Australian Wing Riders Association (Qld) Inc

A club for riders of Honda GoldWing and Valkyrie motorcycles


Tasmania - this was a bonus to our planned ride around Australia, and thanks to Craig Dixon who had completed all the arrangements for accommodation together with the itinerary, all we had to do was confirm our bookings on to the Ferry and with the motels in Tasmania. We had that all completed in April 2011, and then Thommo and I had to decide which way we were going to Melbourne, to meet up with the Victorian members. We left Yeronga on Saturday 5th November – travelled via Tenterfield, Scone, Musselbrook onto the Golden Highway for Denham. Delightful miners town, cabin overnight and we continued on the Golden Highway to check out a quaint town called Rylston. Next Bathurst, Blaney, Cootamundra, Young, quick tea in Maccas in Wagga Wagga and on to Albury. We stayed in a very pleasant Motel in town called Clifton Motel @ $79.00 including breakfast – bargain. Total of 700 kms today.

Monday 7th November 2011 – we plan 3 stops today, Wangaratta, Benalla, Seymour and rendevous with our Victorian members at Wallan Wallan for 4pm. We arrived at the BP Service Station, on the Hume Hwy at 3pm. John and Lily were there so we joined them for a coffee. We didn’t have to wait long for Craig and Julie, they arrived followed by Ken and Christine – it was getting exciting. Lindsay, Winston and Jan were meeting us at the ferry – so we did not delay any further and headed onto the highway. We negotiated the rather scarey Melbourne peak hour traffic very well, and arrived in good time at the port. Melbourne has made the port area very neat with the high rise apartments up to the waters edge, plenty of trees and gardens – very pleasant. We were very keen to get into the queue and we were through the quarantine with no problems – no fresh fruit or meat, no fire arms or ammunition, no gas bottles – too easy.

Bit of a wait now, but it was just exciting looking at the huge ferry Spirit of Tasmania, and looking out for Lindsay, Winston and Jan. We spied them just as the vehicles were moving, so here we go onto the ferry. We watched carefully as they boys tied the wings down, very efficiently I must say, and then it was gather our bags and up to our cabin. Great cabin, and shower- thankfully as it had been a hot day, and time to take my Trav Calm tablets (2).

Total count for trip:- Thommo and I on Red Wing; Winston and Jan on Burgundy Wing; John and Lily on Blue wing = 3 Queenslanders. Craig and July on Orange Wing; Ken and Christine on Red Wing and Lindsay on Sparkly Charcoal Wing – 3 Victorians Grand Total 6 Wings 11 adults.

Location – our cabins were on Deck 7 along with the Bar, Lounge, Souvenier Shop, Purser and Captains Table (cafeteria). We met up for tea and a chat – really looking forward to tomorrow. Ship bell rang at 6 am summoning all passengers to be ready to collect vehicle and disembark – and looking out we were greeted with dark grey skies and heavy rain – Yuk! We have to make note here that we had what they regard as a smooth crossing, 1 metre swells and a maximum of 3.5 swells. I slept through it all thanks to my 2 pills – BUT unfortunately Jan had a sleepless night, so for anyone out there – take Trav Calm tablets – they work!

It is not easy or quick putting on the wet gear, but it had to be done in the cramped loading deck, with cars waiting. When we did ride off into the port of Devonport, it was just a short ride around the corner to a cosy café for a much enjoyed cuppa and a chat. We saddled up and so began our first look around town, through misty rain it still looked lovely and we rode through the towns of Burnie and Somerset along a very pretty coastline.

Arriving in Stanley, out on the point and it had stopped raining now. We couldn’t resist another warm respite in a café for a coffee, and then The Nut beckoned and we took the chair lift up to the top of The Nut, and a delightful 2 km walk through the mist and clouds. I say delightful – only after we saw the magnificent views, and wallabies playing in the deep bracken – magic.

We rode back along the coast, did a loop through fabulous hills and the sun came out – what a day. If this is our first day – what a holiday we are going to have!? Checked into our delightful Motel, and we strolled down town for tea in the local hotel, very pleasant. NB: Our Wing had a moonlight wash but I don’t think she was alone!?

Ulverston – Showers, Cool, 19degrees.
Riding awesome roads and scenery – first stop at Sheffield the town of murals, and a badge. More scenery and lunch in Deloraine, a really pretty town. Plenty of photos already, and relax back at our Motel. We huddled in the pergola, ordered Pizza and enjoying our second social evening in Tasmania.

Strahan today – Cloudy, Cool 12-16 degrees.
Started in fine blue skies, but very cool. Followed the fabulous coastline up to Burnie. More fabulous roads and magnificent hills – how good is this? Morning tea in another cosy café in Waratah with a view to die for – hills, stream and waterfall. On departing, we were all negotiating a U turn when we had the message that a bike had fallen over, so we dashed around the corner to find Ken and Christine had slipped over and Christine had hurt her back in trying to help lift the wing! A good samaratin – a Queenslander visiting his parents in town – let Christine sit in his warm Ute while the café owner rang around for the ambulance. 45 minutes later the ambulance arrived from Burnie, we waited as the medics made Christine comfortable enough to travel to Burnie. Ken was to follow, and we wished them goodbye – hopefully we would see them sometime later, maybe in Hobart – wait for hospital report.

Our plans changed, we eliminated Cradle Mountain today as the weather and clouds have closed in fast, so we stayed and had a very pleasant lunch in the Café in Waratah, and we rode out to Reece Dam – Huge. More views and a coffee break in a deserted town called Zeehan, and arrived in the delightful fishing hamlet of Strahan on the Gordon River. Even through drizzling rain we were enjoying this pretty place, and we had a yummy fish-n-chips in the wharf café. Again our Wing was getting a moonlight wash – and there were a couple of others having a wash – Sprung!! A new word appeared in Lindsays’ vocabulary “Poser” as the Wing Washing became a regular event outside our Motels!!

Bulletin – Christine has fractured vertebrae #4;5;6. Pain killers and rest, and they hope to meet up with us in Hobart. Brave girl!

Hobart today – left in Clouds, rain and cool 11 degrees.
Despite showers, roads and scenery are lovely – only in Tasmania! Can you believe it, we are riding in rain and enjoying ourselves? We can’t! Rode through Queenstown – scarred earth – the ride up this range out of Queenstown is another spectacular experience. Could be like riding on the moon’s surface, it is devastating to see how awful mining can be to the landscape, and they have kept it as a tourist attraction – sad! They have abandoned the idea to rejunavate the land.
Only too pleased to keep riding through to Derwent Bridge, lovely hills again and a great little rustic café for lunch. Skies are clear now, easy riding and we check out “The Wall” a work in progress of unbelievable wood carving. Life size depicting life from the pioneer age – works of art that take your breath away – must be seen to be believed. We were here a long time and then we were in for another treat.
We stopped for a coffee in Hamilton, in the most delightful café where the owner had totally renovated the building to a charming cottage and garden, made coffee out of this world and made a vanilla slice that literally melted – yum. We stayed here a while too! Then it was time for more fabulous riding into Hobart – lovely – everyone must own a boat here.

Hurrah – Ken and Christine were waiting for us, Christine was resting but we were delighted to see them at the Argyle Motel. Thommo and I joined John and Lily for a very pleasant tea at a Bar-n-Grill just over the road. A delightful way to end another fabulous day.

Hobart – Fine and Sunny – 19 degrees.
Saturday – free day and we have planned to go down to Port Arthur. Winston joined us for the ride today. Only 95 kms but again fabulous roads and views for us to enjoy. We travelled through the town Sorrell which features scarecrows, in pairs – Mr. and Mrs. Waving at gate, sitting on porch etc. very cute. (I didn’t manage any photos of this cute attraction)! We arrived at Port Arthur to find it is firmly secured as a tourist attraction, entry fee with various rates and inclusions – so we decided to take the self-guided tour with portable audio headphones. We promptly ‘lost’ Winston as we walked through the first display “Prisoner arrival and allocation” and so began the amazing tour through the complex. It is amazing, it has been commercialised but it is very effective and very informative. Of course, I was rather reluctant to walking but it is too good to miss, and we did luckily get a couple of handy lifts in a passenger buggy up the bigger hills. Thommo checked out the prison cells very closely, I read a lot in the museum and even met one of our customers and her husband in the museum – what a small world! All credit to this exhibit, they are improving and conserving the ruins continually, and the grounds are lovely and the view of the bay is gorgeous. You have to check the photos to see how grim it would have been originally for the early occupants – it is hard to imagine as it is now. We sighted Winston in his red shirt – hard to miss! We had been here 5 hours!! More to see – we visited the Remembrance Garden for the fatal café massacre and said goodbye to this special place.
Rode to the Devils Kitchen lookout, Blow Hole, Remarkable Cave and Eaglehawk Neck all fabulous and breathtaking sights, coastline is amazing. We had another fabulous ride home – wonderful day – back at Motel 6.30 pm.

Hobart today – Cloudy, Showers and 12 degrees.
We all did the scenic ride along the coast through the delightful towns of Kingston, Snug and Cygnet for coffee. Another one of those fishing hamlets – this is where Ken and Christine left us – we will see them back in Hobart. We continued our circuit ride up to Hounville then down to Geeveston, Dover and Southport – the most southern road on bitumen. What can I say – but – beautiful ocean views – again, and we enjoyed our lunch at the tavern. Afternoon ride through Houn, our final destination is Mount Wellington – wow what a climb. 1273 metres above sea level and we were literally in the clouds, they moved in and blanketed us, and it was chilly. The clouds lifted as fast as they fell, and we had awesome 360 degree views of Hobart – what a sight. It felt like you could see all of Tasmania up there – almost see Melbourne?! Happy Birthday to Julie today, what a lovely way to celebrate, we have all had another lovely day.

Swansea today – Cloudy – Fine and 17 degrees.
We left the Argyle Motel in light rain and rode through Sorrell along the coast to the Historic Town of Richmond. More walking, but so enjoyable and lots of old buildings (beautifully restored) to explore including the famous Richmond Bridge with lots of cute ducks. We continued our ride through Oxford, only 50 kms to Swansea and this is where Thommo and I diverted into a town called Triabunna – and what a treasure it was too – badges including East Coast of Tasmania. Lots of fishing around here.
We headed for our motel and stopped to photograph the Spikey Bridge built in 1840, amazing convict construction on the first road connection between the towns of Swansea and Little Swanport. Everyone relaxing in Motel, short walk down town for yummy fish-n-chips. Thommo also had a fish pie. What a life.

Launceston today – Fine, Sunny, Cool 14 – 17 degrees.
Blue Skies! Lovely day, rode along coast up into the hills and coffee break in St. Helens Information Centre. This is another famous scenic ride through Elephant Pass, fabulous mountain range – took heaps of photos of the lush tree ferns, lots of blurry ones too due to the long sweeping curves that we love! Lunch stop in a quaint town of Derby, taking photos of the lovely buildings and talked to ‘local’ who just happens to be from Carina Heights and stayed after holidaying 18 months ago. Chatting with ‘local’ helping in the café and he was from Cribb Island – small world? Glorious ride through Scottsdale and we arrive in Launceston (not Lawnceston – locals say Larnceston),at 4pm. Checked into our Motel with ghastly driveway, but in an excellent position in town. We then promptly set out to see Cataract Gorge. This is a magnificent rocky gorge in the heart of town, a water course through the gorge which spills into ‘the basin’ and surrounded by gracious lawns, longest spanned chairlift in Australia, walkways including amazing bridge, and amidst the gardens are peacocks strutting and fanning their plumes to the countless peahens – what a glorious sight. Thommo and I managed the short walk, and soaked up the views along the way – we left Julie and Craig, Winston, Jan and Lindsay who were doing some serious photography in the grounds – these guys were our ‘Paparazzi’ throughout our trip!

We can even enjoy a fabulous view from our Motel of the city park, which we will have to explore before we leave. Another memorable day – have to re-charge camera, video and phones ready for tomorrow.

Launceston – Fine, Sunny and Blue Skies. 14 – 19 degrees.
We are off to explore another peninsula today with Craig and Julie and John and Lily. Along the coastline of course, all the way down to Low Head where there is a Maritime Museum. Again the buildings are meticulously renovated and the naval barracks have been modified for rental as holiday retreats – very remote? We had morning tea in the lighthouse café, a most amusing event as the young waitress was totally confused by just 3 orders! New job apparently – but due to her confusion we scored an extra serve of scones, jam and cream – delicious! We then had the scenic ride up and over Batman Bridge to the other side through Beaconsfield (Mining Town) and we rode down to Greens Beach where we took photos over the bay to the lighthouse, where we had our morning tea. Then it was back into Beaconsfield for lunch, and of course to check out the mine museum and some interesting shops. Of course I found a badge, and some great souveniers, and John was highly amused by the coin machine for local charities. NB. 5 cent piece made the best effect – my 50 cent piece the least!!

Easy and pleasant ride back into town, and I made a mad dash back to the Post Office to post a 20kg parcel home – no more room in the panniers. Back to the motel, and we were booked for tea in the restaurant for a last evening meal in Tasmania and our special Thank You to Craig and Julie for such a memorable and enjoyable trip. Thanks Craig and Julie for your thoughtful and careful execution of this amazing trip. Very much appreciated and lots of love and hugs for a trip very well done xoxoxo

It is time to sort, pack and be ready for tomorrow, rather sad to leave this wonderful Isle.

Devonport – Fine, Sunny. 17 degrees.
We were up rather early as we wanted to explore the lovely park over the road. It was worth it, what a delight to walk among the huge trees, lovely lush lawns and then through the Orchid House. The parks claim to fame was its animal display which has featured exotic species including monkeys, deer and bears, since 1800’s. They have seriously renovated the enclosure and they now exhibit the Macaque Monkey from Japan which suits the environment – more so than previous species. They seem to be enjoying their home, and there are a lot of them to confirm their comfort.

After a short conference it was agreed that we would not include Cradle Mountain today, and just make it a short scenic ride to Devonport. We rode through Hadspen, Westbury with a turn-off through Birralee – pretty name, but not a pretty township, however the ride through the hills was a pretty sight and into Devonport. We arrived at the cosy café we had taken refuge in on our first day in the rain, had our coffee break and left Ken and Christine as our base and most of us took the time to explore Devonport.

We all took off in separate directions, but funnily enough we saw each other in the Mall in town and in the Information Centre (where we had parked our wing, and Thommo ignored the Pay Station?) I found a badge at last, and some more small souveniers, and when we arrived back to our wing we found a Paid Ticket on our dash – courtesy of Craig and Julie. “How nice is that” I commented to Thommo and we rode off to do some more sightseeing. Just round the corner and Thommo noticed paper flapping on the handlebar, and had to stop to get it off – you guessed it – Parking Ticket – Caution Only and hand written in fine space “Safe Travels” how friendly is that?! We rode along the esplanade and had our second picnic in Tasmania in the parklands along the esplanade – Tasmania was saying goodbye to us with glorious sunshine.

Time to meet up with our fellow riders, and back to port. Plenty of time and we were in the queue and in no time at all we were riding up the ramp onto the Spirit of Tasmania. No excitement now, we were just totally relaxed and soaking up the atmosphere. We sat and chatted for a while, and took our last photos leaving the beautiful green Isle of Tasmania. See you in the morning, and we were lucky enough to be extending our stay in Melbourne. We were joining the Melbourne Branch on their week-end ride to Halls Gap, and Ken and Christine had kindly invited us to stay with them for the Friday evening.

Melbourne – Fine – Cool. 22 degrees.
Spirit of Tasmania arrived to a fine day. We were up early, ready for the 6am Bell. Another good calm crossing – Jan had a good sleep this time. Easy pack up on the wings this time, and we rode off easily, said our goodbyes to everyone and we followed Ken and Christine to their home. Christine had a doctors appointment, and I gladly used the washing machine and took advantage of the lovely sunshine to hang out our washing. Then it was just relax and enjoy the company, and we met their 3 delightful daughters and families. What a fun time we had, and Ken cooked an excellent BBQ, and between their girls Leanne, Pamela, Kerry and I we kept Christine seated and resting as much as possible.

Thanks Ken and Christine for your wonderful hospitality, it was brilliant and such a treat for us.
Love and hugs to you all xoxoxo

Thank you to all of you fabulous friends who made this trip such a pleasure, Thommo and I thoroughly enjoyed your company - it certainly was extra special being with you all – thanks, and my hugs of course! xoxoxo

Thommo and Valerie. November 2011.

Next trip – Halls Gap, Melbourne.