Monday, October 1, 2012

Ulverstone to Turner's Beach

On an early Autumn day, Ginger and I laboriously transported the Pashley along with his Schwinn and formally introduced ourselves to the Ulverstone to Turners Beach cycle path. Immediately we discovered that this was a cycle route beyond our most bucolic dreams.

The most picturesque cow's arse you will ever behold.

The 'official' path starts at Buttons Beach and runs through to Turners beach - this is the section on which you are completely shielded from cars and it goes for an all too brief 8-ish kms. Though Bass Highway and its suicide cycle lane run parallel, you'd have to be mad or mad and in training to choose battling trucks over the blissfully smooth, direct and civilised journey offered by the Ulverstone/Turners path. Set well back from the highway for the most part, the path sits quietly amongst pastoral land, allowing you to forget that Tasmania's main road is actually quite close by.

The ocean is ever present to the North as you cycle, peeking out from behind bush covered dunes, winking in the sun just beyond a field fence and glittering through gaps created by little boardwalk entrances to beaches. The combination of sea and countryside interwoven is genuinely cheering to the soul. You cannot cycle on this path in fine weather and be miserable.

Ginger with concrete, bicycles.

There are sights to see (You cycle past a miniature railway!) and a different landscape each season. On our first jaunt in Autumn we paused to admire a small creek and lush pasture whereupon this horse galloped up at speed, eager to greet us.

The horse was so enthusiastic about our stopping, we came to the conclusion that he too enjoys the mixed use path because some people have probably been bringing him treats. He was particularly excited about my camera bag and very disappointed when I produced an inedible camera though he was kind enough to pose with the Pashley despite my lack of treats. I think the resulting photos really emphasise the classic 'town and country' looks of the Pashley. We promised him carrots on our next visit.

When not passing farms, the Ulverstone/Turners path nips out to circumnavigate a holiday camp site and nudge Bass Highway. Though it never actually touches Bass, it does cross the holiday camp driveway and this is the time you must be wary of traffic. Fortunately, it is well sign-posted and gives you plenty of warning.

Many mammals in Fat-bottomed contemplation.

The path ends where the railway line meets the town of Turners Beach, thereafter if you continue you are relegated to some of the roughest road surface ever tolerated in the gentle streets of suburbia. Your jolting skeleton will find that the road shoulder is actually the roughest part, with a clear and spitefully visible demarcation between surface for cars down the centre and surface for everyone else. The slightly more tolerable road mocks you from your bumpy place in the designated bike zone but as we discovered on our first trip, it's worth the skull rattling. Only a kilometre or so later you arrive at a café, ice-cream and gift shop directly opposite the beach at Turners. This popular spot is a pleasant interlude before the return journey and a walk on the beach is recommended. There is no official bicycle parking but there are plenty of poles to lock up against and alfresco seating if you are feeling separation anxiety.

After a few autumn rides we've since ridden the path semi-regularly, noting the changing light and landscape. Now that spring has really sprung, I look forward to seeing what else this delightful diversion has to offer. Even it's just more cow behinds.