Tasmania - Day 16 - Bicheno to St. Helens
- Distance 74.9km
- Max Elevation 62m
Tasmania - Bicheno to St. Helens Ride Profile
The Tasmania rain and wind prevented us from getting much sleep. Having packed the wet tent we put on our full rain gear and set off for "the best cycle ride in Australia" according to the author of the Tasmania Giro tour. Well today it wasn’t. Low clouds blocked the views and strong cold southerly winds buffeted us constantly although most of the time they were at our tails. It wouldn’t be true to say it poured with rain all day, it did slow to a drizzle at least twice. We just put our heads down and turned the pedals, the rain pouring down our faces and dripping off our noses.
About 25km from St Helens we met a couple of cycle tourists battling towards us into the headwind and we were glad we were going north. At Scamander, the first town for 58km, we had to stop to get warm. We were both soaked to the skin despite our waterproofs and sat and steamed while eating fish and chips and drinking mugs of hot coffee. A local lady told us that the weather would get worse and that we shouldn’t try to ride any further but catch the bus to Launceston.
Arriving at last in St Helens we found the nearest backpackers and went to book in. reception wasn’t open until 4pm but another guest let us in to shelter. We got an en-suite double room with a BATH and filled it to the brim with boiling hot water to thaw out. There was no heating in the hostel so the wet gear just got spread around the bathroom to dry.
The next morning the rain was still pouring down so we decided to stay put, get Steve an appointment at the dentist to fix his broken cap, and book a ticket on the bus to Launceston the following day.
Steve’s appointment was at 2pm and by then the rain was even more intense. By 3pm the main road had disappeared under 6 inches of water, the hostel was like an island in a lake of water and the Tasmania fire-brigade had arrived to start pumping the water out of the flooded building opposite. Steve meanwhile had had to have his tooth root extracted and then wade back through a foot of water along the street. The hostel owner was getting very anxious as the flood was expected to get worse at high tide, due in 3 hours.
Luckily the rain abated soon after and the water level quickly receded. Our wet gear wasn’t drying so we asked for an electric heater which speeded things up.
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