Australian Wing Riders Association (Qld) Inc

A club for riders of Honda GoldWing and Valkyrie motorcycles

Winging it around Tasmania

By JohnandKaren Gilbert - member AWRA

13 Dec 03 – 23 Dec 03


The lead up.  Bookings for Tasmania were done four months in advance as we planned to leave on Saturday the 13 December at 9pm aboard the Spirit of Tasmania , we decided to take a deluxe cabin on the way over so as we would be both fresh on arrival.

We invited two other riders Chris and Alison to come with us and they accepted Chris a rider for some time and Alison who has just come off her “L”. Chris rides a Yamaha 600 and Alison a 250 Yamaha. What a ride for Alison she did in style and certainly has gained some road Ks under her belt.


It is not my intention to show or inform you of every detail as it will spoil your future trips but to  high light  some things that we found interesting for when you are planning your trip to Tasmania . 


13 DecWe arrived at the docks at the allocated time and found ourselves at the front of the line for the boarding of the boat. Previous advice about slippery ramps and inattentive staff were all forgotten when the deck hands helped with the tie downs and checked that we were happy with the bike. One tie down over the seat and one through the back wheel going backwards, to keep her on the side stand. We did not end up on the bottom as our booking requested but had no problems getting to the level allocated. The deluxe cabin was an excellent idea on the way over all rested we arrived in Devonport. Take something with you to place over the seat; I used a towel rolled up.

As we set sail they inform us that we would be awoken at 0530hrs to prepare to unload. (An Important point not mentioned in the brochures) 

Ready to load


Day 1, 14 Dec. Devonport to Strahan via Cradle Mountain.  We arrive at Devonport after a rough crossing and I had concerns about the bike moving during travel as you are not allowed to go back to the bike once you go upstairs. Once docked and being allowed to go to the bike my concerns were ill founded as she had not moved an inch. The first lesson was, we may have been one of the first on but we would be the last off (I mean literary the last vehicle off the boat). Once off we met up with Chris and Alison at MacDonald’s and had a coffee and check of the map and off to Strahan via Cradle Mountain. We left Devonport and headed to Turners Beachwere there is a turn off to Forth what an introduction to Tassie roads great for bikes take note of the mail boxes along the way, the road up to cradle mountain is great but be prepared for wet weather as the mountain is only clear for 37 days of the year. We did not arrive on one of those days so out came the wet weather gear. A break in the weather aloud us to go to the car pack at the top and it was well worth it. (Soon they are bringing a bus service to the top car park and it will be the only way to see it) Another cup of hot chocolate and we were on our way to Strahan. Beware petrol is expensive at cradle mtn $1.30L, also no mileage signs on the way to Strahan so get used to using trip meter to tell you how far to go, another  great road, with excellent scenery. The accommodation in Strahan was at the Strahancaravan park cnr, Jones and Innes street (03 64717442) cabins very comfortable, bikes welcome.

Note; We did not go via Sheffield as we would do that on our last leg , we are glad we did as it needs some time to look around.

Also Telstra has total coverage of Tasmania so if you are with another carrier you will not  have communications on a mobile. 

Mt Roland

Cradle Mtn

Accommodation in Strahan (4)


Day 2, 15 Dec (Rest Day)Take the Gordon river cruise it is well worth doing. Make sure you sample the seafood.

Gordon River cruise (5)


Day 3, 16 Dec. Strahan toHobart via Derwent bridge. The weather reports told us it was going to be a hot day 37 degrees (for a Victorian anyway)so it was up early and on our way. The road into Strahan was great riding but this was better so much so I could have turned around and done it again. Make sure you go into Queenstownand have a look around and on the way out stop at the top of the hill. Once leaving the hill keep an eye out for the little sign copper blow holeWell worth a visit and make sure you go down the little bit of gravel or you will miss the best part.

The trip from Strahan to Derwent Bridge looks short on the map but it will take you three hours. Also keep a look out for the sign Frenchman’s cap as you will miss it as it is over your right shoulder as you pass. We took a break at Derwent Bridge/ Lake St Clair  and a very late breakfast. Have a look at Lake St Clair about five kilometers of the main road. The ride from Derwent Bridge to Hobart is a good ride opening up to long sweeping corners and farm land, and as we had the time we decided to visit Richmond which is avery old town and well worth the visit. The accommodation in Hobart was at the Elwick cabin and tourist park, 19 Goodwood row (03 62727115) very good clean cabins bike friendly

Looking Back to Queenstown

Richmond Bridge

Frenchman’s cap

Near copper blow hole


Day 4, 17 Dec (Rest Day) This day saw us sight seeing around Hobart, Karen and I had already been to the top of Mount Wellington so we decided we would have a look around the town. We purchased a map called Historic Battery Point and Sullivan’s cove pictorial map cost $2. Then ride or walk I would suggest ride the trail and view the old houses great places. Visit to the chocolate factory is a must.


Day 5, 18 DecPort Arthur via the tree top walk at Greeveston Today we awoke to a wet Tasmanian day we thought we would head to Hounville in case the weather got better but as we arrived in Hounville it was obvious we were not going to see any thing except cloud on the tree top walk, so we abandoned that part of the trip and returned through Hobart to Port Arthur. The weather was getting better as we arrived in Port Arthur; the road to Port Arthur is not in the best condition lots of road works. We arrived in Port Arthur at about 1.00pm and booked our tour for the day which included a trip around the harbour and the Ghost tour for the night, we were advised by the load master on the Sprit of Tasmania to do the ghost tour and we were not disappointed we suggest you do the day tour and the ghost tour starts at from 9.30 pm and goes to about 11.30pm.  The cabins at Port Arthur were very good, if booking in advance ask for a flat site as they gave us the steepest site in the park. Not good for maneuvering a loaded wing.


After we finished the day tour at around 5pm we decided to have a look around, we went out of Port Arthur and turned left, heading to the back of port Arthur there is a little dirt road of to the right that goes to Palmers lookout.  It is not a tourist site although should be as the sites are brilliant. Also visits to the blow hole are well worth it and ensure you take note of the town of Doo_us and the names of all the homes in this little town. 

Port Arthur caravan and cabin park, garden point 62502340

Accommodation P/A 

Looking Back to P/A


Day 6, 19 DecPort Arthur to Bicheno Today started as a cool day, if short on fuel make sure you refuel at Sorrell as there is not much between Sorrell and Bicheno. Again mileage sign posting is rare. If you missed Richmond on the other leg there is a turn off on this road to Richmond about 25k across. Road to Bicheno is again farming country with lots of log trucks so be on your guard as all the motorist on this side of the inland like to cut corners. Again the roads have long sweeping corners and I was in motorcycle heaven. We passed the turn off to Coles Bay and Wine Glass Bay as we were going to walk them the next day there was no need to go into Coles bay. Chris and Alison meet us in Bicheno and stayed on the beach in the Coles Bay National park as they did not need to see Port Arthur.. Along the way keep an eye out for the spiky bridge, good photo opportunity. Accommodation in Bicheno was at the Bicheno cabins and Tourist Park Tasman hwy 63751117 good host very bike friendly allowed for the bike to go under cover as the rain was starting to set in.


Spiky Bridge


Day 7, 20 Dec (Rest day) Awoketo a fine sunny day. The legs got a good work out when  we walked to the lookout for wine glass bay which is a very steep walk and then down to the wineglass bay. The only problem with walking down hill you have to come back up and it was steep but well worth it. The beach could have been in the Whitsunday’s when Chris tried the water soon those thoughts of the Whitsunday’s were gone as the water temperature kicked in.

Lookout Wine Glass Bay

Wine Glass Bay

We finished the and before lunch and found that we had some time up our sleeves so we headed off to the light house which has a boarded walk way with on of the most spectacular views of the Freycinet Peninsula  and wine glass bay.

As the weather report for the next day was for rain and the weather today was excellent for riding, Karen and I decided we would push on that afternoon towards Scottsdale.  We had heard about the Pancakes at Mt Elephant at the top of the hill near St Mary’s so we decided we would have a late lunch there. It is well worth the visit as pancakes are HUGE the bike was very back heavy on leaving. The ride through the mountains is great and no log trucks but be careful of the cars, the road has long sweeping bends with beautiful country side. We rode until dusk and arrived in Scottsdale were we stayed at a B&B call Beulah very nice, and the host likes a chat. Ph 03 63523723.

Met Santa on the side of the rode giving lollies away could not wait to get on the back of the bike.


Day 8, 21 Dec Scottsdale to Launceston today the weather man was wrong as it turned out to be a very sunny day. We visited the lavender farm  (make sure you have lots of money for this visit). And then went up the East Tamor crossing over the Batmen Bridge and headed to the sea horse farm which was very interesting and well worth the visit although a bit expensive. We left there with the wind picking up and headed down the West Tamor towards Launceston had a look at Grindal World, a small Swiss village, then moved through Launceston down to Evandale a nice place to visit has  Georgian buildings and homes, we then rode onto the homestead of Clarendon House(1836)  very good bit of history. We then rode back into Launceston to meet up with Chris and Alison. The accommodation in Launceston was not very good and I would not recommend it as a night stop stay. The only problem it is the closest to the centre of town.  The accommodation in Launceston was at the Launceston caravan park 63442600

Clarendon House

Lavender Farm, Lavender late this year


Day 9, 22 Dec We awoke today to a very windy day so it was good that it was a short ride. We headed off to Sheffield to complete the loop of the inland, again good riding except for the wind. Sheffield is a must see however don’t be in a rush when ordering your food as it takes some time. Get a map and take a walk around the Murals. We then headed to the largest Maze in the world in a place called Tasmazia located in the promised land across the way from Paradise, just down the rode from no-where else this is a must see and don’t forget to join the Crackpot MC Club ,  we found this by looking in the local tourist guide it was not well advertised. Once having a good laugh and trying to loose each other in the maze we headed to Devonport, Chris and Alison planned to leave on the Spirit of Tasmania that night we decided to stay and sail back during the day(words  of advice have lots to read) accommodation was clean and bike friendly.

Bay view village 2, Caroline St, East Devonport 64270499.

One of many Murals in Sheffield

Shirley’s Joint  in Crack pot



Day 10, 23 DecToday saw us up and earlyfor loading onto the ship at 7am for a 9 am departure we where not the first on but nearly the last off so I think it is luck of the draw. Again the crew was very attentive and the same load master ensured the bike was tied down correctly. Smooth sailing into Melbourne and the Wing did not miss a beat.


In Summary if you are not planning a trip to the Apple Inland you should do so soon, highly recommended. The tourism is just starting to take hold and some of the sites are becoming very much commercialised so get there before this happens (i.e. Cradle Mountain, soon only buses to the top). We found the people very friendly towards bike riders and of course with the wing it attracts lots of attention  Be aware of the sign posting there is little of it and research prior to leaving.

We heard of horror stories from other people about the crossing however we believe it is the way you approach it, we had nothing but help from the crew of the Spirit of Tasmania.

The dates we choose seemed to be the best time as the Inland was gearing up for the period after Christmas the boat had heaps of room although on the way back the crew mentioned the return to Tasmania on the 24 Dec was booked out with a full boat.

The time we spent suited us and their was lots more to see, the trip over to Bruny Inland, we did not know about it until we got there we tried to fit it in but the weather was not to kind to us. So if you have the time I would recommend a visit.

We would do the trip again in a flash but have other places to see.