Day 313, Friday, 5 February, 2010

Distance travelled – 48.5 km
Avg speed – 15.0 kph
Max speed – 47.2 kph

New Norfolk to Hobart

During the night we had a lot of rain and I found myself dreaming that we were camping on a waterbed. As I awoke close to midnight I discovered I had my hand on the tent floor and what I could feel was a large amount of water flowing underneath. I patted the floor and it wobbled like jelly. As I shone my torch out the door I discovered our tent was now in the middle of a small lake about 3 inches deep. Lucky for us the tent floor was not leaking and we were still dry inside but we decided to move to a drier spot. The move took us 30 minutes and it was not long before we were back in bed again.

To our surprise our ride into Hobart was a rather stressful one. The population of Hobart is approximately 200K so we expected less traffic compared to our home in Canberra, which has a population of 350K. We found the opposite with the roads into and around Hobart being busy with fast flowing traffic. Hobart is the sixth capital city for us to visit and to date Brisbane traffic had given us the most difficulty, but after this morning we think Hobart is probably worse.  Brisbane has a lot more vehicles but we do not think it is as scary as what we experienced between Bridgewater and the city. 3km from the city we re-evaluated our route and headed for the suburban streets of New Town and North Hobart.

All the way in from New Norfolk we were looking for on road cycle lanes or signs for shared pathways that we could use to get away from the traffic. Close to the CBD we stumbled across a green on road cycle lane but this disappeared after two blocks. Apart from this short bit of green road we found no other cycling infrastructure on our way into Hobart. Unlike the other capital cities we have been to there were also not that many cyclists about on the roads. Given its small size it seems very odd that Hobart has not embraced cycling, as have other Australian capital cities.

Our time in the city was quite a social one with a number of interested enquiries about where we were from and going to. Down at the waterfront one such conversation led to an offer of accommodation which if we had not just paid a deposit for our stay tonight we would have most likely accepted. It brought back memories of my first time cycling in Tasmania in 1978 when we received many such friendly invitations. Through this chance encounter we were able to get some excellent directions on how to get across the Tasman Bridge, which was the problem we were trying to solve as we pulled up at the wharf. In 1978 there had been a ferry service but we found this had been discontinued long ago.

The Tasman Bridge is not an easy bridge to ride a loaded bicycle across, as the pathway is very narrow. It was also very windy and as we were about a quarter of the way across we were both caught by a small gust of wind blowing us towards the high edge railing. There was no chance we would get blown over the edge but being so high up we both felt more comfortable walking the rest of the way to the top. At least walking gave us the opportunity to appreciate the excellent view. It was a great roll down the other side.

We remain intrigued by where all the traffic comes from.

Zoom into the map and use the 'Satellite' layer to see our new location.


Black swans on the Derwent River near Bridgewater

Denise in the Elizabeth Street Mall

Victoria Dock and Hunter Street

Denise crossing the Tasman Bridge



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