I did it! I completed my first cycle tour… and it went incredibly well. The tour featured white wallabies, cheese, views, beer, penguins, sunshine, wine, camping, cheesecake, fudge, swimming and, most of all, lots of cycling. What a combo!
Here’s a run down of what myself and an Aussie gal named Megan got up to on our 3 night tour of Bruny Island – (by the way, I met Megan after I posted an ad on Gumtree for some company whilst cycle touring – what a great thing the internet is!)
Day 1 – Sandfly General Store (sort of near Hobart, mainland Tasmania) to Mavista (South Bruny)- 65 km/41 miles
I met up with Megan at the ferry terminal in Kettering, south of Hobart, where she hired her bike and we went over to Bruny Island together on the vehicle ferry, which cost a very reasonable $6/£3.70 return for a bike. Passengers go free.
The weather was great and we managed to cycle all the way south to Mavista near Adventure Bay, stopping many times on the way, including at the Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Company… you will notice there is a food and drink theme to this trip.
We had to tear ourselves away from the delights of the cheese and beer company… we lazed out in the sunshine sampling the artisan cheeses (a tasting flight cost just $5/£3.10), and sipping the hand-crafted ales. Hmmm. Heaven.
The cheeses were a taste sensation, especially the ‘OEN’ – soft cheese washed in pinot noir and wrapped in vine leaves – wow.
Once we’d managed to muster the energy and will-power to leave this fantastic foodie pit-stop we cycled across ‘the neck’ of the island, partly on the road and partly on the beach. Riding on the beach was great fun. I was a bit precious at first, not wanting to get salt on my new bike causing it to rust, but I figured life is for living, and cycling on a beach is a pleasure which I needed to experience. I will just hose down my bike. Simple.
We went hunting for the white wallabies once we arrived at the spectacular Adventure Bay. White wallabies are unique to Bruny Island, and we were told that they are growing in numbers. We managed to spot a couple on a field at the southern end of the bay – they are so cute – but we saw quite a few on Lockleys Road when we were heading to a camping spot for the night.
Pics from day 1 –
Day 2 – Mavista (South Bruny) to Jetty Beach campground – 40 km/25 miles
An hour long nature walk through the rainforest was first on the agenda for today. It was beautiful. Megan taught me the names of some of the Australian plant species.
An uphill slog on an unsealed dirt track was next up. I was determined to make it all the way up without getting off and pushing my bike, and I made it. It was hard work, especially as my bicycle has fairly thin tyres. It is a hybrid Malvern Star, but it handled it pretty well. I was very pleased, considering I had an awful lot of weight on the back too.
Australia’s most southern vineyard/winery was calling us on the way south (after we’d joined back up to the main road from the dirt track). What a fantastic stop. We spent hours in there – tasting the wines and ciders, eating delicious burgers (my Indian spiced chickpea burger was to die for) and indulging on cheesecake with strawberry and mint ice cream. Yummo!
After another difficult departure (we just wanted to relax in the sunny vineyard eating and drinking amazing local produce all day), we cycled mostly on unsealed roads all the way south-west to Jetty Beach, located in South Bruny National Park. The roads weren’t too bad, there were just a few hairy moments (one being along the 2 km stretch to the campground which is very sandy) but overall my bike fared well. Jetty Beach campground was wonderful. We were very close to the beach and sheltered from the wind, which picked up while we were there. We were also the talk of the campsite – lots of people wanted to know how far we had rode and where we are going etc.
I was getting bitten a fair bit by mosquitos at Jetty Beach. They love me. So I decided in my wisdom to slide into the vet body-bag (which I had purchased for $4.20 to act as a dry bag for some of my gear) and sit in it like a mermaid while we having dinner… this has made several small holes in the bag. I have patched them up with trusty Gaffa tape.
Day 2 photos –
Day 3 – Jetty Beach campground to The Neck campground (with a detour to the lighthouse) – 41 km / 25 miles
A refreshing dip in the gorgeous (but cold) sea set us up for the day today. It was about time we had a wash! The beach was deserted and the sun was just starting to warm up.
We visited the lighthouse after we had packed up our gear. It was a detour but it had to be done seen as we were so far south anyway. The views were spectacular. We decided to try our luck and ask around to see if anyone would be so kind as to take our stuff north for us and leave it somewhere for us to collect later on. We got lucky – two sisters obliged and gave our panniers and tents a lift to Hotel Bruny, the island’s pub, which saved us lugging it at least part of the way. We were very grateful. You feel so light with no gear strapped to your behind!
Lunch was had at a tiny secluded beach en route back northwards. Beautiful.
Obviously we didn’t just pick up our bags from the pub when we arrived. A cold beer/cider were in order. Also Bruny Island Fudge somehow made it into our mouths… mmmm.
It was a very warm day so we went for another swim to cool down. It was here that we saw our first penguin of the trip. It was dead on the beach. Not a nice sight. In the evening though, we pitched up and headed along ‘the neck’ to the penguin and muttonbird lookout, where we saw many muttonbirds and a few little penguins. One was a little fluffy baby who popped out of its nest looking for its parents, who we are sure wouldn’t be impressed if they knew. I took a video of the din of the penguin chicks all calling for their returning parents.
Day 3 pics –
Day 4 – The Neck campground back to South Hobart (via Longley and Fern Tree) – 69 km/43 miles – 973 metres of ascent and 819 metres of descent
A tough but very enjoyable day. We started the day off slowly with a leisurely breakfast of porridge with honey and banana, and a cuppa, then Megan went over some basic bike mechanics with me – like how to adjust the brake pads and gears, what to check regularly and how to clean the chain etc. It was very helpful.
The Cheese and Beer Company was too tempting to ride past, so we called in again and had some lunch. I had the most amazing cheese wrapped in locally made prosciutto, with fresh bread, some sort of jelly and pickles – delicious. Megan had a pizza which was also very tasty. A time restraint meant that we had to carry some of our food away with us, as we needed to catch the 2pm ferry in order for Megan to get a flight. We made it with 2 minutes to spare. Phew.
We parted ways at Kettering and I rode north back to South Hobart and the help exchange family I am staying with. I took the back road up through Longley and Fern Tree which was a challenge, especially in the rain, but I eventually made it by evening, and was rewarded with beer and homemade pizza. Winner!
Day 4 memories –
Now for the next adventure!
Thanks for reading.