The Tangara Trail is an almost invisible web of interconnecting trails between Seven Mile Beach and South Arm. It often weaves between property boundaries and heads along quiet roads, beaches and bush trails. There is good tangara trail signage all over the area, so with a bit of help from the website and a sense of adventure you really could just go trail chasing.
The route described here knits together some of the best sections of the trail, but throws in a few extra bits as well to make a nice figure of eight ride that will give even the most experienced cyclist a good day out.
The starting point for this ride is from the car park at the Roche’s Beach end of the Lauderdale Canal, though you could start anywhere on the loop.
From Hobart, head over the Tasman Bridge towards the Airport/Sorell, but about 3kms from the end of the bridge look out for the turnoff to Lauderdale and follow the Lauderdale signs from there. It is about a further 12kms from here to Lauderdale
As you drive through Lauderdale, look for the turn off to your left along either the North or South Terrace roads on either side of the canal (the canal is very obvious). Drive to the end of this road (750m) and park in the car park.
There are some (basic) public toilets here and at the end of the ride it’s a nice place for a swim.
There’s no food or water available on this route, but there is a well stocked grocery store on the corner of Southern Terrace, and a fairly decent bakery and cafe a further 200m along the main road for those who need to top up with supplies.
This route describes a figure eight route starting from the Lauderdale. My advice is to head out along the longer route and see how you feel after that. The northern section, whilst smaller, is a bit harder riding.
The Tangara Trail is a complex network of trails, and hence the route description is very detailed as it tries to describe the numerous twists and turns. Because of this it is best to approach the trail as a bit of an exploration the first time you ride it, take a few maps with you, expect a few delays and expect to take a few wrong turns along the way.
If you’re really desperate to follow the track and only the track, then get a GPS or smart phone and download the route onto that, then all you have to do is follow the little pink line.
Finally, remember that horse riders do use this trail, and they really don’t like having mountain bikes screaming past them from in front or behind. So ride responsibly, and if you see a horse rider treat it like they own the trail, slow right down and if you can, stop or get off the trail. If they haven’t seen you, politely let them know you’re there, don’t do anything sudden and if unsure what to do, just be friendly and take the lead from the rider.
SOUTHERN LOOP (35KM, 3.5 HRS APPROX).
From the car park look for a foot track that heads south between the dunes and the houses, and follow this for a short distance (100m) where it will drop you out on Bayview Road. Continue to follow Bayview Road along the back of the beach for a further 250 metres looking for a gap between the houses on the right (between 99 and 101 Bayview Drive).
Head through this gap, squeezing through the bike gate, and follow the track through the trees out onto Racecourse Flats. You used to be able to cycle across here which was great fun, but the track now heads to the left along the back of the houses, then over another metal gate (well pole that you have to lift your bike over) and then around to your right and alongh the edge of the flats between two fences before coming out at the intersection of South Arm and Forest Hill roads.
Follow Forest Hill Road for 800 metres, then turn right into Farnaby Place (Clear Lagoon is just off to your left before turning off here). At the end of this road (450m) you need to head between the driveways of 30 and 31 Farnaby Place (it is signed tangara trail). Follow this for around 150 metres, then turn left at a track junction (it's signed) and follow this track down and over a little wooden walkway which crosses a small swamp and out onto Deprose Way. Follow this road towards the highway, but just before you come out onto South Arm Road, you need to turn onto the last driveway on your left and follow this for no more than 10 metres while looking out for the track which runs beside this driveway. Once on this continue back away from the highway and around onto Mather Place. Then turn right and head out onto the highway.
South Arm Road can get quite busy, so be careful as you turn left and ride out towards Clifton Beach / South Arm Way. You’ll pass the Clifton Beach turn off after about 1.2km. Note your speedo reading here and continue another 300metres along towards South Arm, looking out for an indistinct and unpromising trail heading up between two fenceposts (near 1375 South Arm Road) on the right hand side of the road. Most likely you’ll need to push your bike up this short pinch (200m) before coming out onto a T junction with the main track.
Turn left and enjoy the ride down through the bush, around the edge of a paddocks, past a cattleyard and shed (keep to the right, don't head up the track up the hill), another section of bushland and paddock and then one final section through bushland behind some houses before emerging out onto Gellibrand Drive. Turn left again and follow this road for 1km where you’ll take another left onto a gravel road about 10 metres past a turn off into a carpark into the beach.
Follow this road, turning right after 150m into what is becoming a more and more indistinct track. This track has deteriorated badly into a deep rut though it improves slightly as you go along. Follow it for a further 1.1km, at this point you’ll come out onto what looks like a driveway, turn right again and continue up this driveway for 400 metres, then get into a lower gear and head off onto the trail to your left. The track at the end of the road was signed when I was last there.
You’ve got a bit of a climb for the next 550 metres, but it’s all rideable and great fun on nice trails. Just before you come back out onto the road, look for a trail running parallel to it on your left and follow this for another 500 metres, before the trail switchbacks its way down the hill.
The track turns sharply to the right at the bottom of this short descent and levels out as it runs behind a paddocked area parallel to South Arm Road. Follow this track for some great views out over he lagoon and beach until it turns sharply left just before a gate and drops you steeply down onto South Arm Road. Beware of traffic, and then turn right and follow the bitumen road up to the top of the hill (100m) and then turn left out to Goat Bluff Lookout. This is a lovely spot to have a break. You’re about half way, 17kms from the start.
From the lookout, the official route is to backtrack out onto South Arm Road, turn right and head back the way you came, then at the bottom of the hill turn left onto Gellibrand Drive. It’s a bit of a steep climb up here, although you’ll be rewarded by some nice views of the iron pot up near the top. After about 1.4km, turn left into Baragoola Place and follow this to the end and down onto the foreshore track directly in front of you. Just before you hit the foreshore you’ll come to a track junction where you’ll need to turn right and rejoin the track notes below.
However, there is another way, though it’s best done on a low tide and shouldn’t be considered from September to January as you will be passing through a bird breeding area: Instead of turning right onto South Arm Road, you can instead turn left, and follow the road to the bottom of the hill, and just near a “South Arm Conservation Area” sign on the right hand side of the road, you can get down onto the beach and then push (or ride on low tide) your bike around this beach to the headland to your right. This is a breeding area for the Pied Oyster Catcher, so if there are any nesting birds even if it is outside the breeding season, do the right thing and beat a retreat and come back another day.
Getting along this section can be a bit tricky and the rocks are slippery, so be careful as you push, carry or ride your bike around this headland, along a second beach, and then part way around a second headland. About 50 metres around this second headland you’ll see an obvious track heading up off the rocks. This track runs along behind, but parallel to, the foreshore. About one kilometre along this track you will see the main route from Baragoola Place come in from your right. This route might sound like a lot of work, but it really is a nice section of coastline, and I find it far more enjoyable then the steep climb up Gellibrand Drive.
Whichever way has got you to this point, point your front wheel along the track and enjoy some great riding. The next 2.7kms of trail follows the coastline, and is a magnificent combination of great views back towards Hobart and Mount Wellington and gripping trail that will demand most of your attention. It’s the sort of section that you get to the end of, and seriously consider turning around and doing again.
This trail drops onto a gravel track just past a boat ramp, which you need to follow around until you’ll come back out into the bird sanctuary area that you passed on the way out.
At the car park, look for the track (signed) continuing along behind Gorringes Beach. You’ve got two options here, the most sensible option is to follow the trail which runs parallel behind the beach, or if it’s a low tide, and you’re willing to risk what it will do to your bike, it is quite possible to head out onto the beach and ride along the beach itself.
Assuming you follow the trail behind the beach, ignore the numerous trails heading off to the left and right until the track eventually hits a fenceline and paddock (about 2.1km from car park) and then follow the trail inland. This section is generally quite sandy and dry, but I’ve ridden it once after a heavy rain, and I was literally cycling through knee deep water for several hundred metres so be prepared.
It’s about 700m back out onto South Arm Road and you’ll have to pass a gate just before the road. Rather than head onto the road itself, turn left and follow the trail running alongside the road (it’s more fun) even if it is only about 800 metres before you come to the junction of Rifle Range Road. Just before this junction, the trail crosses Gellibrand Drive and carries on along the other side of the road before heading up another dirt road running off at right angles to the main road. Head up here for 500metres, before you’ll see another nice little track section heading off to the left in a bit of bush running alongside a paddock. This short section of trail is uphill, but it’s still kind of fun and worth the detour.
The end of this track drops out onto Valleyfield Road. Turn left and drop back down onto Rifle Range Road. Turn right and head back out towards South Arm Road 2.7kms away.
DETOUR: If you’re keen to stick to the trails, look out for the section of the trail about 1.2km from where you rejoin Rifle Road heading off to the right. This connects to School Road and from there South Arm Road. A short hop skip and jump along here and you’re back onto Deprose Way and you can backtrack the way you’ve come from there.
From the South Arm Highway junction turn left back towards Lauderdale, and if you’re comfortable with the traffic I’d recommend continuing along the road back into Lauderdale, though be warned there isn’t much of a shoulder. If worried, you can always head back around Racecourse Flats when you get there, but otherwise, cycle to the end of the Canal, head across the little pedestrian bridge near the bike park and then follow the lovely little path along the northern side of canal until it drops you back out near your car.
NORTHERN LOOP (17KM, 1.5 HRS).
If it’s a low tide, and you’re prepared to get your bike a bit salty and sandy, the ideal way to start this loop is to head down the boat ramp and head left out along Roche’s Beach. It’s about 2km to the first little headland, from where you’ll see a second boat ramp, another 500 metres further along the beach. Head up this boat ramp into the car park and head past the boat club along a gravel track which runs between the boat club and the beach.
DETOUR: If you’re not too happy about heading along the beach, then instead, head back up the Northern Terrace, and just past the Eating on the Edge Restaurant, turn right into Bangalee Street and continue along here for about 2.8kms. Just past a turn off to the left to Roche’s Beach Road you’ll see Kirra Road heading to the right, turn down here, then take the dirt road to the right 200 metres down the road. This will drop you into the car park mentioned above, head for the far end and onto the gravel track.
Follow this gravel track along the top of the cliff, ignoring the two sets of steps that drop down onto the beach. This track meanders its way all the way to Seven Mile Beach 3kms away, and there are a few turn offs to the left and right, but just so long as you stick with the most obvious track following the cliff tops you’ll be fine. You should drop out directly onto seven mile beach (be careful the final descent is steep and ends at a drop).
About 100 metres along the beach you’ll see a track heading back off the beach and over an old wooden bridge. Follow this, then head along the road for 200 metres, before turning left along Seven Mile Beach Road towards Hobart.
Ignore the turnoff on Estate Drive towards Hobart. However, 300 metres past this turnoff look for an indistinct trail heading off on the right hand side of the road just past a driveway (143 Seven Mile Road). This is your turnoff. This short section of trail isn’t the best riding, but gets you off the road for a short period. Follow it around the back of a property and across Saxon Drive and a further 600 ms before dropping out onto the busier Acton Drive.
Carefully cross over to Everton Place and follow this road for 200 metres, before again heading off to the left on a grassy lane between houses. Follow this around until you drop out onto Stefworth lane. From there, turn left onto Acton Drive and back out onto Acton Road. To be honest, the section from Seven Mile Beach to here is more horse country than mountain bike country, but it’s the best way to get around this section of the loop.
From the Acton Road junction, push your bike up another lane way across the road and slightly to the right, until you come to a track running in front of you.
Turn right and follow the trail down the hill (there’s actually quite a lot of illegal trail building going on here) for a few brief seconds of fun before coming out into a paddock. Look to your left where the paddock narrows. That’s where you want to go, but head out and across to the fence in front of you to avoid a very marshy area. At the corner of the paddock you’ll see a small track running through the bushland around the back of another fence which will drop you out onto Penelope Place and Axiom Way.
Cross Axiom Way and head straight ahead through the throughway ahead of you. This will take you through a little bit of bushland and drop you out into another paddock. Again two choices here, for those with the legs you can continue straight up the obvious trail heading up the hill in front of you. This track gets pretty steep, but you will be rewarded at the top with some fine views over Roche’s Beach and Lauderdale before dropping back down the other side to your right. However, if you’re feeling a bit less enthusiastic, you can head along the fence line running up the hill to your right and this trail sidles around the side of the same hill, with both trails joining up on the other side and dropping down onto Kirra Drive.
Follow Kirra Drive back out onto Nowra Road and turn left heading back towards Bangalee Road and Lauderdale. However as you go along the road, look out for the Archery Range on the right (about 600 metres after joining the road).
Go through the gate here, and cycling along the track behind the houses for another 800 metres. Just before you reach a fence, follow the track out away from the houses and to the right. This trail will take you off into a bit of bushland for another 700 metres before you’ll drop out onto a small road and then Mannata Street.
From here turn left, and follow Mannata Street back to Bangalee Street. Head right and then left and you’ll be back at your car.
This route only covers parts of the Tangara Trail, and once you’ve got a feel for the trail, it’s a great place just to go out and explore.
For cyclists heading out from Hobart, it is possible to follow bike and multiple use paths from the centre of Hobart, across the Tasman Bridge (take the upsteam side, then head straight back down under the bridge to get onto the Rosny Point trail which heads around to Bellerive and onto Kangaroo Bluff. Continue along behind Bellerive Beach and Howrah Beach, before making your way up the cycleway that heads up along the eastern side of the South Arm Highway all the way to Rokeby. From there you’ll need to follow the highway to Lauderdale, but it’s not too bad.