Day 8 – Friendly Beaches to Freycinet National Park (20 km/13 miles cycling)
The worst part of the ride today was the steep climb on the dirt corrugated road out of the campsite. Once I had smashed that though it was plain sailing – if quite boring – all the way to Coles Bay.
For $13/£8 a night I camped at the Freycinet National Park site along Richardsons Beach, with the facilities being cold showers, flushing toilets, a covered BBQ area with a plug point (which we all shared using an adapter if someone had one, or vied for if not) and beachfront pitches. Perfect. The only issue was the rock-hard ground. I had to improvise when I set up my tent…
A cyclists’ reunion occurred once I had pitched up. Sebastian (German) came over to introduce himself and then Pepe (the Chilean guy who I met previously in Triabunna) arrived. They knew each other from a prior meeting in Hobart. Great stuff.
The three of us had Mount Amos in our sights and cycled to the start of the walking track. I experienced my first puncture of the trip when we set off. Fortunately Pepe and Sebastian were on hand to support me. I had been taught how to repair/change the inner tube but it was nice to have some supervision. It was irreparable because the valve had split, so I used my spare tube.
Mount Amos is only 434m high but the ascent is actually quite challenging, owing to the steep slippery boulders and lack of clear track. Albeit, it was one of my favourite climbs. The view of picturesque Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach was incredible.
Day 9 – Freycinet National Park (11 km/6 miles walking)
Pepe, Sebastian and I bumped into another cyclist, Oliver, a Swiss lad who’d been on the road for two years! He’s been touring Alaska, Iceland, South East Asia and now Tasmania… Wow.
Pepe and I were discussing how it’s funny when people call us adventurous, then we meet characters like that, who have been to really remote and far-flung destinations for long periods, and it makes you realise you’re not so special. We both agreed that it’s not a competition though; as long as you enjoy the journey, treasure each moment and feel good about yourself and your own achievements that is all that matters.
The three of us walked the 11 km/6 mile Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach Circuit track, halting for some snacks and a swim at Hazards Beach along the way. Gorgeous. Wineglass Bay may look enticing from a distance but on closer inspection there were bluebottle jellyfish, the ocean was a little choppy and the sand was not as appealing as on the other side of the isthmus at Hazards Beach.
Day 10 – Freycinet National Park (14 km/8 miles cycling)
I commenced the pack-up and load-up routine in the morning, along with the boys, then decided to listen to my body. It was telling me to take a rest. My knees were sore and muscles aching; it must have been quite a shock to them, powering a bicycle with quite a bit of luggage up and down hills everyday.
We said our goodbyes as they departed heading north, and I stayed put, chilling out and practicing yoga.
Perhaps not one of my greatest ideas was to bike 14 km/8 miles along a far-from-flat road in the afternoon, up to Cape Tourville lighthouse. I knew I should have been resting, but I find it hard when there are so many things to see and do! I ended up pushing my bike for the first time. I just couldn’t make it up one of the steep inclines as my knees were giving me gyp. Once there I strolled around the Cape track and enjoyed the views of the peninsula.
A pesky possum got hold of my rubbish bag in the evening and wasn’t easily scared off, it took me a few attempts to make him flee. Sunset was spectacular.
Day 11 – Freycinet National Park – day of rest
I spent the day resting, properly. My body told me to!
Day 12 – Freycinet National Park to Bicheno (44 km/27.5 miles cycling)
19 kmph was my cycling speed for the first hour after leaving the campsite in the morning. I don’t usually have any idea how fast I’m moving, and don’t often care, but it just so happened that I saw a sign with how many km it was back to where I began after exactly one hour.
Arriving in Bicheno around lunchtime, the sun was shining and the sea glistening; I changed my mind about carrying on to the next free campsite, and checked in to Bicheno Backpackers. Great decision. Bicheno was delightful.
I swam in the crystal clear waters, relaxed on the beach, visited an art gallery, watched the blowhole doing its thing, strolled the lovely foreshore track, stumbled across a trail up to the Town Lookout Rock (which I scrambled up for a great view of sunset with a pizza box in tow), and saw fairy penguins in the evening; in fact myself and a few others had our very own little penguin show. I was the only one out of many who had turned up at the beach at dusk to spy penguins with a red torch. Ample signs and tourist leaflets advise the use of red lights to spot the penguins, as white lights scare them. Do you think people take any notice? No.
Fortunately for the few people nearest to me, I had two red lights on hand, so we shared them and witnessed six tiny little penguins coming back to shore over the rocks after a day at sea. Such a special sight.