We can confidently say that no-one has ever done a bike tour of Tasmania like this before.
Australia’s island state of Tasmania is full of contrasts; from white deserted beaches to rugged mountains and rainforests, wild rivers and historic villages. More than 42% of the state is National Park and much of that is World Heritage listed. We will explore Tasmania’s unique flora and fauna and breathtaking natural beauty: Also delve into its European settlement history - plentiful for such a short period and unfortunately, remarkably bloody. We learn about the indigenous people of Tasmania from their descendants - hear their stories of the Dreamtime and see Tasmania through their eyes as it was pre white-settlement.
We will also visit the state’s oldest and newest man-made attractions. The sinister, atmospheric ruins of Port Arthur prison and Sarah Island are intriguing and the recently opened Museum of old and new art - MONA - is a sensational collection as well as architecturally fascinating. Some have suggested it could be the best museum in the world!
In 2020 we have made 2 major improvements to the tour incorporating the option to climb Jacob's Ladder (see gallery below), Tasmania's epic and rugged switchback climb and a sea cruise to World Heritage listed Gordon River and convict island prison Sarah Island.
Come make the most of a year where overseas travel has been impossible, support Australian tourism and ride in Australia's premier cycling location.
Our December 2020 departure is a 2 week Odyssey from Cradle Mountain to Hobart, making the best of this unusual year! In 2021 we return to our 3 week Odyssey which can be ridden in 2 stages or as a whole clockwise circumnavigation of the Isle. We will enjoy 'balanced' days. This means a good outing on the bike (averaging 90km / 56 miles per riding day) but we also have plenty of time to soak in some amazing sites, museums and experiences. For dates and prices please see below:
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Sam is the founder of Bike Odyssey. His original trade was as a Roman archaeologist for the British Museum, London before cycling historical trails to create documentaries for the BBC. Living in Berry, Australia he loves guiding our local Tasmanian Odyssey!
Hobart-> Cradle Mountain -> Freycinet -> Hobart
- Departing Hobart, ride up into the highlands and past button grass plains, highland lakes and through magnificent temperate rainforests into the Southwest World Heritage Area. (2021 only)
- Roll from Lake St Clair to the rugged west coast along a ribbon of road rated by Lonely Planet as one of the world's best rides. (2021 only)
- Enjoy a cruise to Hell's Gate, Gordon River and Sarah Island in the wilds of Tasmania only accessible by boat. (2021 only)
- Beautiful Cradle Mountain, our 2020 tour's starting location and Tasmania’s most well-known and best-loved peak and get up close to some of Tasmania’s native wildlife, including Tasmanian Devils.
- Enjoy quiet country roads that wend their way through peaceful valleys and along the Tamar River wine region, including perhaps Tasmania’s most popular cycling route.
- Traverse the sparsely populated northeast, with the option to take on Tasmania’s iconic gravel climb - Jacob’s Ladder - before rolling on to the magical Bay of Fires.
- Revel in the unique Tasmanian east coast experience, cruising past glittering white beaches, dropping into wineries and exploring wonderful Freycinet National Park.
- Visit World Heritage listed Port Arthur, Australia’s best-preserved, most infamous and largest penal colony.
- Delight in the cycling on Bruny Island, home to Get Shucked Oysters, the Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Company and more gorgeous riding terrain spinning along the water's edge.
- Finish in Hobart, the state capital. A vibrant city with a great restaurant scene, a world class symphony orchestra, beautiful botanical gardens and MONA - arguably the world’s best modern art gallery beating New York's MoMA and London's Tate Modern in the Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travelist.
- For bike rental options please click here.
- Please note that Tasmania: UnderDownunder is priced in AUD - Australian Dollars. As an indicator of cost, at the date of publishing the full tour price of $12,990 AUD equated to $8,650 USD. The exchange rate will be locked in on the day of deposit.
- These prices are twin share. If you choose to have your own room, a single supplement of 130 AUD per night is applicable. This is calculated solely on the difference between single and double room costs.
- For our 2020 departure we will pick up riders from Launceston on the morning of the tour start, alternatively enjoy an extra night or two in Cradle Mountain (which we highly recommend) and see us there.
Doug Bruce, pictured here with wife Dianne at the top of kunanyi (Mt Wellington), wrote a fantastic blog on the Tasmanian Odyssey in 2019.
The blog covers both his Tasmanian and Lionheart Odysseys. You can read it here.
A tour with stunning scenery whether it be the rugged Australian bush or crystal clear oceans where we listen to the sea and have an aperitif while experiencing the best sunsets. Here are some of the places where we will stay...
Tasmania is a verdant, green island of fertile soils. Pure rainfall from the cleanest air on Earth and the clear waters of the Tasman Sea and Southern Ocean are the elements that combine to create Tasmania’s wonderful fresh, natural produce and acclaimed cool-climate wines.
Each region of the island has its specialities – fresh seafood from cold and clean West Coast waters, wholesome farm and dairy produce from North West fields, full-bodied reds and delicate whites from grapes ripened in the East Coast vineyards, and apple, pear and cherry orchards abound in the Huon Valley south of Hobart.
Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for around 40,000 years. Having travelled from the mainland while the lands were joined during the last ice age. Around 12,000 years ago, the sea level rose as the ice melted and Tasmania became isolated from the mainland of Australia. Survival in this changing landscape was challenging and dependent upon the ability to harvest both aquatic resources, such as seals and shellfish, and terrestrial flora and fauna, such as fern roots and wallabies. Aboriginal people developed water crafts and their rich and dynamic culture continued despite the adverse climatic conditions.
The first European to see Tasmania was Abel Tasman in 1642. Captain Cook reached Tasmania in 1777, then in 1798 Matthew Flinders became the first person to circumnavigate the island.
Read more about the history of Tasmania
The relationship between the settling Europeans and Indigenous Tasmanians had a terrible beginning in 1804 with the ‘battle’ of Risdon Cove, when soldiers fired upon Indigenous Tasmanians.
Many more were killed in the ensuing years, especially during the ‘Black War’ of the 1820s, in attempts to clear them off the land the Europeans wanted to settle on.
Meanwhile, many indigenous Tasmanians died of diseases introduced by the settling Europeans. The Governor of Tasmania from 1824 to 1837, George Arthur, declared martial law hoping to end the warfare. In 1830 he ordered all able-bodied white men to form a line across Tasmania and sweep across it forcing all the remaining Indigenous Tasmanians onto the Tasman Peninsula. However, this move, known as the Black Line, failed miserably. Eventually, a preacher named George Robinson agreed to try and persuade the remaining indigenous people (only around 300 in total by this stage!) to go to a reservation on Flinders Island. The surviving people did agree to go there. However, they continued to die of disease and in 1847 the few survivors were allowed back onto mainland Tasmania.
Significantly, the first penal settlement in Tasmania was founded in 1822 and in 1825 Van Diemen’s land was recognised as a colony in its own right, separate from the rest of Australia.
In 1842 Hobart was made a city and an important ship building industry grew. Convicts continued to arrive and transportation only
ended in 1852. In 1856, to avoid the unsavoury connections with its penal history, the name of the colony was changed from Van Diemen’s Land to Tasmania.
In 1898 Tasmanians voted in a referendum to join with the rest of Australia, thus the Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901. Today the population of Tasmania is 515,000.
Kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats, platypi, Tasmanian devils...travelling through the Tasmanian World Heritage Area will give you an excellent chance to see all of these amazing animals and more. Walking along the paths and cycling the roads you will definitely come across the bigger marsupials - the more elusive platypus we will hopefully catch at Lake St Clair and the endangered Tasmanian devils we will definitely see at Cradle Mountain.
A great trip all around; beautiful Tasmania countryside, well organized, excellent communication, helpful leaders (Cam for President), outstanding restaurants and mostly top-quality hotels. I especially appreciate Sam driving us two hours to the airport due to our leaving the trip early. Very kind of him.
I would eliminate Hawley House next time. Our room was in the back, smelled like dogs and the mattress was so soft and uncomfortable that I opted to sleep on the floor. The food there was excellent though.
Otherwise, a challenging, gratifying and memorable trip.
Amazing way to see the world with a fantastic company. I would recommend this trip to everyone
Had the best guides on the best roads, the accommodation was second to none, navigation was spot on and the food was exceptional
I just did the Lionheart tour. The Bike Odyssey routes, accommodation, food and history talks – all amazing. But what made the trip outstanding was that Sam and his team went the extra mile (often literally!) to keep us safe, healthy and happy.
Fantastic trip and fantastic attention to detail from the team. Bike Odyssey sweats the details so you can just enjoy the riding, eating and the views.
The best in the business – sensational, organised and professional sums up the Bike Odyssey Team. The route planning is impeccable taking in the quiet roads and stunning scenery. Every day ends in another top class and unique accommodation with tasty regional food and wine. Nothing to think about once on the trip except the all important riding your bike.
Outstanding scenery, accommodation and food. Everything is taken care of for you, just get on your bike and enjoy the amazing scenery and excellent roads with very little traffic.
Thanks Sam and everyone at Bike Odyssey for a truly memorable holiday.
Extremely happy. Awesome route and on-road support, fantastic accommodation and food. As good as Hannibal which was my best overseas experience to date.
I booked this trip in late 2018 and even before we left in July 2019 I felt in professional hands. Bike Odyssey were heavily involved from that point right through to the trip itself in helping me get organised and answering any and all questions. Nothing was too much trouble and it made for a very smooth experience. The trip itself was simply brilliant. The team were outstanding in their organisation and care for us as riders and people and we had a lot of fun together. I always felt respected and cared for and very safe on the road with the support we had. Furthermore, our bikes and gear was well cared for, the food and accomodation was amazing and the riding routes extremely well scouted and thought through. Finally, we could always take some time out if required, which was vital on a long point to point journey. Overall, I would highly recommend Bike Odyssey and look forward to hopefully enjoying another adventure with them in future years.
Hands down the best holiday I have had. Great food and accommodation, unbelievable levels of support from the Bike Odyssey team and the ability to completely unplug for large stints each day made this an epic break.
I’ll definitely be back.
If there was an option to rate 6 star, I would!
What an experience- there is nothing I would change. From start to finish, the location, the rides, the seamless transfers of my gear each day, the fantastic group of people riding, and the brilliant guides supporting us daily.
I cannot wait to book another tour. Yes it is the only bike tour I have done, however would be pretty certain it rates as one of the best.
I did this trip on an ebike as I am not a cyclist. It was a tough ask but the organisation by Bike Odessey made life a lot easier. Everything was done for us other than having to pedal every day. Our route was plotted, our coffee was planned and the picnic lunches set us up perfectly for the afternoon. The guides were professional and motivating. The lead guide Max has a real gift with people and inspired us every day to do more. We had our bikes expertly maintained and our bodies too with a professional massage every few days. The entire team were fantastic.
We had amazing food, saw places we would never have known about, made new and special friendships and had experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. Would I travel with Bike Odessey again? I’m already planning it.
I enjoyed my 10 days as a non-riding partner for the stage 2 on Hannibal 2019. Whilst my husband was riding through the Alps following Hannibal’s footsteps, I was hiking to a lake, enjoying a wine tasting or two and taking part in an Italian cooking lesson. We also had time to wander through local markets and enjoy the fabulous grounds of our accommodation in Castles and Villa’s in vineyards with magnificent views! The Bike Odyssey crew are welcoming, informative and friendly, they are quite flexible with the day to day plans. I have no hesitation in recommending Bike Odyssey for the non rider, although I will definitely be riding next time on an e-bike! My husband was thrilled with his ride and is already planning the next one!
THE trip for serious cyclists who also appreciate life après-ride.
Bike Odyssey’s Hannibal trip has it all: challenging cycling (including the most noted climbs of France and some very spiky ascents in Italy); outstanding support; fine dining; quality accommodations.
This was a very challenging cycling trip, riding in the Pyrenees of Spain and France, the French Alps and Apennines of Italy. If you want the best cycling Europe has to offer, this is the trip to take. Bike Odyssey provided expert support and knowledge, found super accommodations and excellent cuisine(both with their picnic lunches and tremendous restaurant choices) and new friendships created made this trip an epic experience. Look forward to my next Bike Odyssey trip!
First tour was Tassie. Had a great time. Looking forward to doing Morocco in 2021
As inexperienced cyclists we were very capably supported throughout the wonderful Che tour, an exotic, challenging and exciting experience. Wonderful arrangements, great guides and support staff, and the ability to adapt to the different needs of the riders and local situations. They were also great at helping the group gel and work well together.
Having toured with Sam and team on Hannibal in 2017 we signed up again for 2019 for another custom tour. The quality of the whole experience was impressive, from the route choice on the most scenic and quiet roads to the exceptional accommodation and regional food. All being done in a relaxed way made us feel we were in safe hands.
I did the “Che” tour from Lonquimqy to Bariloche. There is no better way to see these countries and especially the Andes. The cycling routes were sufficiently challenging and the time off the bike was also spectacular. Accommodation was frequently a destination in itself. Sam, Max, Manuel and Shane were excellent guides/hosts. They set up some awesome rides so we could have the experiences. How could I forget the last grossing on mountain bikes? It was tough but the rewards of the scenery made every pedal stroke worthwhile. The 80km lakeside route culminating in the climb of Volcan Osorno was awesome and as always was rewarded with a pisco sour. Every day exposed us to the beauties and cultures of Chile and Argentina. Great people, great challenges and countries that took me to places I’d never imagined! I’ll be lining up for another tour next year.
Everything was done exceptionally well – from the amazing route and scenery, the scrumptious picnic lunches, the fantastic accommodation and first class evening meals.The relaxed, yet organized atmosphere that Sam and Cam created among all the riders was the cherry on the cake. This was my first tour with Bike Odyssey and I give them the highest of recommendations.
An excellent experience from the first enquiry to the last day of the holiday. The routes, accommodations, picnics and the support on the road were all excellent throughout the trip. The routes well thought out and the bike I hired from them was excellent.
Sam and the Bike Odyssey team exceeded our expectations on every level. Each and every day of our first European cycle adventure delivered memories of people and places that will last a lifetime. A test of mind and body, but a rich and rewarding experience that has whet the appetite for more of the same. We’ll be back.
Without a doubt your guides (and Sam is included), are the best I’ve had on any tour, and I’ve ridden more tours than I can count across the US, Europe and South America. Great personalities and extremely helpful. Also very accommodating to personal preferences (bananas and Cokes!). This is what will keep me coming back to Odyssey tours. Also extremely important – your willingness to let riders leave whenever they want in the morning and have the bikes out and ready to ride early — before breakfast. Much appreciated.
Organising a custom tour in a foreign country where you are not fluent in the language can be intimidating as you are always trying to consider your groups individual needs and abilities, Getting to know Sam and then working with Bike Odyssey is so refreshing in that they were able to provide a very high end experience, while feeling like it was effortless on our end. The team was always working hard in the background to make sure our customised Hannibal adventure unfolded seamlessly and going by the feedback from our group and the sign up for Lionheart it’s clear they were effective.
Sam’s approach is calm and confident and the route choice as well as accommodation was memorable. I would highly recommend engaging Bike Odyssey as your choice.
Eastern Explorer Excellence!! We had such a fantastic two week custom tour with Bike Odyssey. 9 friends from Adelaide, of varying abilities, embarked on an epic 1,400kms from Görlitz on the German/Polish border, all through Poland, with a rest day in Gdańsk, ending in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The organisation of the trip was perfect, Max and Francesca our tour leaders could not have done more for us. Great hotels, wonderful food, and great technical help from Frannie who made us all into Hammerhead converts and experts within no time at all! No more dodgy paper maps and getting lost, Hammerheads are the way forward! Literally!
Thanks Bike Odyssey for a brilliant tour, we look forward to the next one!
Well, what can I say other than brilliant! Hannibal 2017 was 16 days of brilliant riding, excellent accommodation and the guides were just second to none. Sam, Max and the team are committed to ensuring that you have the trip of a lifetime, to which I did. I would recommend bike odyssey as the best cycling company to take you on an adventure through Europe and beyond! Do it!!!…..you won’t regret a single minute. Thanks Sam and team for a wonderful trip!
The cycling routes, guides, food, wine and accommodation were all great. Such a memorable trip. I highly recommend bike odyssey
Awesome Guides, fantastic accommodation, best riding ever. If you ride a bike book a holiday with these guys, you won’t regret it.
Thank you Max for being such an excellent guide during our Hannibal Tour. Your infectious enthusiasm was invaluable and the way you supported the whole group throughout each day was fabulous. I felt very safe with you as our tour leader during the first few days and appreciate your motivating and fun loving personality from the beginning to the end of the trip. And last but not least, your Spanish mints (with accompanying jingle) each morning were vital to a good start to the day.
I felt that all the guides and their contributions were extraordinary all went over and above to ensure that we were in the right place, their individual and team contributions were excellent as was their personal skill sets all were able to walk the talk with no trouble.
The guides were amazing…..excellent in fact. Particular mention has to go to Mark. He is as solid and reliable and friendly as you could ever wish for. Nothing was too much for him – even with a stinking cold towards the end, he was ever present and friendly. The image of him at the top of Col Agnel in gale force words and horizontal rain, packing bikes into the trailer will stay with me for a long time.
The other guides were all excellent and genuinely could not do enough. They made the trip very easy and all we had to do was concentrate on riding our bikes.
I was captivated from the first by the notion of historically themed epic cycling journeys, but I had no idea about the level of real support that Sam and his team was going to provide. Our journey was certainly epic in every way; the daily distances stretched me physically and we were unlucky to cop some really wet weather during the first weeks of the tour. The support really amazed me. There were days when we arrived at our destination soaked and nearly done in, but our bikes were whisked away for clean up and we were met with enthusiastic congratulations from the team and snacks and drinks for an immediate pick-me-up. This was always followed by utter relaxation in wonderful accommodation and great food. On the ride itself, the bike guides were a revelation to me. The last part of the climb to the Gotthardt was looking a bit grim until a smiling face appeared at my side and suggested a pause for a photo opportunity might just let me catch my breath. Despite being the last rider at the col who wanted to make the cold descent in the mist, companion riders and guides all encouraged me to go for it.
Despite having had a “one in a century event” as far as the amount of rainfall is concerned (there have been record floods in this part of the world), and precipitation for 5 out of the past 6 days, everyone is still in good spirits and, if anything, the sense of a group identity is stronger than ever. This in itself is a fine testament to both Sam’s organisation and the great team he has put together to support us. And the service in making sure all our bikes are cleaned up, re-lubed, and with gears tuned each morning – often in the rain – through these days of inclement weather has been magnificent. Through it all, Sam has remained totally unfazed and this has helped us all through. With the fantastically conceived historical nature of this trip, the brilliant route and wonderful accommodation as well – not to mention Sam’s excellent historical interpretations – it’s hard to imagine a more interesting, rewarding and challenging tour.
As a 65 yr old with 2 metal hips, I joined Sam’s very first Hannibal tour, with some appreciable trepidation. But any misgivings I might have entertained dissipated quickly. Stunning views, friendly and ever helpful guides, scrumptious local fare and excellent accommodation more than compensated for the fading grumblings of an initially reluctant body. By the 3rd day all fatigue was forgotten as I made friends with riders from very different backgrounds, learnt some useful lingo and soaked up sights, smells and history of a most interesting part of the World.
Sam did a faultless job running the tour from the hotels to the food, the support, the hire bikes and the incredible history of Hannibal along the way, I cannot imagine how it could have been executed any better. The guides were professional, dedicated, friendly and supportive. Their experience shone through and is their greatest asset.
I already have my next epic tour planned, and it wont be the last.
The Hannibal Expedition has been the major riding highlight of my 20-year riding career. The scenery, food wine and accommodation were something I have no hesitation in recommending. For me, the greatest plus was achieving the challenge the Hannibal Expedition’s thoughtfully crafted route provides. Plenty of personal challenge, in beautiful and historic countries, with almost no traffic. What more could you ask for.
The guides? What a team! On and off the bike the guys could not have been better. Their focus was on ensuring that everyone was safe and enjoying themselves. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble. They handled sometimes difficult situations , with grace, and good humour. And as an added bonus Mark and Dirk’s photography is simply stunning. So I’ve done 2 epic trips now, thoroughly indulged and enjoyed myself both times.
Max, Sam and Mark, what a trip! The finest food and wine from France, the best roads of Germany, Polish castles, new age Baltic states, and behind the romance of Russia. We did more than follow Napoleon’s footsteps, we opened up a new world. My life is enriched because of the 2015 Napoleon tour.
Sam, a fantastic tour for the adventurous with the usual epic adventure standards – well researched, great accommodation and meals and the best of guides and support. This tour has a variety of landscapes, terrain, cultures and is filled with history both ancient and modern. There wasn’t a day when I thought I’d prefer to be somewhere else.
Sam, Max, and Mark, thanks guys, in your role as tour operators and guides your professionalism, work rate, attention to detail and commitment was second to none.
Sam, your team did a magnificent job in the planning & executing of this tour – the castles, chateaux, monasteries & mansions we stayed in were amazing ( who could forget Ziggy?)!
What an amazing holiday! You can eat and drink as much as you like and you still go home fitter and trimmer than when you left! Wait till Woman’s Weekly or Cosmo hear about this holiday! You guys’ll be booked solid till early retirement. This was undoubtedly the best long weekend of my life so far. I’ll be back next year for at the very least a full stage, if not more! My legs look forward to cashing this cheque which my hand is currently writing!
The guides on the Hannibal Expedition were excellent. They are excellent organisers, who think ahead, and are always looking to make the best possible experience for the riders, whether this be making sure the bikes are in top condition, or the picnics lunch is in “the spot”, or the evening meal is an experience to remember. The guides are happy to answer to questions on the route, and change things as weather or circumstance require. Sam’s historical knowledge and has willingness to share this knowledge really added to the trip.
I am very much looking forward to riding with them again.
This was by far the most fun I have had on a bike. It was a pretty stern physical test for me, and thus perfect. I eyed off the van once or twice but never had to get in it. Lovely places and lovely routes that you would never find by yourself, and all fully supported.
Hannibal Barca, the wily Carthaginian General, was a fine strategist and leader. His attempt to conquer Rome by taking war elephants across the Alps was a real feat. If you wish to ride across the Alps, in fine style, without the support of war elephants, then you should sign up for this tour. They are great operators and their tour is first class.
It is a rare thing to experience something that changes your perspective on life permanently, even more rare when that something is a choice, and not a challenge that life has forced upon you.
The Hannibal Tour did just that, it changed my perspective on life. I started the tour with very high expectations, to see the best of Europe, to make friends, to challenge myself physically. What it achieved was well beyond this. The Hannibal Tour covered some of the most extraordinary landscape I will ever see, including times when I truly was on top of the world. Meeting the physical challenge of 26 days of cycling when I have never in my life before been a cyclist has left me with an incredible belief that anything is possible in life. I have made lifelong friends from across the globe. On this tour, I felt more alive than I had since I was a kid. We all laughed hard, ate and drank like kings, and at the top of the Alps I cried with joy. And all this, from the seat of a bicycle.
Sam had obviously put a lot of time and effort into researching and organising the Hannibal Epic. The detail in the planning is obvious from the start and resulted in a magnificent experience every day. The hotels, restaurants, routes, lunch stops including several picnics, coffee breaks and extras such as wine tastings and farmhouse meals were superb. An added feature of their tours is the historical aspect which was regularly explained to us in regard to our location. I feel very lucky to have found this tour and to have been able to participate as it was challenging, unforgettable and a great opportunity to meet other like minded cyclists and create new friendships. It was hard coming home after such a unique experience. Thank you Sam.
To go on a trip that has congruency with the challenge of the ride -the epic and the history, gastronomy, the culture, the landscapes and to provide such intelligent support is amazing . I loved it, felt challenged, gave myself to the whole experience and have no criticisms, just grateful for a marvellous trip.
The 25 days I spent on the road with Sam was the best month I have had in my life. To be able to travel through Spain, France and Italy, and to see, do, eat and enjoy so much, was a real privilege. Sam eliminates any stress that may come with such a huge undertaking. Really, all you have to do is keep pedalling and not lose control of your bike when you pinch yourself to check you are not actually dreaming.