In an effort to be good guests, Bec and I were up and ready to go by 7.30am so Mandi and Rob could leave for work. Our first stop was up a hill of course, and involved a coffee shop (of course)!
As we were leaning our bikes against the wall of the first coffee shop, we politely checked that this was okay with the waitress. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘you can put your bikes over there’, and pointed to a tree away from her cafe and in front of the next shop! Being self-respecting cycle tourists, we politely declined her offer and moved straight to the next cafe just up the road. Here the waitress filled our water bottles, chatted with us and generally made us feel welcome, quite a contrast!
Malcolm and the others had assured us that the road to Deloraine was flat, and in the spirit of Tasmania, it was undulating. There were no steep 6km/hr climbs, just hills that slowed you down on the uphill and gave you a rest on the other side.
The Carrick Inn was about 15-20km(?) along and had a sign for egg & bacon rolls and coffee. We were in! The rolls were FANTASTIC and just what we needed after riding all that way. You can get fat when you’re cycle touring!
We paused at Westbury where the maze and steam museum are located…
…before making our way into the beautiful town of Deloraine, which is the art and craft centre of Tasmania (according to the women at the Alpaca Wool Centre).
The caravan park is right beside the river, and despite suffering from the effects of the drought like everywhere in Tasmania, was a refreshing sight. There are ducks wandering around and platypus living in the river. We pitched out tent under a lovely big tree and had a quick snooze while waiting for our washing to be finished.
Deloraine’s main street deserved a stroll before visiting the pub for a cold beer. We arrived at the bar at the same time as David who had moved down from Townsville a few months ago. He had brought a small keg of his microbrewery beer for the pub owner to taste in the hope of getting it out on tap in the pub. We were happy to help out with the taste testing of this flavoursome ale from the Devil’s Gullet Brewing Company.
Mark Flanigan, owner of the Empire Hotel was interested in our cycling trip and told us about his relatively new business which offers cycle touring packages for visitors. He mentioned Cradle Mountain, which is only 110km away, and the numerous day rides that can be experienced. We hung out in the pub for the whole afternoon as it had free wifi and I got some blog posts updated! Dinner was hearty and delicious and we could imagine spending a couple of days cycling around with Deloraine as our base. Mark showed us a cyclist friendly route to Devonport too, which would take us on quiet back roads at her than the busy highway.
On the way back to our tent we saw another cycle tourist, Tina from yellowbikejourney.blogspot.com.au who had started in Cairns and was making her way down. She had just finished a month in Melbourne with her brother and was adjusting back to touring life. As soon as we said we were from Townsville, Tina knew who we were. She had seen this blog. The world was getting smaller the further we went!