Tasmania: B-ing there - Sixty kliks of fun
‘Ze B34 is, per’aps, our verseeon erf zer Oxley ’ighway and zer Grett Ocean Road,’ said my informant who shall remain nameless although his French accent has probably given him away.
‘Ze B34’ joins the Tasman Highway on the east coast, halfway between Swansea and Cranebrook, to the Midland Highway at Campbell Town. It is part of the Heritage Highway and runs past the wonderfully named Lake Leake. Dammed in 1883 to supply Campbell Town with a permanent water supply, this was not named after a construction fault but after one of the original trustees, Chas Leake.
Pity. It would have been nice to see a bit of honesty in municipal naming.
Which is not to say that I think Lake Leake leakes. Leaks. I’m sure it doesn’t, and anyway its shores hold a highly recommended little pub set in ten acres near the water. Originally serving as the Government accommodation house, this was leased to a Campbell Town publican and its name was changed to "Laird o' Lake Leake Hotel". Sadly it’s just the Lake Leake Chalet now.
But back to the B34.
This is a well surfaced and maintained tarred road that climbs away from the coast up into the State Forest before dropping back down into the Macquarie River valley. Its 60-odd kilometres feature a lot of corners and even some interesting combinations; they also seem to be free of the excessive attention of the constabulary. Very enjoyable, even in the rain that I encountered when I rode it recently.
I think comparisons with the Oxley or the GOR are a bit over the top, especially in a State that has more exciting roads per square wossname than any other in Australia. It’s well worth a detour – you are quite likely to miss it if you’re on an around-Tasmania ride – but I wouldn’t go all the way to Tassie to sample it.
Sorry, Bertrand… err, ‘informant’.
Campbell Town is worth a look, too. I checked it out on one of those tourist websites, just to see if there was perhaps something there that I’d missed, and while it is charming I’m pleased to tell you that it does not ‘ooze’ charm the way the site claimed. No oozing that I could detect, at all.