By pil­lion to the pin­na­cle of de­light

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - MARGIE COLE

Un­til a few years ago, I hadn’t been on a mo­tor­bike since I was about 18, which feels like sev­eral life­times ago. But with a change of cir­cum­stances, my part­ner bought a Har­ley-David­son. So there was I, in my mid-50s, be­com­ing a pil­lion pas­sen­ger again — and on some­thing far big­ger than that lit­tle trail bike of so long ago.

For the unini­ti­ated, the at­trac­tion of rid­ing along at about 100km/h with no con­trol is hard to be­lieve. Af­ter all, as the pil­lion pas­sen­ger, you hand over all re­spon­si­bil­ity to your trusted driver. Do bikes re­ally give you a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive? I’ll ex­plain by way of an ex­am­ple. We are on a ride up Tas­ma­nia’s east coast that is beau­ti­ful on a warm and sunny day. From Or­ford to Bicheno, the road snakes its way north with some lovely coastal scenery, es­pe­cially south of Swansea. But th­ese early glimpses are just a taste of what is to come. North of Swansea as we sweep around a se­ries of bends, head­ing down­hill, we get to one of Tas­ma­nia’s most glo­ri­ous views.

There, in all its tech­ni­colour glory, is a stun­ning panorama stretch­ing over Moult­ing La­goon to Fr­eycinet Penin­sula, home of Coles Bay. And with­out the lim­i­ta­tions im­posed by a car’s co­coon and its air-con­di­tioned “cli­mate con­trol”, it is even more breath­tak­ing.

It wraps it­self around me — the smell of the Aus­tralian bush in sum­mer with scent of fresh eu­ca­lyp­tus is per­va­sive; those same eu­ca­lypts give The Haz­ards, the rugged pink gran­ite moun­tains that stand guard over Coles Bay, a soft pur­ple hazy glow; and sun­light sparkles like a mil­lion danc­ing di­a­monds on the wa­ter. It is stun­ning. It en­gulfs me. I breathe deep and drink it in. Such beauty de­serves to be hugged and held close.

Is “pil­lion­ing” a word? No mat­ter if not — this is what be­ing a mo­tor­bike pas­sen­ger is all about. Try it. You might find the road you’ve trav­elled so of­ten is even bet­ter than you think. Send your 400-word con­tri­bu­tion to Fol­low the Reader: travel@theaus­tralian.com.au. Colum­nists re­ceive Nour­ish­ing Gera­nium and Laven­der Hand Cream from So­dashi, en­riched with av­o­cado oil, shea but­ter and rose­hip; in a 50ml tube ($85.50). More: so­dashi.com.

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