Australia’s smallest state both in area and population, Tasmania has stunning scenery and good-quality, mostly lightly trafficked roads. These plus relatively short distances between towns and services, make Tassie an ideal region for cycle touring.
A temperate southerly latitude and long summer days means comfortable cycling conditions and ample time for side trips. always beautiful, often demanding, Tasmania’s terrain is renowned among cyclists for its hills, but effort is rewarded. Cyclists seeking easier terrain should start on the east coast, as the west coast has further distances between towns and more chance of inclement weather.
If you are visiting Tasmania, you can bring your own bike on the Spirit of Tasmania ferries, which operate daily between Melbourne, Vic, and Devonport. Charges apply for the carriage of your bicycle.
Alternately, you can hire a bike, helmet and other equipment from a number of operators in Tasmania’s major towns as well as book cycling tours. For more information about cycling in Tasmania, visit the Bicycle Tasmania information site.
As in the other states of Australia, and indeed most developed countries of the world, railways were built across the Tasmanian countryside throughout the 19th century, but modern day road transport has made all but the main lines obsolete. The corridors the train lines followed were abandoned, but in recent times, a new use has been found for many of them – rail trails.
Rail trails are paths recycled from abandoned railway corridors. They can be used for walking, cycling and horse riding and are generally shared. Following the route of the railways, they cut through hills, under roads, over embankments and across gullies and creeks.
Riding or walking rail trails have many advantages. The most obvious is you are not sharing the pathway with motor vehicles. Another is that they are prefect ways to see the countryside of a region you are visiting or passing through, as they link big and small country towns and meander through scenic countryside just as railways did in the past.
Trains are not good at climbing hills, and railways avoid steep grades by contouring around hills, going through cuttings and tunnels and over bridges and embankment. Even the steepest gradients are gentle in comparison to some roads and tracks, which makes rail trails easy to pass over.
Mountain Bike Tracks: over 70 mountain bike tracks and rides across Tasmania. Includes information and maps.
Tassie Trails: a website devoted to exploring Tasmania by mountain bike. Website >>