SR500 Club Ride ’round Tasmania, 11-20 March, 2016
Friday 11: Departure day for the Tassie ride had finally arrived and it was a cracker of a day, with sunny blue skies and temperatures in the low 30s – a perfect start to our circuit around the Apple Isle! The majority of the group gathered in the Port Melbourne Yacht Club carpark and then moved on to board the ferry at around 6pm. Once on board, the riders all socialised with a few drinks before dinner and then wandered off to their various cabins for a good night’s sleep. Most of us slept well; however, there were some reports of loud snoring coming from several cabins, which made for an interesting crossing for some!
Saturday 12: Arriving in Devonport early Saturday morning, most of the group enjoyed a short ride to Sheffield (via Railton, ‘Town of Topiary’) for breakfast. From Sheffield, we rode the scenic back roads past Cradle Mountain and on to Waratah for a fuel stop. The group then headed north to Burnie and along the Bass Hwy to our overnight stop at Stanley. With temperatures in the mid-20s and blue skies, it was a very enjoyable day’s ride which ended for most of us with dinner at the Stanley Hotel. Many in the group spent the afternoon exploring the quaint seaside town, with the more adventurous climbing to the top of ‘The Nut’.
Sunday 13: Another beautiful, sunny day greeted us as we departed Stanley for Queenstown via Hellyer Gorge. Regrouping at the bottom of Hellyer Gorge, Ryan noticed that his rear tyre had a puncture. However, this was soon fixed, with most of the group then riding on to Tullah for lunch. From Tullah, about half the group rode on to Queenstown via Roseberry and Zeehan. A smaller group took the much longer, but spectacular route to Zeehan via the legendary Reece Dam road. This road provided the riders with long sweepers and tight hairpins along with fabulous scenery around every corner. Regrouping in Queenstown, we all met for drinks at the Empire Hotel before having dinner at several different places.
Monday 14: A large group took a four hour trip on the West Coast Wilderness Railway, which by all reports was a very scenic ride and well worth the fare. A smaller group enjoyed a ride out to Strahan for lunch on the back roads via Roseberry, Tullah and Zeehan. Another great day’s riding was enjoyed under sunny blue skies with temperatures in the low 20s.
Tuesday 15: Most of us gathered for a group picture in Queenstown (above) prior to a 10am departure for Hobart. We all enjoyed the climb out of Queenstown on the legendary twisty roads that would lead us to the fuel stop and regroup at Derwent Bridge. The roads between Derwent Bridge and our lunch stop at Ouse were in great condition and were enjoyed by all as we had a ‘spirited’ ride up and down the hills and around the twisties. On approaching the outskirts of Hobart, the group broke up to get to their various accommodations around town. The original plan for the evening was to meet at Joe’s Garage for drinks, but alas, it wasn’t open, so we all met at Irish Murphy’s in Salamanca Place instead and enjoyed a night of socialising while listening to local young musos at the pub’s ‘open mic’ night. Thanks to the Club committee’s sponsoring of the ride, a bar tab was set up, and was put to very good use over the course of the evening. No one left the pub feeling thirsty, and possibly some were a little groggy the next morning!
Wednesday 16: Today was a rest day in Hobart. Many of the culture vultures in the Club went to the Museum of Old and New Art and enjoyed an exhibition by Gilbert and George. The less culturally aware members bypassed MONA and went on another ‘spirited’ ride on the cracking roads that lead to Strathgordon, Lake Pedder and Gordon Dam. The weather was perfect for riding again and the roads were just sensational!
Thursday 17: As the group’s accommodation was spread around Hobart, it was decided to re-group for a coffee stop at the historic old town of Richmond, prior to riding on to our overnight stop in Swansea. As luck would have it, there was a very impressive display of vintage, veteran and classic motorcycles in the Richmond Town Hall. An immaculate Brough Superior took pride of place alongside several Vincents and numerous BSAs, Triumphs, Nortons, and lots of other rare and beautifully restored machines. From Richmond, the group spread out and made its way along the coastline with several stopping at the fishing town of Triabunna for lunch. It had been another lovely sunny, but as heavy rain was forecast for tomorrow, Brendan, Gary, Matt, Jeff and Tony decided to ride the legendary Lake Leake Hwy across to Ross for a coffee and a giant, award-winning vanilla slice from the Ross Village Bakery! While the others returned to Swansea via Lake Leake Hwy, Brendan and Gary decided to ‘go bush’ to try to find their way back to Swansea via dirt roads. They got as far as Tooms Lake before the track started to peter out, and they started running out of time (daylight) and fuel, and they had to turn around and return via Lake Leake Hwy also.
Friday 18: The wind was blowing a gale off the sea overnight and the day started out with some light to moderate rain in the Swansea area. Further south in Hobart, the radar showed very heavy rain, so we were lucky to have avoided a major storm. After breakfast at the Bark Mill Bakery, we started heading north towards our next overnight stop, St Helens. Several of us stopped at Bicheno on the way, to check out the Motorcycle Museum there, which contained a very nice collection of old & new machinery, including Vincent Rapide, Bultaco Pursang, Triumph X75 Hurricane, Noriel 4 café racer, and Yamaha HL500 replica (feat. a GMC Cro-Mo frame). Some of us then turned off the Tasman Hwy and rode up a very misty Elephant Pass to Mount Elephant Pancakes for refreshments. By the time we reached St Helens, the rain had, thankfully, eased off.
Saturday 19: A rather leisurely start to the day, this being our last full day in Tassie. From St Helens, it was a short ride to the Shop in the Bush for some souvenir shopping, then on to the Holy Cow Café at Pyengana for coffee, and to watch some very clever cows at the Pyengana Dairy using an automated back scratcher on their way to the milking shed! From there, we rode up to the spectacular St Columba Falls (which had obviously benefited from the previous day’s rain!), and then on to the Pub in the Paddock for a beverage or two. Many of us were staying at Devonport this night, so we had a few k’s to notch up before the end of day! So we pushed on along the Tasman Hwy through Weldborough, Derby (for lunch), Scottsdale, north to Bridport, then west again, crossing the Tamar River at Batman Bridge, and continuing, carving up the back roads (through Frankford) to Devonport. Yet more spectacular, fast roads again today, this was what a great way to end the trip!
Sunday 20: Many of us had an early start, to catch the 9:00am sailing of the Spirit of Tasmania, back to Melbourne. For many of us, it was also our first day sailing, and we found this was a nice, restful way to end the trip – and start planning for the next trip!
Summary: All things considered, the 2016 Club Ride ’round Tassie was a fun event and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. Other than our planned overnight stops, there were no other formal plans, so there was plenty of flexibility for everyone to travel at their own speed and stop as often as they wanted to enjoy the sights and sounds of Tasmania. There were no mechanical breakdowns, only ONE wet day, no accidents (worth mentioning!) and no speeding tickets that anyone has admitted to so far! The ride provided a fantastic opportunity for all Club members, and non-members alike to socialise and get to know each other better while enjoying our motorcycles and the unreal scenery and roads that only Tasmania has to offer. Well done to all who attended and thank you for making the ride such an outstanding event.
|Colin Warner & Andrea Chenery
|Brendan van de Zand
|John (from Warwick, QLD)
|Kawasaki KL250 Super Sherpa
|Gary & Karen Cuthbert
|David & Mary Ell
|Marcos & Maria Anastassiou
|Ian & Janet Janetzki
|Yamaha XV1000 Virago
|David & Kerry Prior
|Yamaha XT600 Ténéré
|Ryan & Brodie Jones
|Triumph Speed Triple
|Mercedes Benz van