Cycle Tasmania, Road Ride, Table Cape
Circuit an ancient volcano, passing through rich farmland and, in season, a palette of tulips. The climbs are short but steep and the roads are narrow but the views are wide.
Narrow sealed roads, climbing constantly to the rim of Table Cape before rounding the peninsula for a freewheeling highway descent back into Wynyard.
The sealed roads around the cape are narrow but largely limited to farm and tourist traffic, which ramps up during summer holidays and the spring tulip season. Almost five kilometres of the ride is on the busy Bass Highway, though there’s a decent verge.
The ride begins in the centre of Wynyard, 20 kilometres west of Burnie along the Bass Highway. Redline’s bus service between Burnie and Smithton stops in Wynyard.
Food and Drink
There are plenty of eating options along Goldie Street, right by the start of the ride.
There are two good detours along this route: glaciercarved Fossil Bluff, which is rich in fossils; and the Table Cape Lighthouse. The latter is reached on a dirt road.
From the centre of Wynyard it’s a flat roll out of town to the Inglis River. Savour the moment because there are some steep pinches ahead in the 180-metre climb to the rim of Table Cape. The turn-off to Fossil Bluff is immediately past the bridge over the river, and if you’re planning to take this detour, check the tide times because you can only pick around the base of the bluff to fully appreciate the fossils at low tide.
The climbing starts about 500 metres beyond the bridge, ascending in two energy-sapping steps. The most striking thing here, apart from your heart rate, is the rich red soil that speaks of the cape’s volcanic origins. At the top of the two climbs, the gradient eases back to ascend more gently to the crest of the ridge, turning up it to meet Lighthouse Road, where the third, final and toughest climb begins. Near the top of the climb you’ll pass the entrance to the Table Cape Tulip Farm, its flowers blooming each spring into one of Tassie’s postcard images: stripes of colour laid out below the Table Cape lighthouse.
If you’re here in October, check to see if your ride coincides with the Bloomin’ Tulips Festival. Past the tulip farm, the road ends at the Table Cape lookout, high above Bass Strait. From here there are views east past Wynyard and Burnie to the distant Asbestos Range, and west to the 25-metre-high lighthouse just around the cape. If you want to walk to the lighthouse, there’s a track along the cliff edge; the walk takes around 10 minutes. From the lookout, return to the Tollymore Road junction, turning west here and continuing across the cape.
This road threads through a continuing patchwork of fields and then along the cliff edge, descending as a general rule, before a short climb to a roadside lookout with views west to straggly Rocky Cape (the Nut at Stanley is visible through the low gap near the end of the cape). The road turns inland here to meet the Bass Highway. What this highway lacks in coastal scenery it compensates for in a lovely long descent to the Inglis River. Just over the river it turns back into Wynyard.
20.088 km / 12.482 mi
301 m / 987 ft
301 m / 987 ft
172 m / 564 ft