Cycle Tasmania, Road Ride, Pirates Bay

A feature-packed short ride around and above the dramatic Pirates Bay coastline, branching out from both ends of the Eaglehawk Neck isthmus. The route can be broken into a pair of shorter rides if you fancy a couple of lazy days in the saddle.

Terrain

Good sealed roads with steady climbs (and descents) either side of the flat Eaglehawk Neck isthmus.

Traffic

Holiday and weekend traffic on the Arthur Highway can be thick, though time spent on the highway is short...and quick, thanks to the tearaway downhill. The side roads that make up the bulk of the ride see an un- troubling amount of tourist traffic.

Access

Eaglehawk Neck is around 75 kilometres from Hobart along the Tasman and Arthur Highways. Tassielink’s Hobart-Port Arthur bus service stops at Eaglehawk Neck.

Food and Drink

At the southern end of the Eaglehawk Neck isthmus, a couple of hundred metres from the ride, Eaglehawk Neck Café and Guesthouse has lingering breakfasts, decent game burgers at lunch and fantastic iced chocolates.

Side Trip

In Doo Town, continue straight ahead instead of turning towards Tasmans Arch and it’s a 600-metre ride out to the Blowhole, which fires into action in high seas

 

More Details

North of the Isthmus

The ride begins at the Officers Quarters, a military station set up on the Eaglehawk Neck isthmus to prevent prisoners escaping from Port Arthur; all that remains today on the grassy reserve are a few wooden buildings. It’s a gentle climb out from the Officers’ Quarters to the Lufra Hotel and the car park for the curious Tessellated Pavement, a rock shelf cut into unnaturally perfect squares - if you’ve brought a bike lock it’s about a 10-minute walk to the pavement.

Past the hotel the road dips through a couple of gullies then begins a sustained climb to the Tasman National Park Lookout - the climb isn’t steep but it is constant for about 2.5 kilometres. The lookout offers a heady view over the treetops to Pirates Bay and Cape Hauy, with its sea stacks lined up like matrioshka dolls - tucked around the corner is the famous Totem Pole, scene of so many epic rock-climbing photos.

The rocky headland you can see at the southern tip of Pirates Bay is your next destination. Just beyond the lookout, Pirates Bay Drive meets the Arthur Highway. Turn left, where it’s a freefall back to Eaglehawk Neck, the thread of sand that was once one of the world’s most effective prison ‘walls’. The statue of a guard dog at its centre marks the point where 18 dogs stood in a line across the 30-metre-wide isthmus to prevent convicts escaping the peninsula.

South of the Isthmus

Cross the isthmus and turn immediately left onto Blowhole Road. At Penzance, little penguins shuffle ashore each night, and if it seems quirky to have a place named Penzance on Pirates Bay, wait until you hit Doo Town.

In this shack-filled village, almost every home is named to a theme: Doo Mee, Love-Me-Doo, Doo-N-Time. The ride’s steepest climb is reserved for the end as the road nips shortly and sharply up to Tasmans Arch, a collapsed sea cave with a high and wide opening to the sea. There’s a short walk out to a similar feature at Devil’s Kitchen. Return through Doo Town and along the bay, recrossing the isthmus to the Officers’ Quarters.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Begin at the Officers Quarters car park at the northern end of the Eaglehawk Neck isthmus and ride north (uphill) on Pirates Bay Dr.
  • 0.6 Pass the Tessellated Pavement car park, opposite the Lufra Hotel.
  • 3.7 Ride through the car park at the Tasman National Park Lookout.
  • 4.5 Turn left onto Arthur Hwy (A9) and roll quickly downhill back towards Eaglehawk Neck.
  • 7.2 Cross the Eaglehawk Neck isthmus.
  • 7.5 Turn left into Blowhole Rd (C338).
  • 10.6 In Doo Town, turn right onto the C338, signposted to Tasmans Arch.
  • 11.5 Turn around at Tasmans Arch and return towards Doo Town.
  • 12.4 Turn left onto Blowhole Rd in Doo Town.
  • 15.5 Turn right on the Arthur Hwy and recross the isthmus.
  • 16.2 Turn right onto Pirates Bay Dr, ending the ride back at the Officers Quarters car park a few metres ahead.
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    16.133 km / 10.024 mi

    Total Distance

    407 m / 1,337 ft

    Total Ascent

    408 m / 1,339 ft

    Total Descent

    195 m / 641 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 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: 16.2
    Elevation Gain: 350
    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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