We all love Tasmania’s motorcycle roads in summer, but in winter it is one of the best-kept secrets for riders. Time to plan your winter ride now.
Forget the gloom and doom of wet days as portrayed by the media. Ok, it rains a fair bit in winter so you should pack your wet gear. But if you check out the weather charts for slow-approaching highs you can experience several dry days with mild weather. In particular, early and late winter offer clear blue skies and pastel winter landscapes. Best of all, the roads in winter are free of tourists and bugs, plus accommodation is easier to find and cheaper.
The east coast is a pretty safe bet for winter motorcycle riding, as long as you don’t go too far south. If there is a morning frost, be warned that the black ice can hang around all day on the southern sides of cuttings, mountains or trees. However, if it rains, that melts the ice.
Start at Hobart and explore the East Coast with its many vineyards and ocean views. A favourite piece of road is the Lake Leake Highway which runs just out of Swansea and takes you through to Campbell Town, sweeping corner after sweeping corner. Call into Freycinet with its stunning views of Wineglass Bay before heading north through Bicheno which has an interesting little motorcycle museum right on the main road into town.
Blast up the winding and narrow Elephant Pass (A3) stopping at the Pancake House and on to St Marys and back down St Marys Pass to the coast. You can take in some of the north-west Targa stages, although avoid the famed Sideling which can be wet and slippery because of its altitude.
The Tasman Highway is a hypnotic ride that will take you on a loop through Weldborough with its famous pub in a paddock, Derby, Branxholm and Bridport on the north coast, then back through the Cameron Regional Reserve to St Helens on the east coast. Here you can stay at Tidal Waters Resort $180 for a relaxing stay, or the Bayside Inn at $80 for budget-conscious riders.
Heading south you will simply want to do all these roads again, they are such fun, especially Elephant Pass.