Cycle Tasmania, Road Ride, Relbia & Evandale
Loop out from Launceston through one of the least known, but most attractive of Tasmania’s wine regions before climbing on to the country’s spiritual home of the penny farthing. There are plenty of small hills but great views, wine and food to compensate.
Good sealed roads through a succession of small hills intersected by the vine-draped Relbia valley.
Despite the direct nature of the ride, the roads are quiet across most of the route. Elphin Road gets its share of traffic but it’s negated by the presence of the bike lane.
City Park sits at the eastern edge of the Launceston city centre, just a few hundred metres from the mall.
Food and Drink
Pepik Cafe, inside Josef Chromy Wines, is all things to all people: cellar door, fine dining or simply coffee and cakes on the lawns. In Evandale, the penny farthing propped outside The Muse Coffee Bar should be temptation enough.
If you’re pedalling in February, think about timing your ride to coincide with the Evandale Village Fair, which features the National Penny Farthing Championships.
This ride exits Launceston on Elphin Road, along the city’s first dedicated bike lane, rolling south through the leafy suburbs. Past the South Oakburn College’s Penquite campus there’s a roaring descent into a small gully, though you’ll pay for it on the climb back out. Glenwood Road trails along beside a railway, climbing through a low line of hills in a lovely rural setting. Near the top of the climb, Sharmans Fine Wines marks your arrival at the edge of the Relbia wine region - here, too, the multiuse, dirt Glenwood Trail begins beside the road, running eventually into Relbia, though the lightly trafficked road offers a better ride.
After around 11km you’ll pop out onto a hilltop, from where the hillsides ahead can be seen covered in vines; this Burgundy-like landscape is Relbia and in such a setting, the French-style gardens at Josef Chromy Wines, right beside the road, should come as no surprise. The ride through Relbia’s valley is sheer delight, with the undulating road cupped by low, vine-furrowed hills. Ben Lomond, Tasmania’s second-highest mountain, looms beyond to the east.
At the White Hills Road junction, there’s the option to shorten the ride by almost 14 kilometres by turning left and swinging back to Launceston (pick up the ride log at 29.8 kilometres), but it’s worth riding on to Evandale, even if only to celebrate the heritage-listed town’s obsession with the big bertha of cycling: the penny farthing. Even the town centrepiece is a bronze sculpture of a penny farthing and its rider (and dog). It’s a hilly run into town but a cruisey spin back out, returning to White Hills Road. Here, beside the abandoned farmhouse, the ride turns east, where the gradient quickly makes clear how the road earned its name.
Heading back towards Launceston on the C401 there are views back across to the Relbia vineyards before the road drops down to the North Esk River, forming here a beautiful rocky gorge. The ride crosses the North Esk River again - wider, browner and less attractive now - as it re-enters Launceston, joining up once more with the Elphin Road bike lane to finish back beside City Park.
46.757 km / 29.053 mi
572 m / 1,877 ft
571 m / 1,874 ft
177 m / 581 ft