Strahan to Snug
I woke up early and used the opportunity to try long-exposure photos at the beach while it wasn’t raining.
It first looked like it was going to be a nice day, but then just when I was packing up it started to rain and everything got wet. After three days on the West coast I was almost looking forward to arriving in Hobart and then riding up the East coast, since it’s usually dryer than in the West.
The road between Strahan and Queenstown was amazing, a perfect road for motorcycling with plenty of bends, hills, great views and good quality tarmac. The only hazards were wet leaves in some corners, and the occasional Asian tourist driving in slow-motion.
There were a few lookouts along the road, and although I had stopped at nearly all of them on previous trips already, I rarely ride past one without taking at least a brief moment to appreciate the scenery and take a photo.
Queenstown is a strange place. The area looks like a wasteland due to mining, which makes it tempting to skip it and ignore the interesting town history. In my case, I did skip it and decided to ride on to Derwent Bridge, but mostly because I had a nearly full tank and had been in Queenstown before.
Again, the road between Queenstown and Derwent Bridge was a fantastic road for motorcycling. It was wet and there were occasional rain drops, but I rode about as fast as I would have on dry road. The bike simply gave me a lot of confidence for riding in wet conditions, I never felt I was losing grip, the brakes worked well and traction control did the rest.
My only stop was at Nelson Falls, a beautiful waterfall where I always have a break to enjoy the short walk through wet forest, with plenty of ferns, and trees covered in moss. Also a great photo spot for my new wide-angle lens.
At Derwent Bridge I stopped for petrol and had a toasted sandwich with chips and hot chocolate in the café. The petrol station almost created a disaster for me. Filling up a motorcycle tank to the maximum capacity can be tricky enough, but somehow when I released the nozzle it still let through about half a litre of petrol, which nearly caused the tank to overflow. Luckily the cap still fit on the tank without spilling petrol.
Soon after leaving Derwent Bridge the road went past the highland lakes and I suddenly entered a thick cloud of fog. It looked so amazing that I stopped to take a photo. The fog reduced my visibility to about 50m and I had to slow down to 50-60km/h at times, worried about other vehicles that might close in from behind. It was also really wet so that I often had to wipe my visor clean in order to see enough.
The fog lasted for around 50km and then turned into plain, heavy rain. The weather seemed to move in from the West coast, and sometimes I managed to outrun it and reached dry roads before it caught up with me again.
I had been planning a side trip to Strathgordon to see the large dam, but I realised I then wouldn’t make it to Hobart before darkness, and I also would have had to ride straight into the bad weather front again. I decided to ride on to Hobart where I was going to stay with José, an old friend of mine from my days when I lived in Tasmania.
Despite skipping Strathgordon, I still rode well into darkness before arriving. The rain also kept pouring down and on the last few kilometres I could feel the water soaking my underwear and even getting through my not-so water-proof touring pants, so I was relived to arrive at my friend’s place in Snug and have a hot shower.
The following day I was going to have a rest day where I could charge my camera batteries and dry my tent before continuing on the East coast.