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    Alan Melville

    Al's Adventures

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    Alan Melville

    Al's Adventures

    A collection of stories by Alan Melville
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  • WILUNA TO MEEKATHARRA REV 1 P1010768
    Alan Melville

    Al's Adventures

    A collection of stories by Alan Melville
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  • SANDSTONE TO WILUNA P1010475
    Alan Melville

    Al's Adventures

    A collection of stories by Alan Melville
    Get emailed when something new is posted
    ...
  • WILUNA TO MEEKATHARRA P1010524
    Alan Melville

    Al's Adventures

    A collection of stories by Alan Melville
    Get emailed when something new is posted
    ...
  • WILUNA TO MEEKATHARRA REV 1 P1010768
    Alan Melville

    Al's Adventures

    A collection of stories by Alan Melville
    Get emailed when something new is posted
    ...
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Cambridge to Port Arthur and return.

- on Sunday, 28 January 2018.

CAMBRIDGE TO DUNALLEY PUB

I headed into town for my new specs appointment, resplendent with the new yoke on the trailer, that lasted 3.02 K’s before it and the bike parted company. I was very lucky, I hadn’t realised it was going berserk behind me but the driver of the car behind me, a young woman, had thought to herself, “That’s going to fall off!” no sooner had she thought it when it did. She pulled up, bounced out of her car, tossed both panniers and then the trailer off the road, said “I could see that was going to happen” bounced back into her car and was off. I then picked up the bits and was just putting the stand up on the bike, which I’d dropped to gather up the panniers etc, when she reappeared, grabbed both the panniers and trailer and took off up the road saying, “There’s a pull over with more room up here” I grabbed the bike and followed. By this time another older guy had stopped and helped her with the panniers. We got to the pull over and had a chat. She was a fit woman, maybe very late 20’s, very early 30’s and obviously a quick thinker. She had her 2 children in the back seat and she toddled off on her merry way. The ExtraWheel with the longer yoke is definitely going home now!!! I rearranged the weight in the panniers and it seemed OK but the ride into town was a bit tense as it was along the Tasman Highway.

The young guy that did my eyes was having kittens about the state of my cornea, years ago I had an op on both eyes and they’re a bit different to the average eye. He wouldn’t take my assurances that, as far as I was concerned, they were fine. He wanted to send me off to the specialist and maybe get them operated on, bugga that! I eventually gave him the number of the guy back in WA who looks after me so he could ring him and ease his mind. I’ll pick up the new specs when I get back from WA.

I also mailed the old trailer yoke home.

I then headed off towards Sorell with no concrete plan. When in Sorell I rang a guy I have worked with who lives there but got no answer, so I headed off. I took the beachside route and the traffic quietened down immediately. I’m amazed at just how dry it is here on this part of the East Coast. All of the houses in the small towns I passed through are on tank water, which I find amazing, considering I’m in Tassie and the West Coast has dam after dam, full of water. I peddled and pushed my way towards Port Arthur, ran out of water, cursed the fact that I left my filter at home and eventually rode into Dunalley, where there is a pub that welcomes campers in a paddock it has beside the pub. First thing I did was fill up 2 litres of water from the basin in the toilets. It seems wrong to say I filled my bladder up in the toilet, but essentially, that’s what I did!!!! My sister and I had a good laugh over that!

I’ve set up the tent in the paddock and am about to hit the hay.

Dunalley Pub to Port Arthur.

I was up too early for the pub and as I needed more water, I rode back into town looking for a public tap, with no luck. There was a tap at the public toilets but a sign said it wasn’t potable, bugga. I saw a bloke in a little office and asked him if he knew where I could fill my bladder up. He had a tank right there and let me use it. Turns out he’s the Denison Canal Operator, has been for a long time. The Canal has a rotating bridge that requires operating on a regular basis, 365 days per year. The canal is the only one of its kind in Tas, and maybe OZ. It was cut back in the 1900’s and is very short. It enabled the boats to take a short cut from Blackman’s Bay to Dunalley Bay. Blackman’s bay was a major fishing / logging region in its day. We had a good chat about all things Sea and Earth. He told me about the town being all but razed to the ground back in 2013, all in all an interesting guy. He stayed and saved his home but says even though he’s pretty well over it, he still gets a bit edgy when several hot days are forecast.

Here’s some blurb from Wikipedia;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denison_Canal

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Tasmanian_bushfires

I headed off to Port Arthur, eventually I left the cleared country and re-entered the forest, albeit a very dry one. However, it was nice to have the chirp of birds for company again. The forest is very similar to that of South West WA.

I arrived at Port Arthur cv park, where a badly sloping, non-shaded tent site costs 38 bucks a night and a bed in a 10 bed dorm, which is both level and shaded, costs 33 bucks a night, go figure that one out! Bunkhouse it was, and for the 2 nights I was there, no-one else turned up!

Rest day in Port Arthur.

I did some maintenance on the bike, namely cleaned around the fork seals, re-tensioned the rear wheel spokes and repaired a puncture, the 1st of the journey, on the trailer wheel.

I rode around to the historic penal settlement to take some pictures but discovered it cost 39 bucks for and adult entry, not impressed Jan…. I find it ludicrious that we have to pay such an exhorbitant amount in order to view the history of our country. It was 99 bucks for a family pass. I’d be interested to know the breakdown of the nationalities that visit the place. I reckon at those prices, Australians would be near the bottom of the list!

I said to the young lady “I doubt that it’s changed much since 1978 eh?” She agreed it probably hasn’t. When I was outside I got straight onto the net, found the ‘Contact’ page for the site and wrote the following;

“Hi Team,

To say that I'm really pissed off is a massive understatement.

I'm touring Tasmania by bicycle and made a special effort to visit Port Arthur, only to find not only would I get charged 38 dollars for an unpowered, unshaded and badly sloping camp-site at the nearest caravan park, but this morning, having ridden from there to the ruins, I discovered I'd have to pay 39 dollars to gain admission to the site.

I consider it an utter disgrace that we are required to pay such an exorbitant price in order to see our own history.

You can be thankful that I'm standing outside using my phone to contact you, should I have had access to a computer, I would have given you an absolute earful.

Needless to say, I didn't visit the site.

Totally Dissatisfied.
Alan.”

I gave my full details and am now awaiting their reply!

I rode back to the van park and lounged around for the rest of the day.

PORT ARTHUR TO CAMBRIDGE [HOBART]

I was on the road about 8 ish with the intention of peddling through to Dunalley Pub. The mornings ride through the forest and beside the sea was very pleasant. I had a couple of stops on the way, discovering on one of them that the little frozen Lemonade icy poles only cost $1.25….winner…..

I arrived at Dunalley Pub around 1ish and after having a bit to eat, I felt pretty good so I carried on towards Sorell. I took a different route to that of the one I came in on, it meant a bit of a longer climb, however, the reward was a nice long decent into Sorrel, that and the fact the scenery was a little different. There was one short section of gravel and whilst on it 2 cars approached from behind. As the wind was blowing from right to left, I changed to the incorrect side of the road so as not to get dusted out. When the 1st car was close enough, I waved it through, no dust, worked a charm! Did the same with the 2nd car, unbeknown to me, it was a cop car!!!!! Complete with cops!!!! I gave them a casual wave and a smile and received the same back!!!!!  J

The temp rose quite a bit after 1ish but the tailwind also picked up and before I knew it I was in Sorrel and doing a ram raid on Coles. I then did one on a health food shop disguised as a McDonalds, walking out with a large, very healthy bucket of chips and a medium Fanta! I lay around in a park under the shade of a shelter and around 5:40ish, headed off to the cv park in Cambridge, arriving a little past 6:30ish. I’ll stay here now until I fly out to WA on Wednesday.

Just for the record, I've just ticked over 1900 K's in Tassie! Go me!!! I just worked out I've been here 6 weeks so that puts my daily average at about 45 Km per day. Pretty casual really!!

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