Heading North

Day 12 – Orford to Devonport

We had all these good intentions of getting up early and putting laundry on and doing some blogging and spending some quality time with the family. Most of that got done except for the blogging – apologies!

The morning went pretty nicely but we failed to meet our departure time so we had to curtail our intended route somewhat. Initially, we had intended to travel up the Tasman Highway to the northern side of Bicheno (home of scooter-riding Mayor Bertrand Cadart) turning west to take in the Fingal Valley – a very decent ride with beautiful scenery practically the entire way. This was not to be.

Instead, we retraced the path we had taken to get to Orford some days ago. This route took us back to Swansea and then west over Lake Leake Road to Campbell Town.

 Despite the assurances of Google Maps and our own GPS, there are no fuel stations in Campbell Town. Fortunately the scoots weren’t feeling too thirsty this morning and managed to amble into Perth quite comfortably. We stopped for some hot chips and a yarn with a Can-am Spyder owner and his niece. They’d had a huge morning already covering much of the North Coast (on a borrowed bike while their ride got new shoes) before heading back south to Oatlands. As with everyone with a slighty different bike (hello Gilera Fuoco!) this poor guy was subjected to another cocky wanting to know the basic answers that any fool could get off the net in about 8 seconds. ‘Does it go alright mate?’, ‘Do you have to lean it?’, ‘So it’s not like a real bike then?’ and so on until you just want to tell them to piss off. Nice people though and he managed to maintain his sense of humour.

While in Perth we grabbed a quick geocache. A nice easy find in some green space between a couple of houses. The slasher was busy at work so we had to time our grab between his sweeps. On returning to the scoots, we found a family of three looking them over. Now – we were parked on the side of the road at the entrance to a town and these guys had pulled over to get a better look. Of course we were nice – taking a leaf out of the Spyder rider’s book – and dutifully answered their questions.

At last we were back on the road heading north-west to joing the Bass Highway for the final push to Devonport. On the way we passed some of Tasmania’s better known food producers in D’Anvers Chocolate and Ashgrove Cheese. We didn’t have time to stop today but I’m sure we’ll be back. Arriving in east devonport we consulted the GPS and picked up a couple more caches before heading over to the dock to check in. The line wasn’t too long when we arrived which was a surprise. We had booked this trip relatively late and were forced to purchase the most expensive cabin on the ship. To this end, we expected to see maany cars, caravans, campervans and bikes waiting in line to board. This was not too be with only about half of the vehicle lanes filled. I have to say that I saw no evidence to suggesst that absolutely every cabin was occupied and am tempted to make some discrete enquiries with the company.

Despite the cabin debacle – the berth itself was quite plush for a ferry ride. A wonderfully soft queen bed, plenty of room and a larger-than-usual bathroom. We even got some nice bathrobes in which to while away the journey. This level of comfort and luxury was in stark contrast to the meal we took that evening. We had resolved to eat at ‘The Captain’s Table’ – the inaptly named family feedbag that everyone seems to flock towards the second they get onboard. We grabbed a tray and joined the queue through the cafeteria style set-up selecting a few different items. For my own part, I have not ingested a worse meal in my entire life – and I was in the Army. To stave off sticking our fingers down our throats, we headed for the gift shop and purchased a couple of treats for dessert before retiring to our palatial cabin for the night.

The crossing was a little topsy turvy but our comfy bed made it pass as if upon a mill pond.

Tomorrow – The Great Ocean Road!

When we can track down a proper Internet Cafe, we’ll be able to upload some photos. This is something the iPad is not so good at. Ciao!

Photos are ready! Click HERE.

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