OK, so now we get to develop our ideas around staging - how far each day, etc.

The Tasmanian Trail guidebook lists the following stages (16 in all, 479.4 km total):

1 Devonport to Latrobe 13.8 km
2 Latrobe to Sheffield 28.6 km
3 Sheffield to Gog Range 28.8 km
4 Gog Range to Cluan 39.3 km
5 Cluan to Bracknell 25.2 km
6 Bracknell to Arthurs Lake 49.6 km
7 Arthurs Lake to Miena 23.1 km
8 Miena to Bronte Park 31.3 km
9 Bronte Park to Victoria Valley 34.3 km
10 Victoria Valley to Ouse 24.2 km
11A Ouse to Jones River Camp 26.4 km
11B Jones River Camp to Glenora 27.1 km
12 Glenora to Lachlan 29.9 km
13 Lachlan to Judbury 33.9 km
14 Judbury to North Creek 36.5 km
15 North Creek to Dover 27.4 km

Steve's initial thoughts on stages suggest an eight-stage trip:

1 Devonport to Sheffield 42.4 km
2 Sheffield to Cluan 68.1 km
3 Cluan to Arthurs Lake 74.8 km
4 Arthurs Lake to Bronte Park 54.5 km
5 Bronte Park to Ouse 58.5 km
6 Ouse to Lachlan 83.4 km
7 Lachlan to North Creek 70.4km
8 North Creek to Dover 27.4 km

The challenge with this plan is that stages 6 and 7 traverse arguably the hardest section of the route - from Jones River Camp to Dover (stages 11B to 15 in the guidebook). Also, there's some stunning country through these parts so pushing through them with our heads down would likely diminish the experience for us.

An evolution of Steve's route - nine stages. No changes to Steve's suggestions for his stages 1 thru 4 and stage 8, but some differences elsewhere to take advantage of easier country between Bronte Park and Jones River Camp and to allow more time for the seriously lumpy sections between Jones River Camp and Dover and to allow us time out if we want in the thriving metropolis of New Norfolk (between Glenora and Lachlan) and to enjoy the camping in some of the great country south and south-east of the Derwent Valley:

1 Devonport to Sheffield 42.4 km
2 Sheffield to Cluan 68.1 km
3 Cluan to Arthurs Lake 74.8 km
4 Arthurs Lake to Bronte Park 54.4 km
5 Bronte Park to Jones River Camp 84.9 km
6 Jones River Camp to Lachlan 57.0 km
7 Lachlan to Judbury 33.9 km
8 Judbury to North Creek 26.5 km
9 North Creek to Dover 27.4 km

Sue Webber's eight-day Devonport-to-Hobart itinerary in Classic Mountain Bike Rides (see reference on home page):

1 Devonport to Sheffield 47 km
2 Sheffield to Deloraine 51 km
3 Deloraine to Bracknell 59 km
4 Bracknell to Arthurs Lake 48 km
5 Arthurs Lake to Bronte Park 55 km
6 Bronte Park to Ouse 55 km
7 Ouse to Glenora 53 km
8 Glenora to Hobart 60 km

Commercial cycle tours operator Global Adventure Guide operates 9- and 13-day mountain-biking tours in Tasmania. The 13-day tour travels along part of the Tasmanian Trail, apparently covering the six official Trail sections from Ouse to Dover (the 181.2 km of sections 11a thru 15) in three days:

1 Ouse to New Norfolk
2 New Norfolk to Geeveston (nr North Creek)
3 Geeveston to Dover

The end of the journey is going to be tricky. Dover is a two hour drive to Hobart. There is a bushwalkers bus but it may not be able to carry all our bikes at once. If we have to ride out it could be a two day trip to Hobart.

Tigerline / TassieLink run a once-a-day service from Dover to Hobart (except weekends) - a little more frequently from Geeveston (just a few kilometres up the road from Dover). See timetable.