Cycle Tasmania, Road Ride, Tasman Peninsula
A constantly undulating ride around Tasmania’s ‘prison peninsula’, bouncing from coast to coast and passing Port Arthur, the penal settlement that has become the state’s most popular tourist attraction. There are plenty of hills and plenty of convict history throughout the ride.
Good sealed roads looping around the Tasman Peninsula, with the constant undulations adding up to a significant amount of climbing.
Light traffic for the bulk of the ride, with the flow picking up only over the final stretch from Port Arthur to Taranna, befitting Port Arthur’s status as the state’s most popular tourist site.
Taranna is around 90 kilometres from Hobart. Take the Tasman Highway to Sorell, turning onto the Arthur Highway through Dunalley and Eaglehawk Neck. Tassielink’s Hobart-Port Arthur bus service stops in Taranna.
Food and Drink
In the Port Arthur township, Eucalypt has good gourmet pizzas and a coffee menu as long as a wine list. If you need an earlier stop, try Nubeena Road Coffee Shop & Cafe, on the descent into Nubeena.
From Port Arthur township, it’s just a 700-metre diversion into the Port Arthur Historic Site, Australia’s most famous convict station.
This ride sets out from Taranna on the Arthur Highway, but quickly turns onto the quieter B37, crossing through the Sympathy Hills, where the short, sharp climbs will more likely show little sympathy for your legs. There are further climbs either side of tiny Koonya, and if you get the right roll on the final hill into the town you might just about test its 60kph speed limit. The climb out from Koonya leads to another rollicking descent into Premaydena, set on Impression Bay, where a convict probation station operated in the mid- 19th century. At low tide, the remains of a pier that serviced the station emerge from the sands of the bay.
If you have the time and energy, it’s a good ride west from Premaydena to the Coal Mines Historic Site, which was both a penal station and Tasmania’s first working mine; the 13-kilometre ride to the bush- enclosed site hugs the Norfolk Bay coast much of the way. At Premaydena the ride swings inland, rising to a beautiful rolling landscape of bush-smeared hill tops and pasture-carpeted slopes. At around 11.5 kilometres, the road cuts through a small stand of lovely, tall eucalypts for a closer look at the peninsula’s dwindling bush. Through the bush, the climb steepens briefly before a long, flowing descent into workaday Nubeena, the peninsula’s commercial hub.
The ride exits Nubeena along the shores of protected Parsons Bay before turning inland again through an apple orchard to begin the route’s toughest climb. The 12% ascent lasts less than a kilometre before easing back to a gentle climb over the next five kilometres. From the crest of the climb there’s a glimpse of the waters of Port Arthur - you’ll be there in no time because it’s steeply downhill from here. From Port Arthur the road back to Taranna follows the course of Australia’s first railway.
From its terminus on Norfolk Bay, convicts pushed supplies along the line to the Port Arthur penal settlement. It’s a lovely, rollercoaster run from Port Arthur to the water’s edge at Oakwood, where the ride flattens out briefly before burrowing through a final line of forested hills climbing 100 metres over two kilometres - back to Taranna.
37.66 km / 23.401 mi
718 m / 2,354 ft
717 m / 2,353 ft
184 m / 605 ft