New Norfolk to Cygnet
- on Friday, 12 January 2018.
NEW NORFOLK TO CYGNET.
I left town about 10ish and headed toward Jeffery’s track with the intention of using it as a short cut from the Derwent Valley to the Huon Valley. I had read that it was a mud fest in the winter and very slippery even after a moderate amount of rain due to the high clay content. Seeing as how it had been dry for the last few days I thought it was worth a try. Going by the contour lines on the map, it looked to be a bit steep but what the hell, I figured I called return to the van park if it all went pear shaped!
The first 15 K’s were quite easy, with only a few really steep sections. The ‘track’ up to this point is in actual fact a well-groomed gravel road, servicing the houses that are up that way. However, once past the last house, it slowly deteriorates to a real four wheel drive track.
I rode it until about 500 meters from the peak where it became so steep I had to unload the bike and ferry the stuff up to the peak in two sections. It was bloody hard work! Once I reached the peak I reloaded and off I went, all in all, that section took well over an hour.
On the way up I had spotted a few of the Tasmanian Trail markers. The Tasmanian Trail runs from Devonport in the North to Dover in the far South. The decent into the Huon Valley was pretty radical, shitloads steeper than that of the Derwent side. I had to really sit on the brakes and shift my great fat bum over the rear rack for almost 4 Km’s. By the time I got down my shoulders were killing me. I was so grateful for the 3 inch front tyre as it meant I was able to keep trackton the whole way down, the front tyre didn’t let go once, it was a different story with the 2” rear tyre, but even so, it did well, because even though it was seriously steep and loose, I didn’t once feel I was going to lose the lot. I’ve never bought a fully loaded touring setup down something so long, loose and steep, it was a blast and I really enjoyed the challenge. I toddled down at 8 Kph, just enough to easily keep my balance but slow enough to manoeuvrer where ever I wanted. As an aside, the brakes were a little warm when I finished!!
Once off the track, the road was good dirt and then tar into the town of Grove. From there it was onto the highway and off to Huonville. On the section to Grove there was a group of mountain bikers, about 10 of them, coming towards me. We stopped for a chat, turns out they were all from France, with ages ranging from 45 to 55 by the look of it, and had a week in Tassie, in which time they were doing some of the trail. They were asking about trail conditions and after telling them about the long climb and nice decent the other side they were in for, I mentioned that there was a café at the peak with topless young female Swedish waitress’s serving free hot chocolate, I’m not sure what happened next, I turned away for a split second and when I turned back they were nowhere to be seen and I was talking to myself!!!!!! I’m still a bit mystified about that!!!!
From there I rode into Huonville and made my way to the caravan park. They wanted 35 bucks for a non-powered, non-shady site so I told ‘em to jam it and rode the extra 15 Km’s through to Cygnet, where they wanted 12 bucks for the same deal! When I arrived, there were just under 6 billion fruit pickers there! It’s a big cherry growing area. I wanted to re-charge the bike batteries but figured it’d be best to leave it until the morning when most of them had left for work as it was just too busy in the camp kitchen.
REST DAY IN NEW NORFOLK
I did very little today, other than charge batteries and visit Woolies, which I might add, is huge, considering the size of the town.
En-route, as I was coming through Hamilton, I spied a touring tandem with a child’s trailer behind it parked beside a large tent, but all looked quiet around the tent so I didn’t stop. This morning I was wandering around the caravan park I spotted the same tandem. It’s ridden by a couple from Switzerland who have their 4-year-old son with them. I had a chat and they have ridden from Hobart up the East Coast to Devonport and then down through the highlands with the aim of heading back to Hobart from where they fly out.