Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

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TCAT
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Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

Postby TCAT » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:18 pm

I am interested in riding the west coast of Tasmania, Cape Grim to Low Rocky Point. The route from Cape Grim to Strahan I know is possible by bike but further south I know very little about.
There is a track from Birchs Inlet (southern end of Macquaire Harbour) to Low Rocky Point that is used by motor bikes so I guess it could be possible to accomplish it on a push bike. Does anyone have information on this track?

As it is extremely remote on some of this and for safety reasons I need a riding partner/s. I don't plan to ride on my own and if I can't find anyone interested I will not attempt it. My thoughts at present are to do this January/February 2018. So if there is anyone looking for an adventure please get in contact.

Trevtassie
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Re: Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

Postby Trevtassie » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:15 pm

I spent 4 summers working down there, using the track you talk about. I'd say nope, don't bother. You *could* do it if you weren't carrying anything on your bike, because there would be long sections where you'd need to portage the bike across some massive muddy sections which would be grueling, but possible. With luggage you'd need to relay across the bog holes, and there are a lot of them, full of knee deep water. No pushing around them because of the button grass clumps. There are some nice quartzite sections in between the bog holes though, so it'd be make good progress, then spend a few hours slogging across a few hundred metres of carp. You'd definitely need a fat bike for the trip. If you are a complete masochist though, the way to go would be to have some food pre-dropped by chopper at Moores Valley, Wart Hill Camp and the Low Rocky Point Light House. Unfortunately for you Seaair no longer operate out of Strahan so it would cost a motza to do that. You might be able to get Par Avion out of Hobart to do a food drop at Moores Valley, they used to land a Cessna there. Not sure if they'd do a window dump of robust stuff anywhere else though if you sat phoned them with a position. Another option would be to get a cray boat to pick you up from the really nice camp ground at The Gulch (just east of LRP) but I'd definitely make sure they had previously put a food cache there, in case the weather was too bad to pick you up for a couple of weeks...
I also believe the decking has been removed from the bridges across the Wanderer and the Lewis as the track is officially closed to vehicles now (and the TPWS count bikes as vehicles).
It's kind of majestic country, in a character building way. In summer it's either cold and drizzling, cold and overcast or hot and chock full of vicious march flies (there's a damn good reason nobody lives there!)
We did have a few walkers come through, one was a French guy who walked down the coast, he was half starving by the time he got to us, because he completely underestimated the time needed and ran out of food before his next food drop. A couple dudes walked down the track, but reckoned it was pretty boring... it's predominantly button grass plains. We used to get a fair few quad bikes, they seemed to enjoy getting bogged, covered in mud and towing each other out, reckon that was down to all the beer they had on board...

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RonK
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Re: Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

Postby RonK » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:27 pm

No doubt you are aware of the Western Explorer route.

Tom Walwyn did a fatbike ride from Granville Harbour to Aurthur River.

Fat-packing Tasmania’s Wild West Coast

Can't help with any advice for further south, but you might glean useful information here:

A Traverse of Southwest Tasmania

A little too much adventure for me...
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

LG
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Re: Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

Postby LG » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:13 pm

I'll second Trev's comments for south of Birch's inlet. Having lived/worked over there and spent time on the ground and in the air south of Macquarie Harbour it's not really bike country. Beautiful, but you'd be better off on foot and along the coast.
LG = Low Gear

kicyclist
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Re: Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

Postby kicyclist » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:21 pm

Good advice from previous posters.
A long time ago I had the idea of cycling into the south coast track with my backpack on the bike. At south cape bay the bike had to be retired for later retrieval and I had to walk like everyone else. The next day crossing south cape range the decision to ditch the bike was justified. I would not try to cycle the route suggested but I have done the western explorer road and found that remote enough for me.
Next month I'm over in Tassie again, this time for some cycling& swimming on the east coast.
Are there any other places in Tassie that you are interested to cycle?
I would recommend the Central plateau as a challenging and rewarding cycle.
Graeme.

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TCAT
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Re: Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

Postby TCAT » Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:16 pm

Okay, so the Low Rocky Point section would appear to be out for this adventurer.
Thanks for your input. Some helpful information put forward. The ride along the beach from Arthur River to Granville Harbour would be nice. Wonder if it could be done on a touring bike?

Several years ago I spent 4 weeks riding around Tasmania and thoroughly enjoyed it. That trip was done away from the coast line and did include travelling the Central Plateau (Bothwell to Liffey). So the north and east coasts are an option this time however I do prefer riding in more remote places. I don't mind camping in the bush for several days away from populations centres as long as clean fresh water is available. I don't know whether I hit a good season but there was certainly plenty of water flowing in the creeks in the centre and west side of Tasmania during January/February.
I definitely want to do the Western Explorer but would like to have another rider at least for that section. Any other places I should consider?

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RonK
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Re: Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

Postby RonK » Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:48 pm

You could contact Tom Walwyn and ask for advice if his ride would be doable with touring tyres.

I suspect however that the answer will be no.

The Western Explorer I would have no hesitation in riding solo. It's on my to-do list.

There are few journals on CGOAB covering that route.

Northeast coast Bridport to St Helens perhaps? Flinders Island? Maria Island? If you haven't been to Freycinet it's a must do. Wielangta Road from Orford to Dunalley and on to Tasman Peninsula?
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TassieRambler
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Re: Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

Postby TassieRambler » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:35 am

I've ridden most of the route from Arthur River to Strahan and it is ridable on a mountain bike with bike packing gear and wider tyres (2.4) albeit there are a few sandy sections you need to push, and of course a few rivers (one of least, The Pieman, needs a ferry or packraft to get across). Headwinds can be a challenge if you've got the wrong weather patterns and I found the riding more fun on my fatbike the second time around.

I understand the section from Sandy Cape to the Pieman River is closed to vehicles (including bikes).

Some of my old write ups of the route are below if they help:

http://www.tassierambler.org/2012/12/we ... ieman.html
http://www.tassierambler.org/2015/10/fa ... ieman.html

TassieRambler
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Re: Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

Postby TassieRambler » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:04 am

Just as a follow up to my earlier post, four of us recently attempted to bikepack the track from Birches Inlet down to Low Rocky Point and back.

We were doing this as an authorised volunteer group for Parks and Wildlife (they transported us down to Birches Inlet and in return we did a track assessment for them).

The short story is that the area is beautiful, but it is hard and slow riding (we averaged about 4-5km/hr) and I would not recommend it to 99.99% of riders. We only made it about 55kms down the track (9kms past the Wanderer river) in three days before turning back as we were going to run out of time.

There's a full write up (with lots of photos) starting here if anyone is interested:

http://www.tassierambler.org/2017/02/lo ... nning.html

PS. You do need a permit to go down this track with a bike and be warned that the rivers rise and fall fast and that you can get stuck (we did).

kicyclist
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Re: Anyone up for remote west coast TAS ride?

Postby kicyclist » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:14 pm

Hi Tassie rambler, good read, maps & pictures. You have me looking forward to the next chapter. 4-5k's per hour is not really my sort of cycling. If that is the pace I' rather not have the bike. Even so that part of the state looks fantastic! Good Stuff.
To TCAT, I've just returned from my 10 day cycle in the SE of Tassie. Pretty soft and off topic of your original post. So nice to see a dozen or more other touring cyclists and to catch up with some locals at Colebrook. Maria Island was the best part, still relatively safe& easy for cycling, lots of wildlife and pristine ocean to swim in.
I'll be up for another cycle next february.. and before then also. It would have been nice to revisit the central plateau this trip but time just ran out. Cheers..G

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