It’s not often my plans revolve around movements of the moon. Tasmanian E-bike Adventures talk of reconnecting with place and nature, and this moon business hints at what’s to come. It’s all about the tide. Just six days in a calendar month are open to exploring the Bangor property, south of Hobart, with its 35 kilometre ribbon of coastline.
We take off from Smolt Kitchen in West Hobart, where a bubbly Ben Rea welcomes with a warm handshake. His smile is only rivalled by the width of the tyres on the German e-bikes he has lined up outside. With delicate pastries and caffeine in tow, along with our hybrid machines, we’re off. Although Ben’s wife Abby is not able to make our trip, Ben’s solo enthusiasm is enough to have us all smiling as we venture out of the city streets in the opposite direction to morning city commuters.
It takes around an hour to arrive at the starting point of our full-day tour of Bangor on the Forestier Peninsula, well known for its delicious wine and oyster shed. The privately-owned farm is some 25,000 acres in size, rich in stories of early Tasmanian Aboriginals and European explorers. The working property is not only home to merinos, but Tasmanian devils, wombats, Swift parrots, Forty-spotted pardalotes and more.
What better way to keep the senses open to our surrounds than on a quietly purring e-bike. As we all swing a leg over a fancy machine, it takes little time to find the ‘turbo’ button. With a few metres of gravel road behind me, the controls quickly become second nature. Push the plus arrow and presto, steep hills splendidly become a pleasure.
At first I wonder if this might take the challenge away from our 25 kilometre ride. But no. There’s always the option to turn your ‘assistant’ off and a little less huffing affords more breath to the ‘wows’ that escape as we pedal by dramatic cliffs and across marsupial lawns.
Ben, an adventurer and outdoor educator, keenly imparts snippets on everything from fauna to edible plants (of which we sample) and all manner of human history. We enjoy a hearty lunch at the very spot Tasmanian aboriginals looked out from, as French ships approached Two Mile Beach.
One of the party dives in for a refreshing dip, shortly followed by the rest of us before our beach ride. Of course most of us sneakily engage ‘pedal assistance’ en route. Our cycle then leads through shady stands of blue gums, opening out to coastal views of Maria Island and horizon glimpses of The Hazards. In an intimate group of no more than eight, Ben is able to connect with each of us. It is this individual feel and the privilege of exploring land typically reserved for family and close friends that elevates the day to a new level of special.
Monument Bay stops us in our sandy tracks for afternoon tea. This is where Abel Tasman’s ship carpenter Pieter Jacobszoon swam the flag of the Prince of Holland ashore. Naturally, there is a monument to celebrate this Dutch triumph, but it is the bay that captivates me. It appears untouched – as though we’re looking at the same landscape Tasman came across. It’s a rare treat to sit on a piece of drift wood and reimagine that 1642 day.
As we roll back to our waiting van, Ben is not quite done with us. We celebrate our pedalling mission in fitting style - over Bangor sparkling and oysters by the water. And although the batteries on our German bikes are slightly depleted, we feel charged…..Charged with stories. Charged by adventure. Charged with the sea breeze. Charged by nature. Oh, and charged with Bangor bubbles!
TOURS: Full Day Tours are available with Half Day Tours coming soon
WORDS & IMAGES: Alice Hansen, a guest of Tasmanian E-bike Adventures
Want to find out about more things to do? Visit Tailored Tasmania and book in real time, direct with operators. Choose from over 100 adventures here.
Read our little piece on Thousand Lakes Lodge in Australian Gourmet Traveller here.
The sun is out and the bike trails are begging. If you have two wheels, now is the time to explore Hobart by pedal power. We’ve ridden our way alongside the River Derwent, past museums, around city neighbourhoods and up winding hills to bring you our top five bicycle rides in Hobart. We know there’ll be locals who have their fave secret rides, so feel free to share yours with us too.
1. RIDE TO MONA
What better way to head out to David Walsh’s famed subversive wonderland than by bicycle? Mona has put Tasmania on the world map and they love you coming by bike so much they provide a fleet of their own two-wheeled wonders.
From central Hobart this 12 kilometre mostly flat ride takes you along Hobart’s cycleway, hugging the shoreline of the River Derwent. Try to keep up with the Mona Ferry if you’re game, or take your time dropping into the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and admiring GASP (Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park) along the way.
2. BIKES AND BEER
Hobart is home to Australia’s first brewery. Cascade Brewery sits elegantly at the foothills of Mount Wellington. A lovely walking and cycling trail can be found that leads you almost to the front door. Start at Hobart's waterfront, as pictured above and pedal through town. The Hobart Rivulet Track can be found in Molle Steet and enjoys plenty of shade as it winds its way through South Hobart. Drop into the Female Factory if you’d like a dose of convict history on your way to a rewarding ale.
3. BATTERY POINT PEDALLING
Explore the village streets of historic Battery Point. This old neighbourhood brims with historic tales, sandstone homes, antique stores, leafy streets, galleries and a famed bakery that often has a bike or two out the front. There’s even a sculpture trail that can be followed for those keen to delve into the history and artsy side of Battery Point. Grab a coffee and find a sunny patch of grass in the middle of Arthur’s Circus to rest your legs.
4.SANDY BAY CYCLING
An easy flat ride along the waterfront leads from central Hobart out to the suburb of Sandy Bay. Along the way you’ll pass Wrest Point Casino, old boat houses, jetties and waterside homes. There’s a cycle lane that’s popular with morning commuters and the best place to end your ride is in the Long Beach/Nutgrove area. With barbecues, cafes, seafood and sandy beaches it’s the ideal place to kick off your shoes. For those after a challenge, ride up into the hills of Sandy Bay or continue through to Taroona.
Feel like climbing a bridge? The Tasman Bridge leads over to Hobart’s Eastern Shore and is a hoot to ride over. The views down the Derwent and across to Mount Wellington are spectacular from up here. Find out about the bridge’s past and the day a ship captain came to grief with our capital city’s primary connection between its eastern and western shores. Continue along to find cycle paths that line Hobart’s eastern shore. Any way you pedal in Hobart you’ll find well-crafted trails and plenty of friendly locals giving a helmet-topped nod in your direction.
Words and images: Alice Hansen (Reid Cycles kindly discounted their Vintage Lite bike that appears in the imagery above. For more information visit www.reidcycles.com.au).
Your launch pad for exploring Tasmania like a local.