Cycle Tasmania, Mountain Bike Ride, Arm End Ride

A rugged but scenic lap around the hook-shaped point at Arm End, following a dedicated bike track between South Arm and Opossum Bay, then heading out into Arm End Nature Recreation Area on sandy, overgrown tracks above postcard bays and coast.

Terrain

Smooth dirt track to Opossum Bay, followed by bumpy, sandy and faint tracks through Arm End Nature Recreation Area.

Traffic

A quiet road stretch in Opossum Bay and little- used tracks along South Arm Road and in Arm End Recreation Area.

Access

From Hobart, head across Tasman Bridge and turn onto the South Arm Hwy (the second exit after the bridge). Follow this road through Lauderdale to South Arm, around 35 kilometres by road from Hobart.

Food and Drink

A couple of hundred metres from the start of the ride, the Iron Pot Coffee Lounge is nothing to look at but has gourmet ambitions within. Coffee, Devonshire teas and Tasmanian wines and cheese are available Thursday to Sunday. The Opossum Bay Store has basic takeaways.

Side Trip

Venture down onto the sands of Opossum Bay, where the crowd of homes epitomise beachfront living - it’s a scene more reminiscent of the Aegean than Tasmania. There are two beach access points on Spitfarm Road.

 

More Details

South Arm to Opossum Bay Less than 20 direct kilometres from Hobart, South Arm somehow retains the salty air of a hideaway fishing village. Four kilometres up the coast is ritzier Opossum Bay - in 2001, local volunteers constructed a foot/bike track between the two. This track, which weaves through roadside vegetation beside South Arm Road and past the 1892 St Barnabas Church, makes up the early part of this ride.

Past Balemo Street, the track ascends to a roadside lookout with good views back over Half Moon Bay to South Arm, ahead to Mt Wellington, and directly through the D’Entrecasteaux Channel between Tinderbox and Bruny Island. The track continues rising slowly past the lookout before rolling down into Opossum Bay - as you enter town, look for the noticeboard explaining some of the features you’ve passed along the track.

Arm End Civilisation ends on Spitfarm Road, where the ride enters the grassy Arm End Nature Recreation Area. The track here starts out sandy - watch also for rabbit burrows - but firms after a few hundred metres as it shrinks to no more than a pair of bumpy wheel tracks. Rounding White Rock Point, the site of a transmitting station, you’ll be able see Hobart’s Tasman Bridge away in the distance. From here it’s one continual view as you hug the coast above Mary Ann Bay to Gellibrand Point, the track getting fainter and more overgrown all the time - after climbing the obvious steep hill, just stay as close as possible to the coast.

Nearing the northern end of Mary Ann Bay, look below the track, in the dunes, for the grave of William Gellibrand, the area’s original settler. At the northern end of Mary Ann Bay the track climbs close to the cliff edge, so it’s probably wise to push your bike these few metres. Rounding Gellibrand Point, you turn back south, looking deep now into Ralphs Bay. The spit just around the point is a bird breeding habitat, so please keep out.

On the peninsula’s gentler eastern side, the track curls around the appropriately named Shelly Beach to a wooden gateway (where you turn inland). If you wander down onto the beach here, you’ll see an Aboriginal midden beside the gateway.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 The ride starts beside South Arm Rd in South Arm, at the entrance to the Calverton Hall opposite Jetty Rd. Ride north along the gravel South Arm Peninsula Trail.
  • 1.8 Crossing Bezzants Rd, the bike track switches to the opposite side of South Arm Rd.
  • 2.2 At a roadside pullout, the track veers left away (briefly) from South Arm Rd.
  • 2.6 Cross over Jervis St, Algona St and Balemo St, continuing straight ahead on the bike track and beginning a small climb.
  • 3.1 Pass a roadside lookout with views to Mt Wellington, South Arm and Bruny Island.
  • 4.4 The bike track ends by the Opossum Bay Store. Swing out on the road and ride straight ahead along Spitfarm Rd.
  • 5.7 At the end of Spitfarm Rd, cross through the entrance gate into Arm End Nature Recreation Area, turning immediately left onto a sandy track.
  • 7.0 Pass the transmitting station on White Rock Point, continuing north along the low cliffs above Mary Ann Bay.
  • 9.3 Round Gellibrand Point and begin back south towards Opossum Bay.
  • 11.5 A few metres before a wooden gateway, turn right onto a small track heading back towards the recreation area entrance.
  • 11.8 Cross through the entrance gate and ride south along Spitfarm Rd.
  • 13.2 By the Opossum Bay Store, rejoin the South Arm Peninsula Trail beside South Arm Rd.
  • 14.8 Cross Balemo St, Algona St and Jervis St, riding straight ahead on the bike track.
  • 15.7 The bike track switches to the opposite side of South Arm Rd.
  • 17.5 Finish the ride back at the trailhead beside the South Arm Calverton Hall.
  • Trail map

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    17.455 km / 10.846 mi

    Total Distance

    231 m / 757 ft

    Total Ascent

    231 m / 757 ft

    Total Descent

    47 m / 153 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    MTB Segment: flow
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 17.5
    Elevation Gain: 300
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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