Tasmania: Granville Harbour to Arthur River

Adrift.
Adrift.

General busy-ness has delayed this post from our trip to Tasmania in April.  There were some initial impressions in an earlier post – again I’ll let some more photos mostly talk for themselves – this was a very special journey.

Since the Canning Stock Route trip the fat-bike world has gained much greater attention with a consequent increase in bike, frame and tyre options to the point of easy confusion.
Since the Canning Stock Route trip the fat-bike world has gained much greater mainstream attention with a consequent increase in bike, frame and tyre options to the point of easy confusion.
Ready to go.  Having a non-steel frame gives some confidence with so much salt in the air and water.
Ready to go. Having a non-steel frame gives some confidence with so much salt in the air and water.
Homebase.  Learning from previous washouts, we used a campervan to do drop-off and pick-up.
Homebase. Learning from previous washouts, we used a campervan to do drop-off and pick-up.
Scott Felter happens to be back in Australia.  His new Moots Cycles fattie is on its maiden outing.
Scott Felter happened to be back in Australia. His new Moots Cycles fattie was on its maiden outing.
4WDers come out to 'play'.  Our route as far as Pieman Heads is open to all.
4WDers come out to ‘play’. Our route as far as Pieman Heads is open to all.
skjs
The party we meet are treating things the same way we are – with as light a touch as possible.  Scott donates a portion of ‘fat-bike-grin’ while they wait for the trailing pair to catch up
Fat-bikes can skirt the pools without damaging more vegetation.
Fat-bikes can skirt the pools without damaging more vegetation.
This part of the world can and does throw everything at you.  We've managed to chance upon pretty benign weather, but there're still quite enough hints of what we're being spared.  Atmosphere and some...
This part of the world can and does throw everything at you. We’ve managed to chance upon pretty benign weather, but there’re still quite enough hints of what we’re being spared. Atmosphere and some…
We could have started quite a bit further south - maybe even at Hell's Gates, but (mostly) time didn't permit.  The other factor is getting across the deeper rivers.  Pack-rafts provide the obvious self-sufficient solution, but our starting point allows us to take advantage of the river traffic.
We could have started quite a bit further south – maybe even at Hell’s Gates, but (mostly) time didn’t permit. The other factor is getting across the deeper rivers. Pack-rafts provide the obvious self-sufficient solution, but our starting point allows us to take advantage of the river traffic.
Once we're north of the big river crossing we're onto tracks that haven't seen motorised vehicles for a while (and it shows).
Once we’re north of the big river crossing we’re onto tracks that haven’t seen motorised vehicles for a while (and it shows).
Though there are still a few unexpectedly deeper pools.
Though there are still a few unexpectedly deeper pools.

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Scott working on the only puncture of the trip - the result of whoop-bombing down a steep rocky descent :-)
Scott working on the only puncture of the trip – the result of whoop-bombing down a steep rocky descent :-)
Plenty of space to get lost between sky, sea and sand
Plenty of space to get lost between sky, sea and sand
A few waist-deep fordings to catch the unwary
A few waist-deep fordings to catch the unwary
A campsite chosen for vista and a remembered CSR-wish for dune-top slumber
A campsite chosen for vista and a remembered CSR-wish for dune-top slumber
Morning surf - the wind shifted overnight bringing dousings of sand with every gust.
Morning surf – the wind shifted overnight bringing dousings of sand into the tents with every gust.
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Weaving a path through the dunes
The new wind direction is strongly and unflaggingly offshore - carrying all the loose sand it can find.
The new wind direction is strongly and unflaggingly offshore – carrying all the loose sand it can find.
Mental note: must stay out of the waves.
Mental note: must stay out of the waves.
Sarah and Bryn are there to meet us at Temma where the route gains road access again.  Overnight the next front hits and the wind shifts to a more prevailing sou'westerly.
Sarah and Bryn are there to meet us at Temma where the route gains road access again. Overnight the next front hits and the wind shifts to a more prevailing sou’westerly.
This means tailwinds for the final stretch to Arthur River - no slog, no sweat but effort-free riding.  A great end to such a short but incredible journey.
This means tailwinds for the final stretch to Arthur River – no slog, no sweat but effort-free riding. A great end to such a short but incredible journey.

A fuller article and additional photography can be found in Issue #2 of Cranked – due for publication this week.

GPS files for the route can be downloaded here.

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6 comments

  1. Wonderful photoessay guys. Around the same time 70 artists were also immersed in the Tarkine – both the coast and inland areas as well. I’m a North West Tassie local who also owns a fatbike and have been waiting for the chance to do exactly what you guys have done! Heading out this week for some snow action on that beastie.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion about fat biking being a superb alternative to the current 4WD/ATV issues we are suffering with. The tracks are there and fat biking is suitable to handle the soft sandy bits – I have tried to use a conventional mountain bike and it was a bit of a hard slog for this reason!

    How did your chains cope with the sand and mud? Was much unclogging necessary?

    Cheers,

    Nicole Anderson

    • Nicole – the artists (or at least the one I know – Kate Case) arrived a couple of days after we left. I’m glad you like the way I’ve presented things. I do believe that foot and fat-tyres are the most sensitive ways to access that area of coast.

      Tyre choice for sand, especially the soggy claggy type just above the ‘hard zone’ is very important. Scott had 5″ Surly Bud and Lou tyres and they grabbed and held onto large amounts of heavy wet sand. The older-style Larry (4″ and 4.8″ versions) are likely better.

      We both ran Rohloff-based drivechains – dry lube is the way forward with regard to sand (less sticks) and wet lube if mud/snow is your mainstay. We didn’t have to do a whole lot of unclogging as we didn’t have standard rear derailleurs. People who’ve done coastal rides in Alaska quite often use single speed set-ups for this very reason.

      Enjoy the snow – I’m very jealous (and hope to be back in Tassie again soon).

      Tom

      • Hey Tom, thanks for the above advice. My fatboy does have the standard derailleur hence my hesitance for getting it into those holes on the Sandy Cape track you found out about! Another fatbiker wrote a post complaining about sand clogging the chain as well, but the dry lube makes sense. Hope you do get back to Tassie and get your rig into some snow action!

  2. Hey Tom
    I’m looking at doing a similar trip in this area over new years, how much of the route would be possible on 29x3in tyres? We aren’t looking to get far everyday so happy to wait for low tide and optimal sand conditions or even walk!

    • Will – it would work with 29×3.0 as long as you’re prepared to go slower and work with the tides and weather. The long (10-20km) beach sections are the bits that will be pretty arduous that way. The rest would be fine. It’s pretty easy to see what’s going to be hard using google earth.

      • Thanks mate, I figured as much, those few 20 km sections of beach on the satellite images do look like a slog! The route really appeals though, thanks for the info!

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