Western Tasmania on a 225 Yamaha
At an age where I ought to know far better (64) My son David , now a resident in Melbourne, and I decided that Tasmania's wild west held a challenge. Thus In mid Febuary 2013, we set off from Melbourne on the Spirit of Tasmania overnight ferry to Devonport on Tasmania beautiful north coast.
The crossing was very civilized,good bar and very comfortable cabin. There was an obvious competition to see how much food you can get on the smaller dinner plate (thus cheaper) before turning in for the night.
Arriving at an unearthly 06.30 in the morning, we were faced with a dull but dry days ride, actually it improved the further west we got, but the headwind increased too....no fun for me on a small capacity 225 Yamaha trail bike, but David had his 650 Suzuki trail bike and was unaffected.
The last possible fuel was at a single pump outside the store at Marrawah...no more fuel for 250 kms.
Arthur River was our stopping place ,in one of the many campsites run by the wardens of the Nat Park. There is a tiny store there and a basic meal , with the wild tree covered beach close by. Plenty of wildlife too, wallabys, wambats and parrots.
The riding from here is all on loose surfaces now,easy enough on the first section due south along the coast to the last place Temna beach....literally the end of the earth. The only trail from there is the treacherous Balfour track, strictly 4 x 4 with winches and snorkels!
Its necessary to backtrack about 15 kms and turn inland along the recently completed Western Explorer track. The Balfour track crosses the Western Explorer after 25 kms, try it, its the dry bit! Its very rocky, steep and not the place to fall off. Eventually you get to the old mining settlement of Balfour.
Retracing your route to rejoin the Western Explorer, the views inland are amazing, nothing but bush and distant hills.
Be wary of high speed 4 x 4's (often towing trailers/off road caravans), as they take up the majority of the road, and stones fly everywhere as they pass, and its dusty too. Unfortunately, the 4 x 4's also push the surface into deep very tricky bumps, especially on the corners.
After we crossing the first of many wooden bridges over rivers, the terrain changes abruptly, the easy grey gravel changes to white very loose gravel, hard to read and much looser to ride on....its like snow blindness.
The Western Explorer twists and climbs over a range of hills, before eventually arriving at the Pieman River crossing. The small village there was abandoned but recently has been bought and now offers some accommodation and food. We were ready for it after 5 hours in the saddle.
Refreshed by a good lunch we crossed the Pieman River on the very basic barge, its a very beautiful spot.
The last section to Strahan was initially dirt riding, with small pieces of tarmac on the uphill sections only. We found our first fuel at Zeehan. The Yamaha had done 3.3 litres/100 kms, pretty good off road, Davids Suzuki had also done well on 5 litres/100 kms. Initial fears that we might be forced to drain fuel from the Suzuki to replenish my Yamaha proved incorrect thankfully.
Strahan is a great place to rest up, brilliantly beautiful, excellent seafood and pubs, simple cheap accomodation in backpackers hotels @ 30$ each /night,
Theres great boat trips in the huge natural harbour, seaplane flights into the wilderness, steam train trip to Queenstown....altogether truely a great place especially if the weather is good.
After a rest we continued, part on tarmac, part on the loose to the East coast, then as the weather turned rainy, we returned to devonport....a trip of over 1500 kms, half on the loose surfaces, and thankfully no falls....try it yourself.
try looking at our previous 2cv van adventure in Morocco on Hubb[IMG]pictures[/IMG]