Taste of Tasmania: Ten day tour in Tesla Model S85, powered by renewables

This is the second in a two-part series from our intrepid Tesla adventurer. The first part of this article was published on January 20, 2016. Click on Marc’s byline to see other tours.
Strahan to Queenstown, Derwent Bridge, Miena, Symmons Plain Raceway, St. Helens and Coles Bay
This was by far the longest day trip, about 450km with lots of windy roads and including about 35 km of unsealed gravel road. Starting early morning, we had a first break in Queenstown, visited the old railway station and walked in what felt as a ghost town due to the copper mine operation halt. At “Iron Blow Lookout” we viewed an eerie landscape in the midst of mining cites.
Next, we made a stop to have a superb walk to the Nelson Falls followed by a brunch at Derwent Bridge where we had a good chat with the owner of the Derwent Bridge Hotel who appeared to be super motivated to have a Tesla Destination charger installed.
Going further east we had a stop in Miena and wanted to drive towards Poatina and Longford following the road passing between the lakes but our Tesla navigator suddenly felt that wasn’t a good idea and tried to divert us northwards with an extra warning to drive slow as the distance via the selected road increased from 98 to 130km while the remaining range was 132km.
When I insisted to follow my human navigation skill, the Tesla NAV remained stubborn and even stopped working once we were on the unsealed road that seemed to lack in the NAVs data set. Further on, when connecting back to the sealed we got a warning that we didn’t have enough range till the NAV recognized which shorter road we were following.
Once past the Great Lakes area, the road descended steeply and thanks to the regenerative breaking we won back about 20km of range, finally ending up with >50km of range left when arriving at the Symmons Plains Race Course where we topped-up the batteries using their 3 phase socket 32A.


Eerie landscape at Iron Blow Lookout
Eerie landscape at Iron Blow Lookout


Nelson Falls walk & Frenchman Cap walk
Nelson Falls walk & Frenchman Cap walk

On the way to Miena and the Great Lakes
On the way to Miena and the Great Lakes

IMHO the Symmons Plain Race Course located at the N-S-W-E crossroads of Tasmania would be an ideal location for a couple of 3 phase “Transfer chargers” or even better some DC fast chargers such as the Tritium Veefil or Tesla supercharger. The local grounds supervisor was convinced that Motorsports Tasmania, the owner of the circuit would welcome this.
Two hours charging at Symmons Plain RC was enough for a refreshment/picnic and increased our range to 270 km. We then continued further east towards St. Helens and later to Coles Bay at the doorstep of the Freycinet National Park.
For the next 2 days we really enjoyed our walks in Freycinet NP where we did the 11km Wineglass Bay/Hazards Beach circuit, the Sleepy Bay + Little Gravelly Beach circuit, Cape Tourville and the Friendly beaches where we even spotted the Coles Bay Emu!
Again, the weather gods were very favourable to us because the day after we made our 11km walk via the Wineglass Bay lookout the track was closed due to fire danger.
Hobart, Huon Valley:
From Coles Bay we travelled via Swansea and Triabunna to Hobart and finally to Berriedale, home of the fantastic MONA museum that attracted 330,700 visitors in 2015, a whopping 29% of all Tasmania visitors! Created by David Walsh, a lot has been written about the museum and for me it was one of the highlights of our Tasmania trip.
We replenished our Tesla batteries using one of the 2 Tesla Destination Chargers installed by the owners of the museum and met John Casimaty, the owner of Tesla Limousine & Tours based in Hobart.
The same evening we went to the Salamanca market area in Hobart and walked a good part of the Battery Point Historic Walking Tour. Definitely there some stunningly beautiful historic residences to see there!


Hobart – Mt. Wellington
Hobart – Mt. Wellington

For the next day the weather forecast promised temperatures up to 33C in Hobart so we decided to wake up timely and drive to the top of Mt. Wellington.
Along the way we saw quite some courageous cyclists who also decided to do the climb before the upcoming heat. They sympathised with us as they noticed the difference being passed by a rather silent car that didn’t subject them to a cloudy exhaust.
Climbing to the top, our Tesla dashboard screen showed a trip consumption of 504 Wh/km. I noticed that on the last 12km uphill we lost 30km of range but then again, the regenerative braking helped us to claw back 15km on the descend ! At the top it was only 18C when we arrived but the wind was turning and started to bring in hot air from the North while we walked some of the tracks.
Descending towards Longley we went off track to stock some local grown tasty cherries, raspberries and gooseberries from a “heritage farm” that we consumed and shared with a cyclist and the bar tender at the historic Longley Tavern answering their questions about our Tesla and Tasmania adventure.
Meantime, temperature already had increased over a palpable 30C while we were showing the intricacies and features of the Model S. As a token of appreciation, we got a “surprise tourist tip” from the locals about a nearby swimming hole…which given the heat was a welcome tip.


We then headed further south to Huonville to stroll around, see the local market and have a picnic at a cool spot in the shade along the Huon River.
Going further south, we did a 30 min battery top-up at the sports grounds in Franklin and continued to Ida Bay – Southport to have a ride on the historic railway. But bummer, we arrived 10 min late to catch the last train ride (blame it on the swimming hole) and it was also too late to go to the Hastings Caves or do the Skywalk close to Geeveston. Thanks to a bit of a thunderstorm and rain temp. had now dropped to 21C.
Returning earlier to Hobart than expected, we took the slow route via Huonville, Cygnet, Verona Sands and Woodbridge absorbing panoramas and sea views along this route and finished our day trip in beauty with a top-tasty pizza. Anyone loving a good pizza prepared in an authentic large wood fired Pizza oven should make a stop at the Margate Woodfire Pizza Cafe & Take Away!


Hobart to Longford and the “Heritage Highway”
Before leaving Hobart we still went to meet Rob Manson, Managing Director at “I want Energy” a renewable energy company that is one of the founding members of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Association. Rob owns a Tesla Model S and is a local pioneer in the field of renewable energy strongly promoting EVs.


Going north, we wanted to go back in time in the footsteps of some famous pioneers, enterprising wool growers, convicts, adventurers, opportunists and other early settlers. The best way is to visit some villages that were established during the early colonisation of Tasmania.
One of the heritage villages that will stay engraved in our memory is Oatlands, with its many old sandstone buildings and the Callington Mill, the 3rd oldest windmill in Australia.


The Kentish Hotel has great food and is fully decorated with old cinematographic equipment, memorabilia from past movies and older ICE cars. When I winked to the management saying these car memorabilia will become relics soon, they asked why, and I pointed to our car outside saying the future is 100% electric!
I suddenly got their full attention…as they hadn’t seen a Tesla till then. Immediately the word was spreading, again there was an opportunity to introduce the Tesla and I was asked in a friendly manner to do some short demo rides!
We left the place only after bargaining with the friendly staff to buy some of their older table placemats which we felt were quite peculiar….to become our own memorabilia.
More pictures of heritage buildings in Oatlands can be viewed here, the village is absolutely worth a visit!
Arriving in Longford, we were warmly welcomed by our Air BNB host Catherine. Her place is just 100m away from the entrance of the Longford showgrounds where there are several appropriate 3 phase power sockets available for charging upon application. Catherine has transformed an older chapel building next to her house into a self-contained lodging!
There is also an alternative place to stay located next to the showgrounds which is the Racecourse Inn, a charming former Georgian coaching inn established in 1838, recently refurbished and operating as a bed and breakfast.


We met the owners of this historic B&B who recently bought the place and refurbished it. Both are very environmentally minded and they are very keen to install a Tesla Destination Charger!
If you stay with Catherine you should be aware that she is an official guide for the nearby Woolmers Estate and if you apply timely she’ll be happy to accompany you on your visit there. Her knowledge about the Estate is vast and detailed and I’ll bet you that you will be baffled by what she will show you.
Very unique for this National Heritage Place is that you can see a number of rooms with all furniture and features that were untouched for more than 70 years! Please check this introduction on a) Woolmers Estate and b) the Woolmers Rose Garden!


When in Longford, also go for a stroll through Wellington St. and Marlborough St. with many heritage buildings and take a snack at the historic JJ’s Bakery & Old Mill Café!
Longford is also the place where we planned to meet Damon, Shinta and Damon’s brother who just travelled from Melbourne to Devonport to have a 2 weeks Tesla trip in Tasmania.


From Longford, we also organized a visit to Launceston but we must honestly say that for us as tourists we were more charmed by the Woolmers Estate as compared to what we saw in Launceston.
Back to Devonport and the Ferry of Tasmania:
On our way to Devonport we stopped in Moriarty and Latrobe. Why Moriarty? On our first day in Tasmania we met Neville, who joined the AEVA members at Woolnorth Wind Farm. He introduced himself as “Neville the Tasmanian Devil” and strongly expressed his wish for us to visit their farm in Moriarty.
Neville is really a unique personality, 85 years old, plentiful of joy and energy and with an insatiable interest in Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX.
Neville took my spouse for a joyride in his UV and demonstrated the different e-bikes that he assembled in his shed! Than he took off on one of his e-bikes for a demo ride that nearly made my heart stop!


Preparing for a cherry orgy before leaving Tasmania

To Neville’s and our regret, we had to say goodbye and quickly went to Anvers Chocolate Factory to have a last top-up of the batteries using their Tesla destination charger in the backyard and take the chance for a degustation of their produce.


Finishing our much filled but extremely rewarding trip we finally headed to Devonport Terminal to queue for driving onto the Spirit of Tasmania ferry bringing us back to Melbourne.
Please realize that our electrified journey and enriching experience became possible not only through the positive interaction with and goodwill from people we engaged with, but as well through all people that over time created and improved transport infrastructure, lodging facilities, etc…
That includes those pioneers that came to Tasmania more than 150 years ago and initially created those villages and shaped the land sometimes in spite of the original habitants for certain areas. Everyone, whatever the reason they ended up in Tasmania was or is seeking a better life for themselves and the next generation.
Seeking a better and sustainable life, also for the sake of next generations we must electrify transportation and EV tourism may be a good way to start it in Tasmania where a combination with renewable energy is obvious and easier to achieve.
Thanks to Elon Musk and his Tesla team we can now drive a high tech EV with full comfort and authorities should realize that they are now taking on the challenge of making EVs mainstream. The smaller Tesla Model 3 long range EV is expected to sell in the US for 30K USD and will be presented to the public in the next months.
We hope that the Tasmanian authorities can see the benefits of EVs for tourism transport all the way creating jobs in multiple sectors and supporting the pioneers who can make it happen!


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