Cycling Around Tasmania: Day 5 – From Bicheno To St. Helens

Previous Post: Day 4 – From Swansea To Bicheno

Click on the More options prompt in the top left hand box to access the full screen view.


Day 5 on the road from Hobart – I had covered less than 200 kilometers in the first four days!  This day would be more ambitious thanks to the fact that there really aren’t any great accommodation options between Bicheno and St. Helens!

In terms of ocean views, it would also be the best single day, as the photos below will hopefully show.  And while the elevation chart above may look rather daunting with all those jagged peaks, the thing to remember is the very narrow range in elevation – i.e. only between 4 meters and 73. It was actually a very enjoyable ride!

The beach at the Denison River Conservation Area, about ten kilometers north of my  Bicheno Holiday Park tent spot, was my first of many spots to get off the bike and go for a little shoreline walk.  The path going down to the beach came complete with a reminder to be aware that the immediate shoreline is a bird breeding area.


path down to the beach north of Bicheno

path down to the beach north of Bicheno

beach view south of Bicheno on Tasmania's east coast

beach view north of Bicheno on Tasmania’s east coast

looking into the afternoon storm cluds near Bicheno

looking north into the afternoon storm clouds near Bicheno

Bicheno beach - Tasmania

Bicheno beach – Tasmania

Bicheno beach - Tasmania east coast

Bicheno beach – Tasmania’s east coast

I spent a half-hour at the most beautiful east coast beaches I had come across so far.  Back on the saddle, I got to do a more inland stretch of the A3 before coming close to the seashore again in the Chain of Lagoons area.

the road to St. Helens from Bicheno.jpg

the road to St. Helens from Bicheno – an inland stretch of the Tasman Highway

path to Tasmania east coast beach off A3

path to Tasmania east coast beach off A3

beach near Chain of lagoons north of Bicheno

beach near Chain of lagoons north of Bicheno

Another stunning beach area – and since it was autumn – like most of the others I had stopped at, no one was there.  I sat on the rocks below and had an apple and some sugared water.  A look at the map told me I could have lunch at Scamander within the hour, so it was back up to the road for some more eye-popping beach views before the A3 turns sharply west to the junction with the A4.

East coast Tasmania - beach scene

East coast Tasmania – beach scene near Chain of Lagoons off Hwy A3

cycling right along the shore on Tasmania's east coast

cycling right along the shore on Tasmania’s east coast


looking back at a nice stretch of the A3

looking back at a nice stretch of the A3

Just north of the Four Mile Creek Conservation Area, the road runs right along the shoreline for a couple of kilometers before turning inland to the junction with Hwy A4.  When I got to the junction, the distance markers told me that I had cycled 50 kilometres from Bicheno since setting off four hours before. This was not the Tour de France!

the signs at the A3/A4 Junction on east coast Tasmania.jpg

the signs at the A3/A4 Junction on the east coast Tasmania.jpg

As I cycled through Scamander, I was looking for an eatery of some sort. I finally found one just before I reached the bridge over the Scamander River. It was a takeaway with all the usual fast – and fried – foods.

Scamander News Agency and take-away

Scamander News Agency and Take-Away

After lunch, I had another 23 kilometers to do and some extra motivation. Some bad weather was coming in, and I wanted to settle in somewhere before the rain began.  As I approached St. Helens, the first option I passed was the  Big 4 St. Helens Holiday Park.  It is on the south side of the town, just across the bridge from the downtown area.  However, the thought of spending the night in my tent in a rainstorm was an option I figured I’d pass on.

Over the bridge, there is also a Backpacker’s hostel on the main street – Cecilia Street.  It would put me closer to restaurants and grocery stores. When I got to the hostel I found that it was shut down and had a “For Sale” sign on it!  Yikes! What now?  Cycle the 1.5 km. back across the bridge and up to the campground?  Across the street from the closed hostel was the Bayside Inn.  It was already starting to rain as I pushed my loaded bike across Cecilia Street.


Within a few minutes, I had my room at the Bayside Inn – not in the new addition but in the original 1950s motel structure on the side of it. At $80. for the night, I was not complaining!  My bike and gear and I would be dry for the night! I rolled my bike inside the room and checked the facilities – a shower, a small kitchenette area complete with pots and utensils, and wi-fi!  It would definitely do!

St Helens - the Bayside Inn - shelter from the storm

St Helens – the Bayside Inn – shelter from the storm

St. Helens Bayside Inn - the original motel structure

St. Helens Bayside Inn – the original motel structure

It rained all night, and it was still raining the next morning when it was time to set off for Scottsdale.  By then, I had come up with a solution to spending a morning and maybe more cycling in the rain up to my next day’s destination – I would just put my bike on the bus and miss the rain completely!

On the next street over (Circassian Street) from the Bayside Inn is a BP station.  It also serves as the pick-up spot for the Calows Coaches intercity bus that goes from St. Helens to Launceston.  Putting bikes on buses in Tasmania is a remarkably easy thing to do – unlike here in Canada.

St. Mary's to Launceston schedule (2017)

I even left the front and rear panniers on the bottom side of the bike so the bike would be cushioned if the ride was at all bumpy. (I put a piece of cardboard under each of the rented panniers so they would not get all scruffed up and smudged from rubbing!)


We left St. Helens at 8:30, and at 11:00 I was in Launceston, Tasmania’s second-biggest town.  Thanks to my revised schedule, I was also there a day early. Since  I already had paid for the next night at the Backpackers’ Hostel,  I figured my best bet would be to see if they had a room available for this day too. They did – and that is how I got to spend two days in beautiful Launceston, in some ways a more interesting town than Hobart to the south.

Next Post: Day Seven – Checking Out Launceston, Tasmania  

….this one has yet to be written but check out the posts below for more of my journey!

Day Eight – From Launceston To Deloraine

Day Nine – From Deloraine To Gowrie Park Via Sheffield

Day Ten – From Gowrie  Park To Cradle Mountain

Day Eleven – A Day Off the Saddle: Rambling Around Dove Lake

Day Twelve – Cradle Mountain To Zeehan

Bicycling From Hobart To Bruny Island


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4 Responses to Cycling Around Tasmania: Day 5 – From Bicheno To St. Helens

  1. Michael Mallett says:

    How was the rest of your trip? Setting off to do much the same next week!

    • true_north says:

      Michael, thanks for the comment! I hadn’t read the post in a while and now realize that I never did write the post on things to see and do in “Lonnie”! If you are interested, the journey continues with this post –

      Day Eight – From Launceston To Deloraine

      I really enjoyed my three weeks in Tas – incredible scenery and good roads. If I could do one thing differently it would be to have trained more seriously in the months before I went; I was not at my best and the hills exacted a price!

  2. Elgin Sider says:

    I just happened upon your blog on my virtual tour of Tasmania. I am a senior living in New Westminster, BC, Canada, and I can no longer do biking like I used to. So I’ve been doing virtual tours, following along the road with the Google street view, and imagining how it would be to bike it. Every day I find a real place to have lunch, and again to stay the night. I “found” you having lunch at the Scamander Newsagency and Takeaway, and I followed you to St Helen’s. I had “booked” a different hotel, but I changed that to stay at the Bayside as you did. Your blog added a whole new level to the sense of realism for me — specially the relief to spend the rainy night under shelter.

    • true_north says:

      Elgin, you made the right choice with the Bayside given how much it poured that night! I recall cycling by the campground on the edge of town; I did have a tent with me but I was headed to the town’s backpackers’ hostel. As you will have noted, the Bayside was pretty plush – and had some decent food too!

      My 2020 post-Victoria Day bike ride has been postponed until the fall. I had planned to put my bike on the train in Toronto, get off in Kingston, and then cycle to Montreal via Ottawa and Mont Laurier. There is a dedicated bike trail (40% paved) all the way from Mont Laurier to an endpoint south of Saint Jerome.

      Check my bicycling folder for more trip ideas! It’s always nice to share a stretch of the endless road with a fellow rambler!

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