No prizes for guessing that the first sounds I’ve heard in the morning was the rain bouncing off the ground. The view of the lake was quite different from the restaurant than it was last night.
For a split second I even considered giving the Gordon Dam a miss but of course, a little rain can’t spoil my plans and I’m not a quitter, so the day started by riding in the opposite direction to my end destination. Especially when it was only a 10 minute ride to the dam so less than half an hour detour.
You can imagine I was very pleased I’ve gone to the end of the road. It literally stops at the Dam and that’s as far as you can go on the roads in Tasmania in the western wilderness.
There was only one car in the carpark. I ignored all signs saying you can’t park lower down and parked right by the railings overlooking the Dam.
The couple from the car walked across the edge of the Dam but I really didn’t fancy the wet metal stairs in my bike boots and was quite content taking in the view from the top. It sure was impressive and I did wish the weather was better to explore it further but I knew I had a good hour and a half of riding back to the first sign of civilisation and a village where I’ll be able to stop and warm up.
Riding back on the same road as last night offered a very different experience. The rain was relentless, the views disappeared and all I saw was log cloud or fog. It was a hard slog, I kept my head down and progressed steadily, thinking I was glad I made a few stops and took some photos the day before.
My first stop was in Westerway where I found shelter at a Raspberry Farm. Sadly no heated indoor seating but the rain did stop and I was able to change my soggy socks for dry ones, change my wet t-shirt and drink lots of warm coffee.
I was in no rush as the ride to Hobart was only about an hour but I was expected at Khen and Etty’s house for lunch. I have never met either of them but through a connection back home, I got introduced to them via the social media and they kindly asked me to visit them.
The rain stayed away but I kept my waterproofs on as it was a chilly day and they offered some wind protection.
Arriving in Hobart I was a bit overwhelmed by the traffic. It is the capital city and the traffic wasn’t much of a surprise but having had the roads pretty much to myself for the last four days, this was a challenge. I was following my sat nav but ended up in the wrong lane which put me on the bridge across the Derwent River. It was actually a fantastic mistake as that meant I rode over the Tasman Bridge twice! It’s a five-lane bridge that is 1,396 m long and it provides the main route from CBD (Central Business District) to the eastern shore.
On the way back over the bridge I managed to navigate the lanes and roads and found myself outside Khen and Etty’s house not long after. They were the loveliest people and welcomed a complete stranger to their house for hot coffee and lunch. I very much enjoyed chatting to them, listening about their travels, many of them to the UK and Wales, to be exact, and Holland, their home country.
Much too soon we said goodbyes as I was keen to get to Mt Wellington before the weather spoilt my plan. Khen suggested a route that wasn’t even on my sat nav. He printed out a google map and sent me off with a few directions. The sat nav kept trying to reroute me but I ignored it. Soon I wasn’t so sure that was a good idea as I found myself on another gravel road. I was progressing slowly and quite clearly annoying the locals in their pickup trucks speeding past me.
The road soon reached a T-junction with a road that had tarmac surface, thank god, and I turned off to a side road that was winding up the sides of Mt Wellington. This is where I was getting annoyed with the tourists in their rental cars going much too slow and not paying attention to their surroundings.
The further up the mountain I was going, the more stunning the view were and the colder it was getting. Until I came to the last lay-by before the summit where I felt I could just touch the clouds. I rushed to get to the top. I was told if the needle isn’t visible there will be no view. As I reached the summit I could just make out the needle and the clouds were rolling in at some speed. I parked up the bike and run to the wooden viewing platform. It was so cold I didn’t even take off my helmet or my gloves so I must have been quite a sight.
The view was amazing, so worth the trip up the mountain. Despite the dark clouds in the background, the view of Hobart and the sea was spectacular and it was only because I was freezing that I didn’t stay a while longer.
I was due to return the bike by 6pm at the latest and my flight was leaving at 8pm back to Sydney so all I had time for was to find my way back to the bike rental place, fill up the fuel tank and repack my stuff into the suitcases.
The journey to the airport was short and uneventful. Hobart airport is tiny, I knew I would be arriving to Sydney late and heading for a new accommodation so I ordered food and a glass of wine then sat down where I had a good view of the going-ons and relived my adventure.
Tasmania has totally blown me away by its beauty, the incredible sights, wonderful people, amazing roads and the diversity. I had to remind myself that the whole point of this trip was to spend time with my son in Sydney and the five days, while he was at work, was the acceptable time to slope off on my own. But I so will be back, for longer. A fascinating place that in only 5 days and 1,000 miles on the Tiger truly have captured my heart.