rainforest.

All the dirt roads in Tassie were great, very easy for my big roadie.

I found a nice little beach and decided to camp.

I had the place to myself.

The following morning I took my time making my way to my friends.

Even this tiny Island had it's share of fellas willing to give their all for their country.

The General store at Adventure Bay on Bruny Island.

Take note of the timber cafe next door.

You are about to meet my newest friends, Jimmy and his "girl", Jane.
They came to Bruny 27 years ago, For a while they ran the general store, then Jimmy built Jane the cafe and she ran that for a while.

Now they are sort of retired. They have a little place in Hobart that gets some rent money in and they keep chickens, grow veggies, etc on their little "farm" on the Island.

I finally arrived, to a warm welcome (and home made cake, lovely).

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Old 10-24-2011, 04:03 AM   #12
Eaglebeak OP
Aussie BM rider, West Oz.
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Location: Perth.
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Jimmy's an old outlaw biker from way back. I don't think he's left the island in years.

Like me, he's had his fair shair of firearms, likes Leonard Cohen and BM's.
We hit it off.

They'd recently had to drop a large tree that was shading their veggie patch.

So Jimmy and I talked while we watched Jane do the work, (as you do) cutting it into pieces for storage for the winter months.

These Bumblebees facinate me. Big bodies, tiny wings. How do they fly ?

Then we took a wander.
Jimmy used to be a boiler maker/fitter.

A very interesting shed.

An old sidecar body

Then I spied something under a tarp.

"What's that mate ?"

"Oh that, just my ute."

Not quite stock, he's put a fuel pump into it and the rear fenders are fibreglass as the originals were too hard to source.

Blown away by the sheds contents, I went outside for some fresh air, hoping my racing heart would slow down.

Now I hadn't expected to stay the night, but Jane pulled some frozen lasagne out of the freezer and said.

"There's your dinner, the front bedrooms yours, we don't actually sleep here anymore, we have another place by the waterfront."

Yep, that's right. Jane had always wanted a place down on the waterfront. So Jimmy built "the girl" a stone cottage, down the road a bit and opposite a great little beach.

Jane loaded some timber into the van and took me to see the cottage they built together.

All the stone cut from their farm.

. . . and here's the view that Jane always wanted.

To be continued.
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:38 AM   #13
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Talking Eaglebeaks ride

Great report Andrew

Chicky Sunny ... Mildura
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:51 AM   #14
Gnarly Adventurer
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Great pics and report - thanks for taking the time. Aren't sheds like that great
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:54 AM   #15
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As usual, another great report Andrew, its been a while between reports though! The place on Bruny Island is amazing. Thanks for posting.
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