Cycle Tasmania, Sightseeing Ride, Mt Roland & Promised Land
Scenically, this ride has a bit of everything: one of Tasmania’s most striking peaks, pockets of rainforest, swathes of farmland, even the world’s largest maze. As you ride through beautiful pasture laid out before the awesome backdrop of Mt Roland it should quickly become apparent why the towns have names like Promised Land and Paradise.
Good sealed roads, descending first into a valley along the foot of rugged Mt Roland, followed by a hilltop return above Lake Barrington into Sheffield.
The first half of the ride sees a reasonable flow of tourist traffic as it’s part of the main route to Cradle Mountain from Launceston and Devonport. The return across the hilltops is quiet.
Sheffield is around 30 kilometres south of Devonport; take the B14 through Spreyton. From Launceston, take Bass Highway to Elizabeth Town, turning onto the B13. It’s about 12 kilometres from here to Kimberley, where you turn left onto the C157 for the final 15 kilometres into Sheffield. Tassielink’s Launceston- Strahan bus service stops in Sheffield.
Food and Drink
Tazmazia’s Pancake Parlour has an exhaustive menu of pancakes, plus coffee, hot chocolate and spiders.
The turn-off to the walking track to the summit of Mt Roland is in Gowrie Park, immediately past the O’Neill’s Creek crossing.
The ride begins in the centre of Sheffield, and even as you leave town, 1234-metre Mt Roland immediately dominates the view. The C136 descends through farmland towards the foot of the mountain with its ruffled escarpment, crossing the Dasher River. From here the road continues to trend downhill through the tiny township of Claude Road, so you can enjoy the ride’s best views in relative ease, with the dolerite incisors of Mt Roland’s escarpment rising above.
On the other side of the road, the Kentish Hills slowly close in across the valley; your return route is across the top of these low hills. The C136 finally rolls down into Gowrie Park, a town created in the 1960s for construction workers on the Mersey Forth hydroelectric development. Little remains, with most of the town carted away at the end of the job. What’s here still resembles a company town, though there’s no faulting the location. At the entrance to town there’s a lovely picnic (and camping) area on the banks of O’Neill’s Creek, in view of Mt Roland. Past Gowrie Park the farmland is quickly a memory as the road heads into the scrub and occasional buttongrass of Mt Roland Regional Reserve.
The ride enters its hilliest stage either side of the Staverton Road turning, climbing into the Kentish Hills, where the beauty of the forest and the birdsong should be ample compensation for the exertion. Cresting the hills after about two kilometres, Staverton Road undulates along the farmed hilltops to the small town of Promised Land and Tazmazia, billed as the world’s largest maze. The road to the left here drops down to dammed Lake Barrington and an international rowing course, but it’s quite a climb back out (about 300 metres) if you do make the detour.
If Promised Land has you in the mood for collecting unusual place names, you can turn right onto the C143 at around 35.5 kilometres, taking the slightly longer route into Sheffield through Nowhere Else. Otherwise, the ride descends through rural Roland, where the old railway-siding mural reminds you that you’re again nearing Sheffield, Tasmania’s town of murals. It’s pretty much all downhill from here, with just one climb a short way beyond West Kentish as an interruption.
40.674 km / 25.274 mi
624 m / 2,048 ft
624 m / 2,047 ft
572 m / 1,876 ft