Tasmanian Tour 9th - 16th of February 2010

and filed under:
Z-car line up in Tasmania

The Bi-annual Trip to Tassie was on again this year with 9 people and 8 cars participating on this great trip across the Tasman sea. Organised by fellow club member Craig (620Z), get the full review on this awesome road trip of some of Australia's best roads on offer.

9th Feb Tuesday

As usual we all met up out the front of the Tassie boat wharf on a lovely fine evening where shorts and T-shirts were the norm. We were the last cars on and no queue for a change so we drove straight on. We unloaded our gear into the rooms and headed for the rear bar for a few drinks and a chat about what we could expect over the next week.

10th Feb Wednesday

We awoke to a cool morning and disembarked from the boat after a smooth trip across the Tasman. We congregated at McDonalds virtually opposite the Tassie boat for some breakfast and a quick look at the map. You could see everyone was keen to get going to our destination being Stanley, so a few happy snaps and we were off down the highway.

We knew it was only a short drive today, maybe 1.5 hours on major roads so we just coasted along until we arrived at the sea side town of Stanley around 11am. We booked into our Cabins and decided to kill some time and continue our drive (some 65klms) along the West Coast roads for a look around. We went though one country town where the roads were blocked off and detours ensured we took a wrong turn unbeknown to us.

So we happily drove down this road for some time with little or no traffic on it so we were able to hook in a little. What an awesome drive, we all had a ball. Then all of a sudden it turned to a dirt road after about 40klms so we decided to do a "U" turn and return to our base in Stanley.

We got a quick bite to eat and decided to climb “The Nut” a massive rocky mountain towering over the small town below. 2 slackers decided to take the chairlift and the rest of us took up the challenge to climb the rock on foot. Plenty of pictures, a walk around the top and down a gain an hour or so later. We walked to the local Pub for a sensational dinner and retired early that night.

11th Feb Thursday

We woke to see "The Nut" half covered in cloud and drove out of Stanley the back way for some photo sessions by the beach and some old ruins.

Some good shots by all I must say. Shortly out of town we had T’d up with a local Zed fan Hodgo and stopped at his place to check out his collection of Datsuns. Bit of a chat and a look around the barn’s containing his pride and joys and we were off again.

We drove through one of the Targa stages at Hellier George in damp conditions and then on to Cradle Mountain. As usual the roads didn’t disappoint. We managed to cruise these roads at an enjoyable pace with a number of stops along the way. We arrived at our accommodation early afternoon where we checked in. Wombats and possums were a plenty, hanging around our wooden huts.

Soon after the ritualistic washing of the cars the heavens opened up so it was decided a quiet afternoon of drinking/eating and a lot of chat was in order. Later we headed in to Cradle Mountain lodge for another great meal before calling it a day.

12th Feb Friday

Awaking to a nice fine day with glimps’s of sun and not too cold we decided we would walk around the lake at Cradle Mountain. As usual there were plenty of photo opportunities along the great board walk with the sun regularly shining through the clouds.

With our daily exercise complete, we were keen to get going, so we skipped lunch and headed out onto the open roads around 12.00 with our destination being Strahan. As usual the dry roads were awesome and we cruised into town a few hours later.

By this time we were all worn out so some snacks in the room whilst watching the Cricket was the order of the day. Oh and some car washing. That night we walked to the Pub for yet another sensational meal.

13th Saturday

Early rise and a quick bite to eat before a big day of driving to Hobart. We stopped at Queenstown along the way and did the usual videoing, up the hill this time.

As usual plenty of windy roads before opening up as we cruised the final leg into Hobart. Booked in, dumped the cars and had a quick walk around Salamanca Market. Few beers out the front of a Pub and dinner around the same area later on. We kicked on at the usual Irish Pub till the early hours of the morning for some of us. Man my ears were ringing for half the next day from the loud band. But it was a good night.

14th Sunday

Well there is a long and a short version here. Basically I made a call in the morning to confirm everything for the Eco tour where I was told by the tour operator, "Oh you would need to have left Hobart 20minutes ago to make the ferry to Brunei Island." Well we all went into a frenzy and jumped into our cars. We contacted Dave who was at a Car wash, Evan was out as well.

So 20 phone calls later, lots of chat on the 2-ways not to mention a bit of swearing and we made it with 5 minutes to spare. OK this “ECO” tour was absolutely fantastic. Way better than I expected. We jump in a boat with 3x300HP motors and head out to sea. The sights were truly amazing with massive cliff faces, rocky blow holes, one tunnel we could ride through and massive 300 meter cliff faces.

Then there was the seal colony. I am a surfer so I thought this would be a little ho hum! But I was mistaken. There were 100's & 100's of them everywhere. In the water and hanging out on the rocky ledges. You really got up close and personal on this trip.

Often only a few feet from seals and rock faces. A truly memorable trip. Arrived back at accommodation buggered and meet up with a local Zed fan Jason. Where we had a chat and he checked out a few of the cars. Then out for another awesome meal. We never had a bad one. Sunday night was quiet in town and since we were all tired it was an early night.

15th Monday

9am start was the call for another great drive to White Sands Resort. Along the way we stopped at Bicheno for the mandatory photo op by the beach. Upon arriving at the magnificent White Sands we got changed into the togs and hit the beach in perfect sunny weather.

I had a great swim on this secluded beach along with others from our group. I was probably in the water for 30 minute with fish swimming around us and perfect waves for body surfing. Bit of a rest on the beach and later in the rooms, mandatory wash of the cars then saw us head down to the on site Restaurant. Not a bad meal although some would say more quality than quantity hey Dave. Ha Ha. Dave went home hungry.

Well Maybe we were spoilt at the other places. Went back to a room and watched "Love the Beast" on DVD by which time we were all pumped for the next days event. Yep Symmons Plains here we come.

16th Tuesday

Up early, quick breaky and as usual everyone was ready to go (at the time nominated the night before) on time. So at 8.00am we headed up St Mary’s Pass (another Targa stage) and onto Symmon’s Plains. We stuffed around trying to find some 98 octane fuel before giving up and settling on 95 plus a bottle of boost.

We arrived at the track and before I was out of my car Lurch had already paid and was heading out to give Bruce’s blue Zed a whipping. I gave a small driver briefing on what was expected and it was all go from there, with one car out at a time simply because we could. Gordon & Dave took there time carefully preparing for an assult on the track. As expected it was neck and neck between them all day.

In the end Dave took home the trophy with a 1.03:4 half a second quicker than Gordon. Simon, Evan, Bruce, Brian, Hodgo and your’s truly all had a ball. We had a local, Mick rock up in his LS1 Zed.

Looked great and he pulled a good time straight up 1.09 before throwing his harmonic balancer (I think) So he parked for the day. Shame because I am sure he would have gone quicker. I reckon Evan, Hodgo and Lurch definitely got there money’s worth with number of laps completed.

Me well I ran out of brake pads towards the end of the day so that finished me but I managed a 1.06:6. Bit of mucking around saw me limp into Devenport with minimal brakes (Rear only) before arriving at Mick’s workshop opposite the Tassie terminal where a pair of pads were arranged and waiting for me.

A quick pad change and the car was back to normal. By then everyone else was on the boat when I heard on the 2-way if I didn’t get there in 5 minutes the boat would leave without me. Well a few expletives and a bit of driving to get there, but I made it. All on the boat safely we had a few quiet drinks, shared a few tall stories and even got to watch Top Gear before dinner.

All in all it was a fantastic week. We had some truly awesome driving combined with some exercise (walks), tours and great company. All cars got on the boat home in the same condition they left, although maybe a little tired and no problems with the local law enforces.

I must say we all really did drive sensibly this year which is a reflection on the maturity of the group and I thank you for that. I look forward to the next one or Thredbo in 12 months time. And for those people reading this who think, hmmmm sounds like not a bad trip. Get off your butt's, stop talking and get your car’s going.

You are missing out on a rare opportunity to enjoy driving your car for 7 days running. Something that can only be appreciated by those who participate.

Till next time.

(Tour operator)

View more pictures of the trip