With the Tassie Trail Fest behind me, it was time to head further east to the coast and sneak in a bit of exploring. First stop was Binalong Bay. A few years back this was described as one of the “hottest” spots to visit by Lonely Planet, and about forty seconds after getting there I could see why. (Although it was anything but hot when I arrived!) Sand so white even Donald Trump wouldn’t have any excuse to discriminate, and water so blue it was second only to my toilet bowl after loading it up with some Toilet Duck. Unfortunately it wasn’t exactly beach weather while I was there so there was no swimming on the agenda, but I did go for a nice long walk, climb on some rocks, get some ridiculously fine white sand in my shoes, and take some pictures of me staring meaningfully off into the distance for my Instagram account.
After that I worked my way down towards Freycinet and stopped at the nearby town of Swansea for the night. Having stayed in the Bates Motel in Derby for three nights, the Swansea Motor Inn was basically like the Ritz Carlton. Double bed. Bathroom. No bird shit on the carpet. No vomit in the bin. OK, to be fair, that last bit was my fault at the last place – if you missed that story feel free to read it in all it’s glory right here.
Anyway, the hotel, was pretty plush by comparison. And the Salt Shaker cafe down the road was pretty epic too. To celebrate my awesome hotel room I ordered basically one of everything from the menu and dug in. There was oysters, seafood chowder and scallop pie. If you’re ever in the neighborhood. it’s well worth a visit. Tell them Sputnik sent you. They won’t have any idea who I am, but it would be an awesome thing to do anyway.
The next day I headed down to Freycinet – for those of you as stupid as me, it’s not actually pronounced Fray-see-net. But Fray-see-nay. It’s French. Or something. Whatever. I went there. The jewel in the crown there is a place called Wineglass Bay. Cause it’s kind of curved. Like a wine glass. I suppose. I plotted a bit of a loop run that I was guessing would be about 11 or 12kms. Out to the left, check out Wineglass Bay, then cross over through the bush to the other side of the peninsula to Hazard’s Bay, and back again. How hard could it be? If you’re a decent runner who didn’t run/crawl a 45 km trail marathon a few days earlier, probably not that difficult at all. If you’re a bit overweight, quite a bit out of shape, and coming off a 7.5hr trail marathon combined with a marathon 12 hour spewing effort, a little more difficult than I may have expected. I’m also ridiculously scared of snakes, so some of the single track sketched me out a bit. I tried telling myself there were enough people around to have scared them off. But the truth is there weren’t that many people around. And Tiger Snakes aren’t that easily scared off anyway. So I spent half the time fairly convinced I was going to be bitten by a snake and die a slow and painful death alone in the bush in a place with a fancy french name.
Turns out none of that happened, which you’ve probably guessed by now. And instead I completed my loop. Had a Gatorade, didn’t spew, then drove up to the Tourville Lighthouse to check out the trail there – one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. In this case, really short as it was only 600m. The weather was rolling in by this point and although I was, as always, wearing my awesome ioMerino clothing to keep me warm, I decided I was ready to put my feet up so I headed back to Coles Bay, met up with Chris and Simon from Adventure Types (who’d arranged the Tassie Trail Fest) and Flix the Freak. OK, that’s not his real name, but this is a guy who rode his bike 400kms from Hobart up to the Trail Fest, helped set everything up, then went out and ran the marathon. And won it. So yeah, he’s a bit of a freak. Lovely bloke though, and an epic runner. Obviously. We met up at a local cafe where I ate a bowl of hot chips. And they didn’t. Which probably explains why they’re all quite fit looking. And I’m not.
Then it was back to the Swansea Ritz Carlton for another awesome sleep. The novelty of being in a clean bed and not feeling like I’d smoked a carton of cigarettes by the time I woke up in the morning hadn’t yet worn off – and neither had the stink from three days in the Ashtray Hotel. That night I decided against another indulgent feast and instead tucked into a smorgasbord of left over bits and pieces I’d bought for the trip. When I do a road trip, I have a bad habit of hitting the local supermarket when I first arrive and buying enough food for 18 people. For about four months. So that night I chowed down on a combo of baked beans, salt and vinegar chips, bread rolls and an assortment of other snacks, all washed down by a couple of cans of Mike Tyson ‘Black Energy’ drink I’d found on special at the Reject Shop. I’m not entirely sure calling it ‘Black Energy’ is entirely PC, but I sure as shit won’t be telling Mike that cause I doubt very much he’s all ears. And apparently it’s Poland’s best selling energy drink. Seriously.
On the last day I drove back to Launceston Airport with a minor diversion to Cataract Gorge – just outside of the city. It reminds me quite a bit of Morialta in my own home town, and I’m sure if I lived there, (in Launceston, not the Gorge), I’d probably go running there all the time. I did one of the more modest walks, checked out some of the old historical buildings, then chickened out of doing the full loop through Snake Gully, because it was called Snake Gully and my guess is if they’re using the same amount of imagination they did when naming Wineglass Bay, there’s a fair chance there’s a shit load of snakes in Snake Gully and my interest in seeing any of them was whatever’s less than zero. So I did a cheeky little out and back then drove to the airport, getting their nice and early. Too early as it turns out as Launceston Airport isn’t exactly a thriving metropolis and I had to wait an hour to check in. I suppose I could have gone and sat at one of the fine food and beverage establishments to kill the time, but since there weren’t any, I flogged a spare wheelchair instead and sat in that instead.
And that, my friends, was my Tassie Trail Fest adventure.