The Lorax Route – Bicycle Touring takayna

Words by Tyla Bickley
Route on RidewithGPS
Photos by Tyla, unless specified

5 minutes

Tyla was inspired to create the Lorax bicycle touring route through Takayna after many bike tours exploring the ever-giving island of lutruwita/Tasmania. But also to help draw attention to the recent events happening in takayna/Tarkine.

This is the first in a two part series exploring takayna. This first piece gives you the detailed and generous Lorax Route from Launceston, through the Tarkine and much of north-west Tasmania. In the second piece, Tyla shares her experiences of riding a section of the route.

Through these pieces Tyla wants to help share the immense beauty and power of the region, hoping you’ll connect with the land as she has. Perhaps you may even like to help protect takayna by supporting the work of the Bob Brown Foundation (more on this below).

Bicycle Touring Takayna – The Route

The full touring route is 850km long, but it is designed to have multiple options for start/finish destinations and different ‘shortcuts’ along the way.

It is a great route for touring bikes, being majority quiet sealed roads or well-graded gravel roads. There are some long stretches without food resupply points, so planning your trip is essential.

The route from Launceston cuts under the majestic Tiers, through farming country and native forest, before climbing up into the spectacular sub-alpine country of Cradle Mountain. From here, you drop into the area known as takayna/Tarkine.

takayna is home to Australia’s largest temperate rainforest, with some sections dating back to the days of the Gondwanan supercontinent.

The route cuts west through the forest to the famous Corinna, on the Pieman River, then takes the spectacular western explorer (aka the road to nowhere) through rugged, remote country north-west until you hit the Southern Ocean in all her glory.

Follow the coast back to the northern edge of the island, before taking the worthwhile detour back up into takayna to explore some incredible natural landmarks such as Trowutta Arch. From here, amble your way back along the north coast as quickly or as slowly as you like, before cutting across poppy-farming land and more forest on your way back into Launceston.

There’s detailed route notes in the attached RideWithGPS file.

Climbing out of Liffey Falls
Cradle country
Cold camp in the Vale of Belvoir
Takayna magic
The endless Road to Nowhere
Moody morning on the Road to Nowhere
Edge of the World
Trowutta Arch
Bakers Beach camp

Protecting Takayna – The Bob Brown Foundation

Takayna is under immediate threat from logging and mining.

In May 2021, the Bob Brown Foundation (BBF) began their biggest frontline action campaign to date when foreign-owned mining company MMG initiated a raid on the peaceful blockade camp BBF had held for 142 days at Pieman Rd.

MMG moved their machines in and have started destroying forest in order to build roads to get an exploratory drilling rig in to test the site for a potential new tailings dam.

There has been no adequate environmental assessment. If the tailings dam goes ahead, 250+ha of ancient old-growth forest will be destroyed. MMG have alternative options, they do not need to put a toxic waste dump in the heart of takayna.

Since the raid, BBF have been running daily actions on site, defending the forest. As of 26/6/21, the campaign which has been called the “Franklin of the ‘20s” has been running for 40 days and seen 48 arrests of brave, peaceful forest defenders.

The Lorax – tour it how you like it! Some ideas

In Her Full Glory:

  • Day 1: Launceston to Liffey Falls, 60km, +729m, -276m
  • Day 2: Liffey Falls to Mole Creek, 57km, +496m, -745m
  • Day 3: Mole Creek to Cradle Mountain, 63km, +1,728m, -1,082m
  • Day 4: Rest day, exploring Cradle Mountain
  • Day 5: Cradle Mountain to Tullah, 48km, +500m, -1,130m
  • Day 6/7: Join the front line defence of our ancient forests with the Bob Brown Foundation (HQ in Tullah as at 26/6/21, likely to change, must contact BBF before arrival).
  • Day 8: Tullah to Corinna, 72km, +1,186m, -1,390m
  • Day 9: Rest day, take the barge to Pieman Heads or perhaps a kayak tour of the river!
  • Day 10: Corinna to Lindsay River, 57km, +1,162m, -987m
  • Day 11: Lindsay River to Arthur River, 52km, +321m, -482m
  • Day 12:  Arthur River to Smithton, 63km, +358m, -358m
  • Day 13: Smithton to Julius River, 47km, +534m, -379m
  • Day 14: Rest day at Julius River, explore the rainforest 
  • Day 15: Julius River to Smithton, 70km, +855m, -1006m
  • Day 16: Smithton to Penguin, 104km, +935m, -935m
  • Day 17: Penguin to Bakers Beach, 75km, +611m, -611m
  • Day 18: Bakers Beach to Launceston, 80km, +1,097m, -1,087m

Straight Off the Spirit and Make it Snappy:

  • Day 1: Devonport to Kentish Park, 56km, +771m, -640m
  • Day 2: Kentish Park to Cradle Mountain, 46km, +1,312m, -688m
  • Day 3: Cradle Mountain to Reece Dam, 100km, +1,468m, -2,201m
  • Day 4: Reece Dam to Lindsay River, 75km, +1,377m, -1,301m
  • Day 5: Lindsay River to Smithton, 112km, +637m, -833m
  • Day 6: Smithton to Julius River, 47km, +534m, -379m
  • Day 7: Julius River to Smithton, 70km, +855m, -1006m
  • Day 8: Smithton to Penguin, 104km, +935m, -935m
  • Day 9: Penguin to Devonport, 35km, +225m, -225m

Skip the Sea:

  • Day 1: Launceston to Liffey Falls, 60km, +729m, -276m
  • Day 2: Liffey Falls to Mole Creek, 57km, +496m, -745m
  • Day 3: Mole Creek to Cradle Mountain, 63km, +1,728m, -1,082m
  • Day 4: Cradle Mountain to Tullah, 48km, +500m, -1,130m
  • Day 5: Tullah to Savage River, 78km, +1,286m, -1,490m
  • Day 6: Savage River to Lindsay River, 51km, +1,062m, -887m
  • Day 7: Lindsay River to Julius River, 48km, +628m, -656m
  • Day 8: Julius River to Smithton, 70km, +855m, -1006m
  • Day 9: Smithton to Penguin, 104km, +935m, -935m
  • Day 10: Penguin to Bakers Beach, 75km, +611m, -611m
  • Day 11: Bakers Beach to Launceston, 80km, +1,097m, -1,087m

For more information, visit the Bob Brown Foundation’s website and socials.

To volunteer on the frontline (conveniently located on this route!) contact BBF.

Feel free to send me a message if you want any more information or want to chat about ways you can get involved.