Fat-packing Tasmania’s Wild West Coast
68 Mi.(109 KM)
% Rideable (time)
Tom and Sarah
This is a route along Tasmania’s infamous west coast that works best with fat-tyres. Although it only covers 110km, it has the potential for serious consequences if riders venture out unprepared or the weather turns bad. There is road access at the start, an obligatory river crossing (pack-raft potential) and road access at the end. What happens in between is up to you. It has sites of great aboriginal significance requiring the ‘light touch‘ possible by those on foot or bike.
- The mix of journey and technical riding in a wild and remote area of Australia
- Pounding surf and solitude
- Potential for changes in weather arriving out of the blue (4 seasons in one day)
- Fat tyres recommended (consider more beach specific tyres such as Big Fat Larrys rather than Bud/Lou as the latter pick up too much damp sand).
- Granville Harbour is about 5-6 hours drive from Hobart or Launceston (airports), and the return from Arthur River is a long day of driving (we did it overnight).
- There is a loop possible by heading along the Balfour Track (deep water crossings with 4WD told to have winches and not travel alone) and back south on the ‘Western Explorer’ (Norfolk Road – graded dirt road 2WD suitable). Full information at parks.tas.gov.au.
- A more southerly start could be made at Hell’s Gates near Strahan, but this adds 1-2 more river crossings and would make carrying a packraft recommended.
- Crossing the Pieman River at Pieman Heads either requires a packraft (100-200m wide and fully navigable by boats) or an arrangement with the Arcadia II when this is operating (seasonal – not all days). This cost us AU$25/person.
- The coast north of the Pieman until Sea Devil Rivulet is closed to 4WD vehicles due to concerns about damage to sensitive aboriginal sites (middens and rock art). Riding bicycles along here is not mentioned, but proper care and respect should be exercised to avoid issues. #leavenotrace
- A number of spots are marked on the Tasmania Parks department pdf, and further south there are multiple options.
- Consider that the weather can and will change significantly overnight including wind direction.
- Choose the most sheltered and well-drained site you can find.
- Water is tannin-stained and filtering/treating is your choice.
- There are sufficient river crossings, but it’s worth picking up overnight water mid-afternoon in case a dry-camp is needed.
- No shops/food supplies on route apart from a shop at Arthur River.