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.
Sealed roads along rolling coastal hills with a small range crossing on the return to Dover.
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.
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.
Drop down to the coast at Surveyors Bay and enjoy some beach time.
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 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.
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.
34.937 km / 21.709 mi
737 m / 2,417 ft
736 m / 2,416 ft
197 m / 646 ft