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Thommo66

Tassie drive: Launceston to St.Helens via Scottsdale & Derby

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To all you Taswegians and Targa-Tas fans that have done the road trip between Launceston - Scottsdale - Derby - St.Helens in recent times can you please let me know your thoughts on " GTS moments " or fun factor on taking that route as opposed to the faster route (Midland or National Hwy 1 to Hobart ) and turn-off at Conara junction and via St.Mary's pass ?

I have done the latter route from L'ton airport to St.Helens numerous times so I know that road well and know what to expect.

I know that the via Scottsdale route is a bit longer and has alot more twists and turns but not sure whether the section from Derby to St.Helens is so windy with log trucks etc that it becomes annoying as opposed to a fun enjoyable drive in the P.

Any feedback would be great.  thanks

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1 hour ago, Thommo66 said:

To all you Taswegians and Targa-Tas fans that have done the road trip between Launceston - Scottsdale - Derby - St.Helens in recent times can you please let me know your thoughts on " GTS moments " or fun factor on taking that route as opposed to the faster route (Midland or National Hwy 1 to Hobart ) and turn-off at Conara junction and via St.Mary's pass ?

I have done the latter route from L'ton airport to St.Helens numerous times so I know that road well and know what to expect.

I know that the via Scottsdale route is a bit longer and has alot more twists and turns but not sure whether the section from Derby to St.Helens is so windy with log trucks etc that it becomes annoying as opposed to a fun enjoyable drive in the P.

Any feedback would be great.  thanks

@Thommo66, must say I haven't driven that part for a little while, and usually did it the other way (coming back to Lonnie from St Helens), but in the numerous trips I've done that way I don;t think I've ever come across any log trucks either way.  Probably these days, and particularly if on a Friday, you're probably more likely to get caught up behind a camper or caravan with a heap of mountain bikes, or a Subaru full of mountain bikers tootling along as they make their way to Derby for the Blue Derby mountain bike trails.

Depending on your departure point, the 2 routes are quite similar in distance, although certainly Scottsdale is much slower.  I can remember before the very first Targa I drove the 308GTB I was driving in that Targa and pressing quite hard, it took me the same time as a nice easy drive back via St Marys.  Those were the days before everything was pace-noted to within an inch of its life...

I no longer go to St Helens for work, but I have driven the Boxster that way a couple of times now, and it is a most enjoyable drive, but I do say I much prefer going up St Marys Pass rather than up the Elephant Pass.

Now, if  you had a little extra time, then I'd go to St Helens via Campbell Town / Lake Leake Highway / Bicheno and up to St Helens (you could even go up the Elephant Pass - stopping at the Mt Elephant Pancake Barn of course - and then down St Marys Pass).  I've got to say that Lake Leake Highway was where I started to fully appreciate the dynamics of my 996, lots of fast, long, open corners with some long straights, and I think sections of the road between Bicheno and the bottom of Elephant Pass will rival anything you'll find on the Great Ocean Road.  Of course, you'd be chancing the wallopers not anywhere along the route.....

Let us know when you're coming and we might be able to find a couple of people to go with you if you'd like

cheers

Peter

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32 minutes ago, TwoHeadsTas said:

Now, if  you had a little extra time, then I'd go to St Helens via Campbell Town / Lake Leake Highway / Bicheno and up to St Helens (you could even go up the Elephant Pass - stopping at the Mt Elephant Pancake Barn of course - and then down St Marys Pass).  I've got to say that Lake Leake Highway was where I started to fully appreciate the dynamics of my 996, lots of fast, long, open corners with some long straights, and I think sections of the road between Bicheno and the bottom of Elephant Pass will rival anything you'll find on the Great Ocean Road. 

Thx @TwoHeadsTas I appreciate the guidance.  I had not even thought of the Campbell Town / Lake Leake highway.   I will actually be heading to St.Helens ( folks are retired at Binalong Bay 10k's from St.H ) via Devonport after arriving on the ferry.  So, heading to Campbell Town first means that I will take a bit of a longer route by-passing the turn off at Conara as you know which would take me through Avoca and Fingal, St.Mary's etc.    My perception of the Lake Leake road was that it was possibly going to be a very bumpy ride in the Turbo which has little clearance but if you rate it highly I may change my mind.  

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1 hour ago, Thommo66 said:

Thx @TwoHeadsTas I appreciate the guidance.  I had not even thought of the Campbell Town / Lake Leake highway.   I will actually be heading to St.Helens ( folks are retired at Binalong Bay 10k's from St.H ) via Devonport after arriving on the ferry.  So, heading to Campbell Town first means that I will take a bit of a longer route by-passing the turn off at Conara as you know which would take me through Avoca and Fingal, St.Mary's etc.    My perception of the Lake Leake road was that it was possibly going to be a very bumpy ride in the Turbo which has little clearance but if you rate it highly I may change my mind.  

Nah, overall Lake Leake is a very smooth road, Tasman Highway up the coast probably a bit rougher.  Would probably add an hour or so to the trip.  Or, do a separate trip  - BB, St Marys, Conara, Campbell Town (coffee @ Zeps), Lake Leake down to Swansea for lunch, back up through Bicheno to St Marys via Elephant Pass, stopping at Mt Elephant Pancake Barn for coffee & pancakes, down St Marys Pass back to BB.  Might run into some local P cars too - mate has a 997 at Beaumaris, there's some other stuff floating around St Helens too.  Just found out there's a mechanic in the industrial estate who did his time at Hamiltons and worked in a couple of dealerships, not sure of his name, but John said he fixed some long niggling faults on his 997.  AT BB you might also run into to John McCormack who many will recall as a motor racing legend - there's a mini-tribute wall to him in the Bakery next to the BP in St Helens.  Also, new restaurant opened at Queechy cottages getting some good wraps, haven't been down since to try it, but good reports.

PCT will be doing our annual Economy Run from Campbell Town to Swansea via Lake Leake on Sunday 26th August, followed by our AGM at Baek Mill at Swansea, so probably not too much high speed hooning that day, don;t know if that will co-incide with your visit...

Enjoy

And, if you went the Campbell Town option on the way down there, instead of going through to Perth, turn off at Longford, go out through Cressy, and through the back roads to Campbell Town - GPS should lead you.  Lots of open, straight rural roads which might prove to be a quicker trip than down the Midland 😋

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10 hours ago, TwoHeadsTas said:

PCT will be doing our annual Economy Run from Campbell Town to Swansea via Lake Leake on Sunday 26th August, followed by our AGM at Baek Mill at Swansea, so probably not too much high speed hooning that day, don;t know if that will co-incide with your visit...

There would be if I was going!! Not a lot of point of "fuel economy" in a 928....

But seriously any road either through mountains/ hills or on the coast will give you a pretty good drive in Tas, we are blessed in that way :)

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1 hour ago, ANF said:

There would be if I was going!! Not a lot of point of "fuel economy" in a 928....

 

Actually, I remember that from last year........

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Thanks all ... @TwoHeadsTas for the detailed response.  Looking forward to it.  Actually heading over with a mate for the Tas Whisky Trail around Hobart with a detour to East coast along the way to check in on the oldies and eat some of the best oysters you can get.  Nothing like Tassie for amazing high quality tucker and will get to sample some great drops of the amber gold as well ! 

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New Whisky distilleries in Lonnie now - one just officially released it's first barrels a couple of weeks ago - Launceston Distillery actually based in an old Ansett hanger at the airport.  Sister has a couple barrels, as has a mate who did most of the electrical work, and has just about finished putting an engine in a 986 he bought with a stuffed engine.

Enjoy.....

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@Thommo66, Launceston Distillery a sell out, as informed by electrican mate this morning.   Believe tastings may still be available though.

If you end up taking the Frankford Highway when you're off the boat, you have the opportunity to drive at least 1 Targa Tas stage - Holwell is pretty good, just a little diversion requiring a drive back from Beaconsfield, but if you decide to go via Scottsdale you can cut across the Batman Bridge and get to Scottsdale via a couple of alternatives, including Bridport Road (very good wineries), or through to Lilydale (more very good wineries) and on to Scottsdale....

Another thought depending on timing - Triple J One Night Stand is on in St Helens on 1st September.  If your trip happens to be on, or either side of that date, expect a very slow trip whichever route you take.......

cheers

Peter

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@TwoHeadsTas  I've been offline for swamped with work.  Just looping back to say thanks for all your tips. 

It's been awhile ago now but in summary I can report that it was an awesome trip.  Only exception being 5m swells across Bass Strait there and back which was not pleasant.  I had visions of the turbo being battered against the ship hull and other cars :)   Nothing of the sort of course.

Took route from Devonport to L'ton for brekky and then via Newstead across to Derby which was an awesome drive through to St.Helens with the exception of some very narrow sections over the very top for about 5-10k's.  East Coast drive down through Bicheno and Swansea to Orford was effortless and most of the fun was to be had between that section to Port Sorell.  I really opened her up and not a Mr.Plod in sight all the way to Hobart.  Lots of fun ! 

Founders Night whisky trail at Glass House was sensational with Bill Lark, Pat McGuire - Sullivans Cove as well as Overeem and Hellyers.  All top class.  Next night we did it all over again but extended to a bunch of new Gin distillers as well which seems to be the latest craze.  Sensational product and all put together really well.  Highly recommend ! 

Gotta love Tassie !  ... will do West Coast drive next time.

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