2000km camping roundtrip in 8 days
In early May I took my new Ducati Hyperstrada on its first big tour by riding all around Tasmania. May is almost a bit late for touring Tasmania on a motorcycle due to unpredictable weather and even possible snow and black ice in higher regions. I didn't want to wait until next summer though, so I went anyway and hoped for a little bit of luck with weather conditions.
It turned out to be an amazing trip, unbelievable fun to ride the Hyperstrada on some of the country’s best motorcycling roads. I didn’t have any technical issues with the bike, everything went very well. The weather was fairly kind too, only on one day I got wet after riding through hours of pouring rain. During the first half of the trip roads were mostly wet from rain, but it usually rained the night before and not during the day. The last few days riding up the East coast were even sunny.
Overnight ferry to Tasmania
On a Friday afternoon I finished work early, packed up and rode to Melbourne to catch the overnight Spirit of Tasmania ferry. Boarding went well, their staff are very familiar with securing bikes using tie-down straps attached to the handle bar or frame.
While riding to Melbourne I realised that I was most likely carrying too much luggage, and also that my backpack doesn't go well with the new luggage bag I got, there's not enough space so I'm pushed very far to the front of the bike. I thought it might be best to leave it until Devonport, and then before heading off to Cradle Mountain I could spend some time optimising my luggage storage and moving the bag further backwards.
Once my bike was secured on the parking deck, I grabbed some basics like water bottle and toiletry bag and went to the upper decks. I spent a short while sitting outside enjoying the night view of Melbourne before having dinner at the restaurant on deck seven.
Unlike on my previous rides with the Spirit of Tasmania I booked a cabin instead of a free recliner seat, to have at least some chance of sleeping at night. I'm not sure if this was introduced recently or if I simply never noticed it, but it's now possible to book a shared cabin at very reasonable price, much like a bed in a hostel share room. Clearly this will be popular among backpackers and others like me who don't need the expensive luxury of a cabin of their own.
For this trip I brought several new pieces of equipment and gadgets:
- A touring wind screen for the bike, slightly larger than the stock one.
- A 60l waterproof luggage bag from SW-Motech which I placed on the passenger seat and then used two tie-down straps to secure it to the passenger grab handles. I'm not a huge fan of top boxes, and I don't think the top box support frame would work alongside my tidy tail, therefore I thought a motorcycle luggage bag would be best. In hindsight the bag was probably a bit too large and I could have used a smaller one if I hadn’t taken so much stuff with me on this trip.
- A small 2l jerry can for petrol, just in case. In remote areas of Tasmania it can sometimes be hard to find petrol.
- A 12mm f/2.8 Samyang lens for my Sony A7II full-frame camera. I'm a sucker for wide angle landscapes and on my previous APS-C cameras I never found lenses as good or wide as I liked. Unfortunately it's manual focus only.
- A new tripod. My old plastic tripod broke several years ago, so with the MeFoto Roadtrip I finally got myself a proper one.
- A Thermarest NeoAir Xlite sleeping pad. My old Exped Synmat 7 pump started to seriously leak air, and an attempt to fix it proved unsuccessful. It appears it is leaking all along the seams, so apparently the glue that holds the seams together disintegrates over time. The Thermarest is very expensive, but also very comfortable, weighs only 340g and rolled and compressed it's only slightly larger than a can of coke. It saved me almost half a kilo in weight compared to the old Exped mat, but it still annoys me that it failed at all, after only about five years. Although their products have 5 years warranty, local dealers refuse to handle warranty claims for products that were not purchased from them. I purchased mine in Hobart. Given this stupid warranty policy, I chose not to buy another Exped and try the Thermarest instead.
- DriRider Blizzard 2 touring pants. Like my previous DriRider products this one yet again suffers from poor quality stitching, and the zips frequently get stuck. I also admit I'm wearing the ladies' version because the men's — like most other motorcycling pants for men — seem to be designed for extraordinarily fat men. Trying to find touring pants with a skinny fit for slim men is surprisingly difficult.
I planned my route over several weeks and created a custom Google map. It's hard to plan a week-long road trip in advance, and in the end I had to make some spontaneous changes. The itinerary I ended up travelling was:
- Devonport to Cradle Mountain
- Cradle Mountain to Arthur River via Stanley
- Arthur River to Strahan via Western Explorer
- Strahan to Hobart via Queenstown
- Hobart to Triabunna via Port Arthur
- Triabunna to Binalong Bay via Coles Bay
- Binalong Bay to Campbell Town via Ben Lomond
- Campbell Town to Devonport
In a small town called Snug just half an hour South of Hobart I stayed at a friend’s house for a rest day half-way through the trip, before continuing along the East Coast.
It will post more detailed articles for each ride day over the next days.
More photos from the trip are in the album Round Tasmania on the Hyperstrada.