motorcycles, travel, friendship, respect… I may drift off into WTF-land at times so hang in there.

The Boat Shed

G’day

It was a beautiful morning, about 25°C (77°F), hardly any breeze, the sun was shining and not a cloud could be seen for miles: Perfect riding weather.

I donned a pair of Kevlar flavoured jeans, threw my leather jacket over a T-Shirt and headed of with The Pillion for the short ride up to Dove Lake at the foot of Cradle Mountain.

One of the most iconic natural attractions on the Tasmanian landscape.

From Devonport, it’s maybe 90km (55 mi) through a series of small towns. Barrington, Sheffeild and with a slight detour along the way, the Village Of Lower Crackpot.

The route takes in some beautiful country, through rolling hills and open farmland, and the roads aren’t too challenging. So it’s easy to motor along at the speed limit and not get into too much trouble.

Thank You Mr Google

Thank You Mr Google

We Went That-A-Way

We didn’t go that way…

Instead, we headed west along the north coast to Burnie, where we chucked a left and headed south out along the Hellyer Gorge Road.

Now that is a challenging piece of black top.

With steep rock walls on one side and long drop offs on the other, you really need to take care riding along that stretch of road. Especially when you consider that many of the corners remain wet all day because they are always in shade from the canopy of the surrounding forest.

Most corners have a sprinkling of leaf litter right in your cornering line too, which you need to be wary of… Oh, and road kill…. lots of road kill.

Did I mention that by the time we got to the Hellyer Gorge State Reserve the temperature had dropped to 4°C (39°F) and it was raining cats and dogs?

Now lets stop for a sec and work that out…

100km/h at 4°C the wind chill would be…hmm carry the one, times by… about -4.8°C or 23.3°F.

…OK so I cheated and used this site.

So, there I was with a pair of Kevlar lined jeans, T-shirt, no liner in the jacket and summer gloves. To top it off, I was a tad damp.

Fortunately, we’d packed our wet weather gear. The only problem I had, was that I couldn’t get my fingers to work.

So there I was cuddling Bluey, caressing her beautiful lines and whispering sweet noth…

Who am I kidding. I was freezing with a capital “F” and I was trying to thaw my hands out on her engine!

Dove River - Cradle Mountain

Dove River – Cradle Mountain

Dove River Conservation Area

After we put on the wet weather gear, we continued on our way, turning on to the Murchison Highway and later the Belvoir Road where we battled strong cross winds before reaching the entrance gate to the Dove River Conservation Area 26km (16 mi) later.

We arrived at the gate at around 11:00, and from there we followed the roadway for the short trip up to the visitors centre.

After dismounting and stowing our helmets and gloves in the panniers, which incidentally we did in record time, we sprinted to the visitors centre to get out of the wind and cold. There we were welcomed into the caressing warmth of the centrally heated visitors centre.

The hot meal and coffee went down pretty well too.

We must have spent 45 minutes in the visitors centre before we ventured outside again. There was no sprinting this time. Instead we sauntered along a covered walkway down to the waiting shuttle bus which took us down to Dove Lake a few kilometres away.

Were we feeling the cold?

Just a bit.

Remember, we live in the subtropics of South East Queensland where if it does get down to those sorts of temperatures it doesn’t last long.

Dove Lake

Dove Lake

Bush Walks

Cradle Mountain lies at the northern end of the Lake St Clair National Park, and is part of the  Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It is also the start of the Overland Track, one of Australia’s finest alpine walks.

The overland track is a 65 km (40 mi), six-day trek that passes through the heart of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and takes in some (I’m told) spectacular natural scenery.

The Boat Shed - Dove Lake

The Boat Shed – Dove Lake

However, if you are lazy like me, you’ll be happy to know there is a shorter walk of about 6km (3-1/2 mi) that goes around Dove Lake and passes right under Cradle Mountain.

It takes about 2 hours and is pretty easy, with most of the track being well graded: Some parts even have dedicated board walks. There are some sections that can be a bit slippery though.

For the most part it’s an easy walk with only one hill that some might find a bit steep.DoveLake005

The Boat-Shed

Located on the north-western bank of the lake is a boat-shed that was built in 1940 by the first ranger to the area.

Constructed using locally sourced King Billy Pine, the shingle roof and rough-sawn wooden wall cladding really caught my eye and cast me back to a time when nothing had to comply with occupational health and safety and red tape.

In 1983 there was some restoration work done on the boat-shed, but it still hold true to its heritage and is as close to it’s original design and construction.

It remains unused now, and has done since about 1960 when all boating activity ceased. Today the boat-shed stands as a reminder what once was.

DoveLake004

The Return Leg

Despite the rain and cold, and even though there was cloud cover at Dove Lake when we arrived, the rain broke around 13:00, and by 13:30 the sun had started to peek through the cloud.

As it turned out, this was one of the few days you could actually see Cradle Mountain from the banks of the lake because its is usually in heavy cloud.

By the time we were ready to head back to Devonport, the roads had mostly dried out and we didn’t need our wet weather gear, but we kept it on for warmth just in case.

We did eventually pass through the towns I mentioned earlier but we didn’t stop, Instead we came back a few days later and had a look around.

…And What Of The Pillion?

You might be wondering how The Pillion fared with the cold and wet on the ride up to Cradle Mountain.

Well, lets just say she had a liner in her jacket, plus she was wearing a hoody and she tucked herself in behind me to ward off some of the wind and rain.

She was still a little cold, but at least she could move her fingers when we stopped.

Cheers ’til next time.

EG


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16 responses

  1. Davina De La Ossa

    I often warm my hands on the exhaust or engine to bring back feeling. Thanks for the site link. I’ve always known 50F (10C) was my “cut-off” point. This is the point I know I’ll become hypothermic if I don’t pull over and layer up. Now I know why — 50F (10C) at 80mph (128.7kph) = 37.8F (3.2C). I’ve recently traveled through some diverse climates with various weather conditions and am still figuring out the best way to stay comfortable, without all the baggage. My top case always seems to be full of the “just-in-case” layers with little room for anything else. I enjoyed your posted. It looked like a beautiful ride, albeit a cold one.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 18, 2016 at 12:54 AM

    • Yes it was one of many rides we did while in Tasmania. Beautiful place… I wonder if it’s too soon to go back for another round of touring ;-).
      Thanks for commenting

      Like

      May 18, 2016 at 2:09 PM

  2. Wonderful post and absolutely love your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 18, 2016 at 9:55 AM

  3. banditrider

    Once upon a time (when I had a Bandit but had yet to discover heated grips) I was riding South of Christchurch to Dunedin in some truly foul weather. I got so cold that I was ducked down as low as I could and thrust my left hand in under the carbies to steal some engine warmth for at least one of my mits. Not ideal but I didn’t die of hypothermia…

    Liked by 1 person

    May 18, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    • I’ve never done that, but I do recall doing silly things like stuffing a newspaper down my jacket and inside my jeans at thigh height to try and ward off some of the cold.

      Worked for a while… until the newspaper got wet LOL.

      Like

      May 23, 2016 at 8:18 PM

  4. That sure is a beautiful area even with the rain. I am sure the rain helps add to the landscape though.

    With poor circulation I often warm my hands on the engine. Another trick is to reach in your jacket and under your shirt to put your hands either on the back of your neck or under your armpits. The cold fingers on the skin is a shock but it really helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 19, 2016 at 4:28 AM

    • There are lots of places that I’ve seen in photos, but didn’t get the chance to visit while down there. The state of New South Wales has some nice spots too, particularly through the snowies.

      I don’t get poor circulation but I have noticed that my knuckles on my left hand are starting to react to the cold – I hope its not the onset of aurthur-ritis. I’ve seen other riders struggle with that and I’m not looking forward to it, if that is what I’m in for

      Like

      May 23, 2016 at 8:23 PM

  5. Bob

    Nice pics & post, Ghost. Heated vest for cool/cold riding temps. It keeps the torso warm, thus your core temp does not drop. The hands and feet will always get cold as core temps drop as your body is drawing blood from the extremities to the core to keep vital organs functioning. A heated vest also lets you pack lighter, as you don’t need to layer much. Good investment for those 50 degree and colder mornings/days.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 20, 2016 at 12:43 AM

    • Thanks Bob.

      My dad always used to say that a heavy coat was worth its weight i gold on a cold day. I think I’d rather a light weight heated vest as you suggest.

      Like

      May 23, 2016 at 8:26 PM

  6. LB

    What an adventure! Cold hands … make for challenging bike control.
    Your photography is getting better and better (I hope that doesn’t offend you. I’ve certainly seen mine improve over the past 4 years of blogging).
    I just got a new back tire on the bike, it’s cleaned and waxed, and inspected.
    Ready for the next ride!

    Liked by 1 person

    May 22, 2016 at 5:53 AM

    • Yes it was Laurie, and if I’m honest I’ve been struggling to get back into the swing of things since returning.

      Offend me?!

      Not at all, thank you for the encouragement. Especially when you consider that I’m using a low spec camera, a Contour Roam and a cell phone (for the days I don’t pack the camera)

      Like

      May 23, 2016 at 8:31 PM

  7. The conservation area, Lake and boat shed are beautiful! Sorry you were cold, but seriously…you casually mention a place called “Village Of Lower Crackpot” and then not another word???? 🙂 Please elaborate!

    Like

    May 30, 2016 at 6:07 AM

    • Lower Crackpot is in a place called “The Promised Land” about 1/2 hour south of Devonport TAS. Just follow the signs from “Nowhere Else” (Yes these are both actual places!)

      Lower Crackpot is a 1/5th scale model village set amongst 8 hedgerow mazes in an attraction called Tasmazia. The maze is the largest in the world.

      Even though it is a scale village and fictitious, it boasts its own postcode and stamp and is recognised by most locals as and actual village

      You can read more about it here if you like http://www.tasmazia.com.au/

      Liked by 1 person

      May 30, 2016 at 8:03 PM

  8. Pingback: That’s a Wrap – Three Weeks Just Isn’t Enough. | EXPERIMENTAL GHOST

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