This is it, my journey around Tasmania has come to its end. I thought that it would be nice to write this last post as a conclusion to the first chapter of my travel.
Tasmania is an amazing destination for outdoors enthusiasts. It offers a stunning diversity of beautiful landscapes in a small area, which is really enjoyable if you travel by bicycle but also nice if you are motorised. Local people are amazingly kind and helpful, and the food and drinks are surprisingly good! Everywhere around the country, nice educative information is provided, which made my journey also a learning journey (I hope that you enjoyed that part too). It is really easy to organise a self-guided tour of the island, either by bike (the best option, of course 😉) or by campervan (I saw lots of them).
A few words about my impressions on cycle touring alone now.
Cycle touring is a fantastic way to travel. The slow pace and the absence of “shell” gives you the possibility to enjoy the surroundings in a much richer and stronger way than if you are driving a car. All your senses contribute to the experience, and in a way, the effort you have to provide gives a special flavour to what you see / smell / hear / feel. It makes you stronger in your body as well as in your mind. It is a very interesting mix of constant improvisation and rigourous planning, especially if you are travelling on your own. It is also amazing how you can be perfectly happy and fine with just a bicycle and the 20-25 kg of luggage you can carry on it. Like multi-day hiking, I believe that it is something everybody should at least experience to realise how our modern lives are full of useless material stuff, to get back to the fundamentals. In order to maintain the “sacrosanct growth”, our consumption society always makes us need more stuff, and this permanently unfulfilled need often makes us unhappy.
Being on my own forced me to enter much more in contact with other people than if I had been in a group. It helped me developing the ability of getting quickly in touch with others, and it gave me the chance to meet lots of fantastic people. Moving from place to place nearly everyday and meeting new people at the same pace gives you the feeling of living in fast forward mode, and at the same time when you are on the bike most of the time everything moves very slowly. I enjoyed a lot this paradox, the only difficult part is that often you would like to keep in your life some of the persons you have met for more than one day. This is sometimes a bit heartbreaking, but you have to enjoy the present moment and tell yourself that you would not have met them if you had not travelled, and that you can always see them again if you really want it!
My own (very subjective) top 13 of Tasmania
1) people I met & local hospitality
Number one sounds like an evidence. Of course, if have seen fantastic landscapes and done lots of great things, but what made this journey really memorable is all the fantastic people whom I had the chance to meet.
Tassie locals are just amazingly welcoming and kind. They have a fantastic sense of community and want you to like their state as much as they do (which is a lot!). Australian people in general have an open-minded mentality and are always ready to help, and to learn about the others. I really believe that us European have many things to learn from them in terms of hospitality and sense of community.
During my travels I also met amazing people from all over the world (Czech Republic, China, France, Canada, Germany, Chili, Japan, …) and it allowed me to learn about other cultures and develop this feeling of being a citizen of the World. Travels and cultural exchanges are probably the best answers we can bring to all those stupid people who want to build walls between nations.
I wanted to thank again all these people I met on my way for all the sparkles of joy, happiness and consciousness that they offered me or that we shared together. I feel so blessed that I had the chance to meet you all! I had the chance to see many of you at leat two times in different places and moment, I just hope that we will see each other again!
2) Maria Island
A fantastic place to see wildlife, nice hiking and biking possibilities (Bishop & Clerk Fossil Cliffs Painted Cliffs) and that feeling of being an early explorer of the place. The ferry to get there is expensive but totally worth it.
Amazing views all along the hike, a good change from the “biking routine”, lots of fun on the track alone or with other people.
I liked this fast-paced ride along the ocean. The views were really amazing and diverse. Last but certainly not least, Mark was an amazing bike travel companion. We are still in touch, he sends me from time to times pictures of his life in Japan and I send him pictures of my trip in New Zealand.
A fantastic diversity of landscapes, from tall eucalyptus forest to alpine environment, at only 80 km from Hobart.
The ridge of dolerite pillars facing the mighty ocean offer a stunning landscape. Plus, running to this place gave me fantastic feelings.
A ride through untouched wilderness. Impressive rainforest, beautiful mountains around, wild rivers, fast and bendy downhills and finally the dramatic landscape change at Queenstown.
The place is very touristy, but it is really another gem of Tasmania.
This was a bit a gamble and totally of the beaten bike tracks. I could have been bored because of backtracking more than a 100km, but in the end it was totally worth it. The road to reach the place was an adventure in itself, Recherche bay is an amazing place, the hike to South Cape Bay was really nice and I met lovely people down there (Philip & Laura, Damien & Elaine, Dale & Christine) !
I was lucky since my first evening in Tasmania: this place was really enjoyable, the sunset was beautiful and I had my first great evening with Peter & Mary.
Something that I did not expect at all to do, and a perfect example of point 1!
12) Free campsites in amazing spots
This one takes all its importance now that I can compare with New Zealand! In Tasmania, there are lots of free campsites in really beautiful spaces. Often the facilities are quite basic (a toilet and “drinkable” water”, but this is actually all that you need when you are travelling with your bike (an occasional shower is not bad). Avoiding big crowded campsites and not having to pay every night just to pitch a tent is really enjoyable.
13) Good food and drinks
Honestly, I did not expect to find good quality food and drinks when I planned to cycle around Tasmania. I was so wrong! Tasmania offers excellent cheeses, fruits and vegetables, great wines and cidres and very nice seafood. I even managed to find good beers and chocolate!
Some (pointless) statistics
- 2371 km biked in Tasmania & Australia
- Approximately 200 km hiked in Tasmania
- 2 broken teeth (on my fork 😜)
- 0 fall
- 0 flat tyre
- 4 lost tent pegs, 2 found tent pegs, 2 bent tent pegs (==> I bought some new ones!)
- a few rainy days, but not too much
- 1 lost crankset screw, 1 lost bike mirror, replaced bottom bracket
- 900g peanut butter
- More than 100 wraps eaten!
- +/- 3 kg oatmeal
- +/- 4,5 kg spaghettis
- +/- 1,2 kg chocolate