Before I get to all the craziness associated with seeing in the new year dockside Hobart, let me first say how much I appreciated the well
wishing and contact from friends and family all over the world during this Christmas period. Thank you with love.
Although I was a guest at Dini’s large family gathering up in the North West of the state, I felt welcome and included as we played and feasted in the perfect Christmas day weather. Lots of kids running around in the backyard playing in the wading pool, squirting each other with water pistols and hoses, the esky packed full of icy beverages with roasted meats and baked sweets aplenty to be savoured.
It couldn’t have been more perfect yet in the evening we topped it with a group sing along accompanied by piano and guitar. Truly memorable.
Following on from Christmas, Dini and I explored North East Tasmania by bike. First witnessing the arrival of the Sydney to Hobart race winner Wild Oats XI. The next day we travelled up the East Coast to St Helens, stopping for refreshments and photos along the way. Orford, Swansea and beautiful Bicheno.
At Falmouth we stopped again and sampled a unique local beverage called Iron House before a quick excursion to the beach next door and its beautiful sandy bay. Mounted once more on the black beast we rolled through postcard coastal and rural scenes, past family resorts at Scamander to finally arrive at St Helens just past 5 in the afternoon.
Despite this being the busy season, we found accomodation quickly and easily and after dining first on a few local delicacies we took a ride out to another picturesque spot just down the road called Binalong Bay.
What an absolute picture this place is. A North East facing cove with pure white sand, gently shelving beach and a quite sheltered lagoon in the middle where kiddies of all ages can play in complete safety. Quite a few families were taking advantage that day for a cooling dip and a play along its gentle shores. Small gentle waves rolled in over the turquois water to tumble onto the perfect sandy beach, a picture could never really do it justice.
After a good healthy nights sleep it was time to hunt down breakfast and a good coffee before checkout at the Bayside Inn. Fortunately we found both and tucked in heartily.
By the sky and Weatherzone it looked promising that we would get good weather for this leg of our journey so we saddled up and headed across country, this time for an unusual rural experience…. feeding beer to Pricilla Pig, Queen of the Paddock at Pyengana … a magical green valley deep in the mountains of North Eastern Tasmania.
She was housed in her own rural penthouse at a Pub in a Paddock where you can for the princely sum of $1 purchase some of Pricilla’s preferred brew…. stale beer.
After an audience with Pricella we visited the cheese factory just down the road where it was rumoured good coffee could be secured for some filthy lucre. Thus replenished we took a quick trip up to the Saint Columba Falls for a pic and good old chat with some locals.
The Tasman Highway winds through these mountains and valleys in a staggering number of tight twisty curves as one corner leads into the next, into the next, into the next…. without even a few feet of straight road between.
The rhythum of the ride and the deep forest greenery flashing past are mesmerising…. this is Motorcycle heaven and must be experienced to be believed.
Our last 20k’s before reaching civilization was supurb as we picked up the company of another rider heading our way. Together we roared through perfect sweepers with only the lightest of traffic to flick past…. it was glorious.
As we pulled into the delightful town of Scottsdale and waved goodbye to our anonymouse friend, I felt once more the warm glow of fellowship with others like myself who ride and enjoy this unique freedom.
More fantastic roads as we wound our way through deep gorges and wooded mountain sides of the huge national parks that abound in this part of the state. Around every corner was a new vista to be enjoyed and the ride went quickly. Before long we were back in civilization and Launceston was laid out in a huge carpet of roofs and greenery below us .
A quick cuppa with family and we were off back to Hobart. Gotta love this about Tasmania… rode all morning through the most incredible wilderness scenery and along the most memorable roads to be found anywhere…. and you can still ride home from the top to the bottom of the state in just a few hours!
Then there was New Year!
After a quick barbeque at a friends house Dini and I went to celebrate New Year down at the dockside/Salamanca place area. This is a magnificent public place next to the harbour that was just heaving with happy people by the time we got there….all very much in party mode.
All the Sydney to Hobart race fleet were in town and celebrating hard… a fabulous atmosphere where the pubs spilled out into the street and food stalls everywhere were doing great business.
After the obligatory coundown, fireworks display and a pub crawl after it was time to sleep it all off, satisfied that at least this New Year was well and truly seen in.