Two wheels or many wheels, what’s your preference? In southern Tasmania you’ll find plenty of cycling and mountain biking experiences – and some unusual railway journeys as well.
Story by Chris Viney.
The days of passenger rail in Tasmania are in the past – unless the proposed light rail project from Hobart’s northern suburbs in the city gets rolling one of these days.
But there are still some enjoyable rail journeys for enthusiasts to experience – like the steam or diesel rides that start at the Glenorchy Railway Museum then run north, near the banks of the River Derwent; and the Ida Bay Railway, which rattles down a 14 kilometre narrow-gauge track, deep in the Huon Valley, south of Hobart. This bush tramway was once used to carry limestone to waiting sailing ships at a wharf in the estuary of the Lune river. Today it’s a train ride into the history and natural heritage of the region, rolling through forests and heathlands, down to the deserted beach at Deep Hole.
If cycling is your thing, the level grade of the mostly riverfront Intercity Cycleway that links Hobart and Glenorchy is a great way to reach MONA, a few kilometres north from the city – bike hire is
available at the Cenotaph, a short walk from Hobart’s docks precinct.
On the eastern shore of the Derwent, the Clarence Foreshore Trail gives brilliant views of the city across the water, nestled beneath its guardian mountain.
If mountain-biking action and excitement is your thing, make your way to the challenging North South Track on Mt Wellington. Created by international experts in track design, this one has enough jumps and log rides to thrill and delight any MTB rider.
If you prefer freewheeling to pedalling, the awesome Mt Wellington Descent is for you – after a minibus transfer to the top of the mountain, you’ll ride 21 kilometres from the Pinnacle to the docks, and your legs will hardly have to roll over at all.
And if you’ve always thought (as I once did) that Segway riders look just a little bit odd, just wait until you try it for yourself. It’s terrific fun, surprisingly easy and remarkably intuitive. Hobart’s cycle track is the ideal place for a Segway – so stand tall and do it!