Tasmanian Expeditions – kayak, cycle, walk

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Of the many things to do in Tasmania, travellers who like being active will discover lots to tick off the list while exploring Australia’s smallest state. Tasmania’s beaches, mountains, farmland and villages are an eye-catching mosaic of ever-changing scenery. The landscape is perfect for adventurous travellers who enjoy cycling, hiking and kayaking. Adventure tour operator Tasmanian Expeditions has a six-day tour that will give you a taste of all three.

Tasmanian Expeditions’ six-day Cycle, Kayak, and Walk Tasmania tour travels south along Tasmania’s east coast from Launceston to Hobart and includes quite a bit of activity:

  • 2 full days of cycling
  • 2.5 days of hiking
  • a few hours sea kayaking
  • Cycling the Wellington Descent

Although I love exploring quiet roads on two wheels and appreciate the idea of riding 60-70km in one day, I seldom (ok, never) pedal that far at home.

So, knowing a support vehicle will be constantly trailing us on scheduled cycling days is what makes the two-wheeled element of this trip seem doable.

Tasmanian Expeditions Itinerary

Tasmanian Expeditions
Trailed by a support vehicle, cyclist’s ascend to St. Mary’s Pass

Steven, one of five participants embarking on Tasmanian Expeditions’ six-day Cycle, Kayak, and Walk Tasmania tour, looks a touch disappointed when he realises we’ll only be pedalling down 1270m Mount Wellington on our final day rather than up it as well.

I can’t help but smile at his reaction – he’s clearly a keener cyclist than me.

Even so, the trusty support vehicle, which carries all our equipment and luggage, ends up receiving very little love from its charges.

Day 1 – Cycle from Launceston to Bicheno

No one in the group hitches a ride on Day 1, as we cycle east along sealed roads through the Fingal Valley, up and down 258m St Mary’s Pass to the Tasman Sea, and, finally, south along undulating terrain to the coastal town of Bicheno and its fairy penguin burrows.

tasmanian expeditions
Rocky coastline Bicheno

Day 2 – Trip to Freycinet National Park

Our bottoms receive a welcome break from our bike seats on Day 2 when we take a day trip south from Bicheno to Freycinet National Park.

Here, we gear up for a morning of sea kayaking with Freycinet Adventures, setting out on Coles Bay’s clear turquoise waters.

Wineglass Bay

Tasmanian Expeditions
Tasmanian Expeditions Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

After re-joining our energetic Tasmanian Expeditions guides, we motor to an 11km circuit track, which leads us south to Wineglass Bay, west along the Isthmus Track to Hazards Beach, and then northeast around the base of Mt Mayson back to the parking lot.

I’ve heard plenty of fellow travellers rave about Wineglass Bay and I, too, am suitably impressed when we reach the lookout.

The bay’s lovely crescent-shaped strip of ivory sand encourages us to snap our necessary photos quickly so we can descend and place bare feet upon it – and maybe even brave its ice-block blue companion waters with a swim.

However, when we step out onto the cool, thirsty sand, two Bennetts (red-necked) wallabies, harbouring joeys, capture my attention.

The creatures fearlessly approach our picnic area and hover in hope, but since feeding them is strictly off-limits, their efforts are in vain.

Tasmanian Expeditions
Tasmanian Expeditions – wallaby

Day 3 – Freycinet National Park

Kayaking in Freycinet National Park

kayaking Tasmania
Kayaking Tasmania Wineglass Bay

The rugged, light-pink knuckles of the park’s Hazards Range provide the southerly backdrop for our paddling, and our excitement about the hiking we’ll soon be doing alongside their exposed granite elevates.

Cycling from Freycinet National Park to Triabunna

After kayaking in Freycinet National Park, we cycle south to Triabunna.

And no one seeks its shelter on Day 3 either when we set off in a chilly rain that persists throughout much of the morning.

Thankfully, the pesky clouds lift by lunchtime, and our next destination, wildly beautiful Maria (pronounced ma-rye-ah) Island, temporarily fills the horizon, distracting us from our fatigue as we continue south towards the portside town of Triabunna.

Day 4+5 Maria Island Walk

Tasmanian Expeditions
Maria Island Ferry approaches the jetty

Freycinet isn’t the only place where we encounter Bennetts wallabies.

Car-free Maria Island National Park (accessible via ferry from Triabunna) hosts Tasmanian wildlife as well as other introduced species such as Forester kangaroos, Cape Barren geese, Flinders Island wombats, and Tasmanian native hens.

The island is also home to native pademelons, fairy penguins, and tiger snakes.

The tour spends two nights here, either in the rustic, circa-1830 penitentiary, built during the first of the island’s two convict periods or in the nearby campground; given the abundance of goose poo in the campground.

cycling tasmania
Maria Island biking

I’m quite happy that we end up occupying two large, bunk bed-filled rooms in the former.

And I’m also a fan of the building’s 1920s veranda – the perfect spot for sipping one’s morning coffee while observing adorable wombats feed alongside geese.

For me, the caffeine is indispensable, as our two days on this 22km-long island brim with bushwalks and other activities.

On the first afternoon, we set out for the dizzying dolerite columns of 620m Bishop and Clerk.

From the summit, Freycinet Peninsula is clearly visible to the east, while Maria’s Fossil Cliffs, where deposits of fossilised shellfish were mined for lime in the 1920s, beckon from below.

On the second day, some of us tackle 709m Mount Maria, a six-hour return journey, while others bike Maria’s unsealed vehicular tracks and briefly snorkel in the surrounding 1500ha marine reserve.

Day 6 – Mount Wellington

On Day 6, we ferry back to the mainland and continue south to Hobart. And by the time we reach Mt Wellington, even Steven doesn’t look that eager to make an ascent.

Inhaling the summit’s frigid air, we begin our descent through alpine landscapes, rainforest, and dry forest to the Old Cascade Brewery and the tour’s end.

It’s been a fun, rewarding, and exhausting week – my cheeks are windburned, my muscles feel well employed.

I have just enough energy left for one final activity before I fly home tomorrow to tick a few of these things to do in Hobart off my list.

Perhaps I’ll walk around downtown Hobart and choose a boutique beer to celebrate.

Tasmanian Expeditions

For more information about going on an organised adventure tour see Tasmanian Expeditions website here.

Where to stay in Tasmania

Accommodation before and after the tour isn’t included.

Check out hotels in Launceston here

Check out hotels in Hobart here

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Kara Murphy
I’m a travel photojournalist, based on Brisbane’s bayside in Queensland, Australia, and specialising in underwater and other outdoor adventures. Some of my favourite underwater experiences have happened close to home – on Moreton Bay and, a bit further north, on the southern Great Barrier Reef.You can find my work in publications such as ShowBoats International, Australian Geographic, Dockwalk, and Go Camping & 4WD Adventures, and I also create short videos for my YouTube channel. Awards 2014 winner Diver(s) category, Cairns Underwater Film Festival 2013 Australian Society of Travel Writers finalist for Best Australian Story Under 1000 Words