On to the peninsula

(38 Kms)

Thursday, 18 Jan, 2018

Bicheno - Coles Bay

Surprisingly, we all slept well. Despite a full campsite, it was reasonably quiet, perhaps due to the large number of cabins dotted around the site. We had set the alarm for 7am, to give us time to breakfast and shop. Given the number of rules around the campsite, we were not game to leave too much later than the 10am checkout time. We decided that this was the most rule based camp we had visited. Simon had been kicked out of the camp kitchen at 10pm on the dot the night before. As the rules stated, the camp kitchen was only open until 10pm. There were also rules requiring that you bag your garbage and the full list was in the bathroom for all to see.

After breakfast, Jonno and I went off to do the shopping as we were not sure what would be available in Coles Bay. We knew that there was a small supermarket, and sought some local knowledge as to what to expect. We spoke to the tourist information centre, the butcher, the girl in the chemist and the checkout lady at the IGA. At the end of our research we were still not sure what to expect, as the opinions varied so widely. But we were ready. We had some choice cuts of meat from the butcher, who said that he had seen us on the road to Bicheno as we were cycling in yesterday. Georgia had a new hairbrush from the chemist, as her last one shattered into pieces, maybe due to too many corrugations during our dirt road riding. The bakery had an enormous range of goods, and we stocked up with a sourdough baguette for lunch, some fruit buns and bread rolls for our walk tomorrow, as well as some shortbread biscuits, for a tea stop.

Back at the campsite, we loaded everything into the pantry, our portable fridge, and the food bag, and were on the road by 10:30am. Today was an easy day, around 40 kilometres to Coles Bay. We met up at the turnoff to Coles Bay, and Simon and I spotted our first echidna. Jonno had already seen three, but Georgia has yet to sight one. Our next meeting point was to be Moulting Lagoon, but Georgia managed to get a puncture so Simon stopped to fix it. I headed on to let Jonno know, and he was waiting at the turnoff to Friendly Beaches. A car stopped and the couple in the front kindly let us know that if we were waiting for the other cyclists, that they were delayed due to a puncture.

The echidna heading for the bushes when we stopped to look at it

We headed onto our planned lunch spot, a beautiful lone picnic table at the edge of Moulting Lagoon. I left my bike parked at the entrance to help guide them in, after our experience yesterday when we missed the turnoff to Little Beach. Soon enough we were all gathered for a leisurely lunch, enjoying the tranquil views. We particularly enjoyed the sour dough baguette and lamented that it was just a bit too far back to Bicheno to pick up another one for tomorrow.

Heading into the Moulting Lagoon day use area

Boiling the trangias for tea and coffee with lunch

We met again at the turnoff to Swanwick, then continued on the last few kilometres to Coles Bay. We were riding into the wind for part of this, and combined with a few hills, made for a tough last few kilometres. On checking into the campsite, we found that this one too was fully booked. It was a big site, and we were curious to see the quality of the camp kitchens. They were pretty basic, and it was good that we had travelled with our full supply of pots and pans.

The basic camp kitchen we commandeered

Tents set up, we put on a load of washing and headed out to check out the grocery store, which had lots of variety, but was very basic. Given that we wouldn't use most of the contents of the store, we were pleased we had arrived with plenty of food. We continued on to the beach, which was beautiful. Georgia wasn't tempted to go for a swim, and discovered the limitations of using an electronic device on the beach. Fortunately, Turkish towels are very versatile. Jonno and I went for a swim, and the water was glorious. We will do our best to get Simon and Georgia in the water tomorrow.

Tents set up

Muirs Beach

Picnic Island off Muirs Beach

Turkish Towel Tee-Pee

Back at camp, we commandeered the table in the camp kitchen, and sorted out showers and washing. We also called the Freycinet Water Taxi, and were delighted to find that they could transport us and our bikes across the narrow stretch of river between Swanwick and Dolphin Sands. A distance of a metres, but saves us a cycle of close to 60 kilometres to Swansea including a big hill. Instead we will have a 12 kilometre meander along the foreshore.

We enjoyed our spaghetti bolognaise, making full use of our trangias and saucepans. Did I mention that the camp kitchens were basic? We have planned to do the 11 kilometre Wineglass Bay/Hazards beach circuit tomorrow, with a bonus 5 kilometres cycle to get to the start. So another early start.