Hello and welcome to "Chainsaw Bob's" 2008 Devil Island Cruise
Thank you all for your great response to what we hope will be a fantastic couple of days spent cruising around north-east Tasmania. We have 68 registered entries and look forward to meeting you or re-acquainting ourselves with each of you along the way.
The cruise has been organised as a way of traveling to the Nationals in a loosely organised group that not only offers safety in numbers, but also as a way of meeting others and having some fun along the way.
Tasmania is truly a beautiful part of our country and you'll be traveling through some very picturesque parts of Tasmania's North East, enjoying what this area has to offer such as the beautiful Freycinet Peninsula and Wine Glass Bay. There are plenty of wineries, antique shops and bakeries to visit as well as other interesting places such as waterfalls and even a beer drinking pig at the Pub in a Paddock. There are also many other attractions, and I suggest that you gather as much tourist information as possible and work out all the things that you'd like see and do as you travel around. Remember that your only goal is to make it to your next overnight destination. You'll be able take your time as the distance between our overnight destinations is reasonably short which allows us all plenty of time to stop, see and visit what suits us.
As you are aware, all the proceeds raised from the cruise are donated to charity, and to this end we would ask, encourage, beg, plead, insist, that everyone bring along something of value that we could sell at an auction scheduled for Wednesday evening (19 March) at the St Helens RSL. The item doesn't have to be new or expensive - it may be something that you have laying around that you have no further use for - it may even be a gift that you were given that you really didn't like or never used or something you've made by hand.
Sunday, 16 March Rich River Rod Run, Echuca - leaves 2.30pm SHARP
We'll join with cruisers from Jenko's Sin City Cruise for our journey south to catch the ferry from Melbourne to Devonport. During this leg of the journey there'll be a mixture of interstate and local Victorian cars. Most Victorian cars will know the way, so for all of the interstate cruisers it will be a good idea to try and keep a Victorian car in your sights as they'll be able to lead the way.
Please note that Melbourne's freeways are littered with speed cameras, some are hidden and there are other cameras that will time your speed between two points ... take care you have been warned!!!
Our meeting point will be on the corner of the Northern Hwy (B75) and the Murray Valley Hwy (B400). There's a large roundabout and a service station on this corner which will give us all the opportunity to fuel up for the journey to Melbourne. The cruise will travel along the Northern Hwy. Once we reach Elmore and at almost the end of town you'll need to make a left turn onto the Midland Hwy (A300). You'll travel a short distance about 1 km and then turn right picking up the Northern Hwy (B75) again which links up with the McIvor Hwy (B75) which joins the Hume Hwy taking you all the way into Melbourne.
Once you reach Melbourne there are two ways to get to Port Melbourne. The first is via the Tullamarine Freeway which is a toll road and you'lll need either an etag (please note that interstate etags work on Victorian freeways, so if you have one bring it along) or purchase a day pass from City Link @ $11.45 (phone 13 26 29). You can purchase a day pass before or after using the toll road but don't forget because if you do you'll receive a $100 fine. The other option is to stay on the Western Ring Road and follow the signs to Melbourne. This way is free to use, but will add another 10-12 kms to your journey. Considering that we are leaving Echuca at 2.30pm, we would expect to be at the dock at about 5.30pm, the ring road might be the better option if we look like arriving into Melbourne early and you don't mind traveling a few extra kms. But if you're running late due to an unforeseen circumstance, the toll road is your quickest and best option.
Sunday, 16 March Spirit of Tasmania to Devonport
Check in will commence at 6.30pm and boarding will commence at 7.30pm. Check in and boarding will both close at 8.15pm (45min prior to departure). There are several restaurants, a pub and a couple of fish and chip shops at the entrance to Station Pier at Port Melbourne. My advice and if time allows, is to take some time out and have dinner or go for a cruise around St Kilda before you check in. Please note that TT line fill up the top deck of the ship first so if you get on too early, you'll be first on but last off. Where possible, ask the guys directing you to be put on the lower deck - this will ensure that you disembark first. The ship has a couple of bars and a couple of restaurants, so if you're running late a meal is available on board. For any further info regarding the Spirit of Tasmania telephone1800 634 906. It may also be a good idea to check your booking prior to leaving home.
Day 1 Overnight stay at Bicheno
Monday, 17 March
At the Devonport dock, meet up with our fellow cruisers who have traveled over on Sunday's day sailing.
Once you pass through quarantine (no fruit allowed), turn right you will see fellow rodders waiting in the car park. The idea is for us all to group up and leave the dock at the same time. From here on we'll be heading south for approx half an hour turning off the highway to Deloraine. Here the local guys from The Van Diemens Hot Rod Club have generously offered to put on breakfast for a minimal cost. Once we leave the highway follow the signs to Deloraine. You will travel through the main shopping strip and turn right over a small bridge, continue on for approx 1km until you spot a member of the Van Diemens who will give you directions to the breakfast venue.
Once you've finished your breakfast you're on your own. I'd suggest keeping off the main highway and heading out along the Great Western Tiers Tourist Route to our evening's stopover at Bicheno. You'll be passing through towns such as Westbury, Hagley, Carrick and Longford until you reach Campbell Town where you'll turn left and head out along Lake Leake Road. This route is quite windy and is a good opportunity for those drivers who wish to hone their cornering skills. Don't forget car sickness tablets for those vulnerable ones!! Total driving time is estimated at around 4 hours from Devonport to Bicheno in total - this does not factor in our breakfast stop, lunch, bathroom, collectible/antique shops or sightseeing stops along the way! Enjoy your journey and have a great day.
As there is very limited options for meals in Bicheno, our entertainment for this evening will centre around a meal in the bistro attached to the Beachfront at Bicheno Motel. Because our group is a reasonable size, the hotel has requested that we stagger our meal orders. The kitchen starts taking orders from 6pm and finishes around ??? (8pm). We have refrained from having two sittings as we feel that this would be difficult to monitor, but we have requested a number of long tables for our group so that we can all sit together and chat while enjoying our meals once you have finished your meals please make the table free for others to use and hopefully this will help to relieve any issues if there is a delay in the provision of meals. I am sure that bistro staff would appreciate it if we didn't all land in there at the stroke of 6pm! Please be patient as it may be very busy.
In the morning and if you don't decide to have breakfast at your overnight accommodation, the Blue Edge Bakery on the main street in Bicheno is a great place for breakfast, serving great tasting coffee, bakery goods as well as light breakfasts. Ian, the owner is going to put together some breakfast specials just for us.
Day 2 Overnight stay at St Helens
Tuesday, 18 March
Staying at Bicheno gives you the opportunity to explore Coles Bay, Swansea and the Freycinet Peninsula which is about 25 kms south of Bicheno. There is some 'back-tracking' but it is well worth it. You can do all this exploring before heading to St Helens. Again, this road is windy but a good quality road surface.
Now here's a tip and for those interested, it involves a small detour but from all reports it's well worth the effort to visit the 'Pancake Barn' in Elephant Pass. Their sweet and savoury pancakes are reported to be the best in the world - big statement but apparently true!! You'll need to make a left turn at Chain of Lagoons and travel toward St Marys for approx 8 km along the Elephant Pass Road to reach the restaurant.
Tonight we have organized an evening meal at the local RSL Club. reasonably priced meals are available at the venue which is capable of seating us all comfortably. There will be a charity auction at this venue as the dining room has a small stage and would be perfect for this purpose. We encourage you to bring along something to auction on the night. Remember - all profits raised will go to the Young People in Nursing Homes National Alliance. You'll have the opportunity to buy something that you never thought you wanted or get rid of something that you thought might come in handy one day!! (Wives, husbands, girl/boy friends and small children are not eligible to auction, sorry.)
All proceeds from this run will be going to Young People in Nursing Homes National Alliance. This focus of this charity is the development of accommodation and support services in the community that enable young people with high and complex support needs to have 'lives worth living' of dignity and independence. We ask you all to bid enthusiastically please.
Day 3 Overnight stay at Devonport
Wednesday, 19 March
Wednesday morning you can leave St Helens in your own good time as your only mission is to make it back to Devonport to greet the ship on Thursday morning, register with the Nationals Program and join in the fun.
With the very generous help of Steve Clarke, we will be visiting the working lighthouse at Low Head. Steve also suggests that a visit to the Pilot Station is also worthwhile. It's located about 1km on the left before you reach the lighthouse. As well as this tour, there are plenty of other things to stop, see and do along the way such as visiting the Pub in the Paddock and giving "Priscilla" the beer drinking pig a pot. There is also Pyengana Cheese Factory and Café and waterfalls to marvel over.
Low Head Lighthouse Tour Open from 1pm till 3pm
Upon arrival at the George Town turn off, turn right and travel through George Town and on to Low Head - just keep following the road until it reaches Bass Strait - you will then have reached the Low Head light house. A fellow rodder, and all round good guy, Steve Clarke will be there to greet you and give you a personal tour of this working light house. This is indeed a privilege as working lighthouses are normally strictly off limits to the general public. Part of the deal in getting the tour approved was that the managers the facility would not be held responsible for any injuries that may occur during your visit. Therefore should you wish to enter the light house you will be doing so at YOUR OWN RISK so please be careful once inside. We also urge you to stagger your arrival time as there is a limit to the number of people who'll be able to enter the lighthouse at any one time.
After your tour of the lighthouse, turn back and head south (A8) until you reach a turn off to the right to Sidmouth (B73) which will take you over a bridge to the west side of the Tamar River. Once you reach the main road (A7) travel south to Exeter or take a detour and turn right to visit Beaconsfield which is only a short distance (about 4kms). There's a museum there you can visit or you may just want to see where it all happened. Upon arrival in Exeter you'll turn right and follow the highway (B71) back to Devonport. Today's travel route will also take you through some of best wine growing regions in Australia so take your time and enjoy what this region has to offer. Again I urge you to take your time, study the maps and any tourist information you may have gathered along the way and enjoy your day as there's plenty to see and do.
More info can be found at www.discovertasmania.com
Upon arrival in Devonport, find your accommodation then at 6pm meet at the McDonalds car park in the centre of town (you'll be able to spot McDonalds from the ship when it docks). From here the guys from The Challengers Hot Rod Club will meet with us and we'll cruise out to their club rooms in Ulverston which is approx a 15 minute drive. They have invited us to enjoy their facilities and have organized a BBQ for us at a small fee.
The following day you may want to get up early (Thursday morning) to watch the boat dock and see the 2008 Street Rod Nationals get underway.
Today is the official end of the Chainsaw Bob 2008 Devil Island Cruise. Deb and I trust you all enjoyed your trip and that you made some new friends that will remain friends for many years to come.
I'd like to say thank you to all those who joined me on the journey and for generously donating something for us to sell at our charity auction or purchasing an item that interested you. The money raised will be put to good use and will be very much appreciated by the Young People in Nursing Homes National Alliance.
Did you know that more than 7,000 young Australians with acquired disabilities live in aged care nursing homes because they have nowhere else to go? Thousands more live in the community and are at risk of placement in aged care facilities. The Young People In Nursing Homes National Alliance is a national organisation that promotes the rights of young disabled Australians with high and complex support needs living in residential aged care facilities (or at risk of placement there), to have a choice about where they live and how they are supported.
Focus is the development of accommodation and support services in the community that enable young people with high and complex support needs to have 'lives worth living' of dignity and independence.
Deb and I thought that this charity was not widely acknowledged or generally supported in the community, and we felt that it was a very worthwhile cause for our cruise donation this year. The final tally will be posted on the LGC website shortly after the Nationals has concluded.
I'd also like to thank our sponsors and ask that you support them whenever you can - they are good people and deserve your support. Thanks to the members and families of The Van Diemens and Challengers Hot Rod Clubs. Sally and Kevin Scagliotti from SS Marketing who have kindly donated all of the samples that you will receive on our cruise.
A big thank you also goes to Chris 'Jenko' Jenkins and his lovely wife Deb, for hosting the "Sin City" leg of the cruise. Thanks to Steve Clarke who went out on a limb to arrange the Low Head lighthouse tour. I'm sure most of you would know how difficult it can be dealing with the 'Authorities' (our request had to go to Canberra to get final approval). Thanks also to the guys and gals from Let's Go Cruisin' for offering their generous support.
Last, but not least my partner Deb, who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes arranging accommodation, liaising with tourist organizations and generally helping putting this cruise together.
None of this would have been possible without the people, clubs, organizations and sponsors. You are all champions and should be proud of your efforts - you too, deserve a pat on the back!
"Chainsaw" Bob Pankhurst
Who to contact
Bob Pankhurst, Chris Jenkins or Alan Newton
Sin City to Devil Island Cruise Map
Devil Island Cruise Map