Motorcycling is an inherently dangerous activity. Think of it as wrapping yourself in leather and plastics, mounting yourself onto a rocket on wheels, and hoping that nothing would interrupt your momentum. It sounds like fun, and that’s possibly one way of describing what riding is. Yet, we also do so with such diligence in a way that places the utmost consideration towards our safety. In a normal riding day, we utilise 100% of our senses to adapt to the urban jungle to ride defensively, anticipating unexpected behaviour from other motorists and ensuring that we are able to make it to our destination without any issues. Yet, riding on the open road exhibits other dangers of which many of us might not be familiar.
One major aspect that I was concerned about in my whole trip were the possibility of stray and wild animals jumping into my path. The variety of animals that I had to actively avoid include emus, cattle, goats, kangaroos, koalas and domestic cats. At one point, I even think I had injured a Tasmanian Devil near Port Arthur, or something fluffy and black, but had to continue riding due to road conditions. The bottom line, if an animal was hit, is that I can possibly be severely injured or killed, and this was always in the back of my mind at all times as I rode through bushy and desolate areas.
The weather served as a danger that always bugged me whenever it was the most inconvenient to me. Rain is the most obvious culprit that converts the road to slick-like surfaces, and was especially bad when I did not have operable front brakes as I was approaching the rainy Adelaide basin. Black ice was the biggest threat to me when encountering the snowy western region of Tasmania, as frost on the road is likely to be indistinguishable from the unaffected. The unpredictable nature of black ice can mean anything between life or death, or being helplessly stuck in the middle of the wilderness with no way out.
Fatigue, however, is a threat that would affect us all in a multi-day motorcycle trip, regardless of where you are or what you ride. It doesn’t matter if the weather is good or terrible, or if you’ve had a perceived good night’s sleep, drowsiness will hit you at some point in the day, and this means that our senses are operating at less than favourable levels. A question that one may ask is at which point would fatigue hit you in a way that would be dangerous, but this is up to the rider themselves to determine when and how they are to manage fatigue.
Self-management is crucial, and you must take the initiative and the full responsibility to know when is the best time to take a break or call it a day. An adventure trip is one where you enjoy the scenery and have a great time, so there should not be an overt pressure to meet deadlines. Feel free to amend your trip schedule on the way because, as I’ve found countless times in this trip as well as past travels, you will never follow your time schedule!
Day 20 – Bruny Island, then return to Hobart
Ambient Temperature: 6°C to 12°C
Figuring that I was running out of time to thoroughly explore the many fantastic places in Tasmania, I had to cross out some prime riding roads from my bucket list. My final choice was the Bruny Island. Amongst other nearby locations around Hobart, Bruny Island stood out as a destination that I just had to visit for a day trip, no matter what. Ultimately, my decision meant that I had to miss out on the very European-esque scenery of Strathgordon, the rest of the bay-hugging circuit of Channel Highway and the vast hilly twisties of the Huon Highway
For those thinking of embarking on a motorcycle trip around Bruny Island, you must have a motorcycle that is capable of handling loose gravel surfaces unless you don’t mind trashing your bike. In my case, as mentioned numerous times in previous reviews, the Pirelli Scorpion Trail tyres helped my Panigale in not only the ability to hold its line on unsealed surfaces, but also allowed it to be very resistant against punctures. In fact, I had not experienced a single puncture in my whole trip with these tyres, and I believe that speaks volumes considering the crappy roads and trails that they had to endure.
There is much more to Bruny Island than is mentioned in my review. It is a place that requires one to spend at least a few days to gain a decent experience out of it. Seafood, beaches, hiking, helicopter ride, or even just simply relaxing and letting time fly by (which I had none of), all come up in mind; a highly recommended destination.
Day 21 – Hobart to Coles Bay via Port Arthur
Ambient Temperature: 3°C to 17°C
This day marked itself as a simple, easy-going day as a tourist. Port Arthur was initially not in my rough itinerary, however I felt that it would have been a shame to have missed out on a very significant place of Australia. As you may see in the below images, it is a beautiful place for a walk around the manicured landscaped gardens, and also opens your eyes into the convict history that Australia holds.
By the time I finished fawning at the beauty of the Port Arthur site, it was already quite late in the afternoon. What was planned as an easy day had just come back to bite me from behind. Going up and past Sorell, where I stocked up on supplies, I rode through a vast length of highway that was very suitable for an invigorating and enthusiastic ride. In fact, this part of the Tasman Highway is aptly signposted as a motorcycling road.
The ride was great while it lasted, until night struck by the time I reached Swansea. With temperatures dipping to just 3°C, the coldness was becoming tiresome, and the thought of simply being outside was something that I became sick of. The sight of a car in front of me was met with great relief; the headlights on the Panigale did not disperse as much light as I needed, so the car’s lighting helped considerably as we travelled the 50kms to Coles Bay, where the driver was also coincidently staying at the same holiday park as I was booked. With considerable rancour, I finally reach my accommodation in Coles Bay. Blissfully, I hurriedly go for the bathroom to hit the hot showers. Relaxing in front of the woodfire, I call it a night.
Day 22 – Coles Bay to Devonport via St Marys
Ambient Temperature: 5°C to 15°C
The last day in Tasmania; the last opportunity to explore on foreign roads before I head back to the familiarity of Melbourne and Sydney.
Freycinet National Park was visited, as well as the Wi-fi handy town of Bicheno. I headed back to Devonport where I got to meet up with the same adventure riders that I had boarded together the week before back up in Port Melbourne, and got to share our little crazy motorcycle stories of our time in Tasmania.
One thing that I regret most about my visit in Tasmania, as I boarded the ship in Devonport, was that I did not get the chance to lavish my palate on fresh local seafood, or even any other good local produce or foods for that matter and, for that, I felt like kicking myself in the shins.
Despite my gastronomic lamentations, I felt blessed to have been allowed the opportunity to capture just a glimpse of the boundless variety of landscapes over the past few days in Tasmania. I will remember it for its incredible appeal for hikers, adventurers, photographers, holidaymakers, motorcycle riders, international tourists, and even the most cynical Australian citizen. Tasmania: A top destination to visit over any other tourist traps in Australia. A splendid place for a break.
To be continued…