Cycle Tasmania, Road Ride, Esperance Coast

Taking its name from the same French fleet that christened much of southern Western Australia, this undulating slice of coast passes the mouth of the Huon River and offers good views of Bruny Island and stretches of Tasmania’s southernmost shores. The return ride cuts through an attractive hinterland, amid farms boxed in by dense forest.

Terrain

Sealed roads along rolling coastal hills with a small range crossing on the return to Dover.

Traffic

Light traffic along the Esperance Coast Rd, with heavier tourist traffic on the Huon Highway. A good time to ride is late afternoon, with most visitors heading south (your direction) on the highway in the morning and re- turning north late in the day.

Access

Dover is 80km south of Hobart on the Huon Highway (A6). Tassielink’s Huon Valley bus service stops at Dover.

Food and Drink

In Dover, the Gingerbread House bakery/cafe has coffee and cakes and its worth checking if the lentil soup is on. Along the ride, 100 metres past the turning onto the Huon Highway, there’s a well-stocked fruit stand with farm-fresh produce.

Side Trip

Drop down to the coast at Surveyors Bay and enjoy some beach time.

 

More Details

The first 200 metres of the ride is on smooth dirt road, with the remainder on sealed roads, but if you prefer to avoid the dirt altogether, begin along Station Road from the wharf and turn right down Kent Beach Road. The beautiful curve of Kent Beach – the white sands of Dover, if you like – lines the inside of Port Esperance for around two kilometres, the road finally leaving the beach beside a low set of cliffs. Look back west and you’ll see the twin pyramids of Adamsons Peak, the area’s most prominent mountain, rising behind Dover.

The Coast

The climb out from the bay is gentle at first, slowly steepening as it rises above the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, its waters freckled with salmon farms. From here it’s a rollercoaster run along the coast, skirting Roaring Beach and contouring above the striking green waters of cliff-bound Surveyors Bay. After a dive-bombing descent back to the coast, the road trails along beside the rocky shores, rising and falling (the climbs are getting smaller, at least), turning imperceptibly away from the channel and into the mouth of the Huon – you are now cycling upstream. Across a fire-scarred headland, the next descent bottoms out beside an old wooden boathouse at Brooks Bay, a small nick in the coast where, at low tide, boats lay marooned on the rippled sands. Here, after 18 kilometres of shore-hugging road, the road turns off the coast for the final time, climbing easily to the Huon Highway, which it meets at Surges Bay a few hundred metres after passing the hall and oval.

The Hinterland

If you don’t fancy riding on the highway (even though it’s a highway in name only) you can retrace the route back to Dover along Esperance Coast Road, but the inland route adds a new dimension to the ride, climbing through thickening forest to rural Glendevie, near the head of a valley. The ascent continues through farmland for another 1.7 kilometres, with a glimpse down to the distant docks at Port Huon just before you re-enter forest. From the top of the climb, you can just about freewheel back to Dover, following the highway as it wriggles through a gully towards town.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Starting at the Dover wharf, head north along the Esplanade (dirt road).
  • 0.2 Turn right onto sealed Kent Beach Rd, crossing the stream.
  • 2.3 Cross the wooden bridge – watch the gaps between the planks.
  • 3.1 Veer left onto Esperance Coast Rd, turning away from the coast and beginning to climb.
  • 11.2 Descend to the coast through a cutting.
  • 13.3 Road turns inland and begins to climb again.
  • 16.2 The road swings through the tiny cove at Desolation Bay.
  • 18.2 Descend to the smattering of homes on Brooks Bay.
  • 21.9 After climbing out from the coast turn left onto the Huon Highway (A6).
  • 24.5 Climb through the small town of Glendevie.
  • 26.2 The ride’s longest climb tops out at around 220 metres above sea level.
  • 33.6 In Dover, veer left down Station Rd (past the BP service station), rolling down towards the wharf.
  • 34.5 End the ride back at the Dover wharf.
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    34.937 km / 21.709 mi

    Total Distance

    737 m / 2,417 ft

    Total Ascent

    736 m / 2,416 ft

    Total Descent

    197 m / 646 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    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: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 34.5
    Elevation Gain: 650
    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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