We’re house sitting in Somerset until mid October looking after Charlie the dog. Check out our photos to see what we’re up to.
October 19 – Somerset to Warner’s Beach 47.00 klms, Avg speed 17.5 kph, Cycling time 2.41 hrs; Total kms 30,526
After 3 months being off the bikes we’re back on them again to start our 2 month ride around Tassie. Our house/doggie sits have been fabulous over the winter months but to be back on our treadlies is something we were really looking forward to. It was a misty morning when we left Somerset, not only weather wise but eye wise, we felt very, very sad leaving Charlie, we were totally besotted by him & only felt slightly better knowing his Mum would be arriving back at lunchtime. Otherwise it was a perfect day—relatively short ride, wind not in our faces, great coffee at 33 Cups of Tea at Ulverstone, o’nite van at Turner’s Beach, lunch over the road at La Mer & Greg’s Spag Bol for dinner-perfect, perfect, perfect.
October 20 – Warner’s Beach to Deloraine 75.00 klms, Avg speed 14.4 kph, Cycling time 5.00 hrs; Total kms 30,601
Today saw us peddlin’ up and down hills for 5 hours passing through stunning countryside while zig zagging round lots of road kill, it stank too. We were surprised on previous visits to Tassie how much road kill there was, with summer approaching it’ll be something to look forward to. We’re staying in Deloraine for 2 nights, it’s such a pretty, historic village lying at the foot of the Great Western Tiers & on the banks of the Meander River. The resident population of 2,700 swells by 25,000 early November when Australia’s working craft fair come to town, it sounds fantastic, what a bummer we’re going to miss it, bad planning on my part! Ooops, nearly forgot to mention our great accommodation belonging to one of the local pubs, we’re swanning around in a huge 3 bedroom apartment, cheap as chips for $50.00 per night, as yet our tent hasn’t appeared, no complaints from this end!!
October 22 – Deloraine to Longford 59.47 klms, Avg speed 16.1 kph, Cycling time 3.40 hrs; Total kms 30,660
It’s hard sometimes to describe the sheer beauty enveloping you as you ride to your next destination along quiet country roads, today was such a day—blue skies, emerald green fields, the Great Western Tiers dominating the skyline, hedgerows covered in perfumed white flowers, tall willows lining the Liffey & Esk Rivers, beautiful Georgian farm houses beckoning new owners (have bought lots already!), foals, pigs, sheep, lambs, horses & one heavy horse happily grazing & birds chirping merrily away. It was 60 klms of great riding. We went in search for our daily coffee fix along the way but to no avail-Westbury’s cafe closed during the week, Hagley-zilch, Carrick-zero, Hadspen-zero, crikey. We rode up & down the streets of Longford just about giving up & there it was, the Home of the Artisan Cafe opened only 6 weeks ago, what sheer joy to have found it. We checked into our cosy cabin at the Longford Riverside Caravan Park overlooking the fast flowing Esk River, what a great spot to stay for the next 4 nights. The region is predominantly agricultural, noted for wool, dairy produce and stock breeding, our sort of town.
October 24 – Longford to Bracknell & Cressy round trip. 50.46 klms, Avg speed 19.6 kph, Cycling time 2.34 hrs; Total kms 30,710
If we want to explore the region there’s only one way & that’s on our treadlies, Crazy Ruby & Horsey so off we went this morning touring the countryside via Bracknell & Cressy & a picturesque ride it was too. By 11am & having covered 50 klms, we were back having a cuppa at the Artisan Cafe, reading the newspapers & stuffing our faces with yummy cakes. The more we walked around the streets of Longford (pop. 3000 approx.) the more we liked it. It’s a classified historic town but feels more like a country village dotted with grand, old houses & buildings. A wealthy town in the past so what was the background.? The development of the town and surrounding area coincided with land grants in the mid-1820s & prominent among the first settlers were the dynastic Archer family who arrived in 1813 & built such notable local houses as Woolmers, Panshanger & Brickendon. Farmers were provided with free convict labour and used this to create grand reminders of their English heritage. The 3 houses mentioned are a small sample of over forty buildings in the district which have been included on the National Estate. With the recent openings of Artisan Cafe, plus a new Gallery & several Antique Shops we hope the town retains its charm & doesn’t become a satellite town of Launceston, 21 klms away.
October 26 – Longford to Launceston 42.09 klms, Avg speed 16.2 kph, Cycling time 2.36 hrs; Total kms 30,753
Could have shot up the busy B41 straight into Launceston but didn’t, did a detour instead along the back roads to Evandale where we sat having a cuppa taking in the delights of yet another very pretty historic town. A local suggested we take the road to Launceston via Relbia, it was a great suggestion, the scenery was superb. Thanks to Greg’s great navigation skills our hilly ride in busy traffic was relatively painless to our backpack hostel. Launceston (pop 106,000) is Australia's second or third oldest city (sources vary) and is nestled between the Tamar River and scenic Cataract Gorge at the beginning of the beautiful Tamar Valley. Founded in 1805 it has managed to retain much of its heritage & has one of the best collection of intact 19th century architecture in Australia. It’s best to see it on foot apparently so for the next 5 days we’ll explore this city of contrasts, where modern marinas & sleek restaurants meet graceful Georgian and Victorian landscapes
October 31 – Launceston to Beauty Point 56.22 klms, Avg speed 16.6 kph, Cycling time 3.22 hrs; Total kms 30,809
We check the weather forecast frequently, probably too frequently, to see what our riding conditions are going to be, sometimes it’s best not to know. We’re amazed how frequently the forecast is incorrect, today the forecast was heavy rain so we ummed & ahhed about staying another day in Launceston but frankly after 5 days off the bikes we wanted to move on even if it bucketed down. But it didn’t, in fact it turned out to be sunny & warm & for the first time in months we set off not wearing our cycle leggings. Getting out of Launceston at 7.30am on a wide shoulder wasn’t too stressful & once we turned off the busy West Tamar Hwy onto the old Exeter Road it was even better as we were following the Tamar Valley Wine Route. It was scenically beautiful riding through Rosevears, Gravelly Beach, Deviot & onto Beaconsfield riding along the western edge of the Tamar River passing vineyards, sailing boats & nice houses. The coffee at Deviot wasn’t bad either & a friendly lycra clad cyclist stopped to have a chat. After lunch in the park at Beaconsfield we arrived at the Beauty Point Caravan Park. Greg pitched the tent, last time we’d been in it was about 6 months ago, but with the weather getting warmer no more luxury accommodation for us. After a walk to The Riviera Hotel stuffing our faces with food & wine we slept exceptionally well that night!