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
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