Bass Strait Crossing Cancelled – Paddlers Take the Train Instead

Thursday, 01 April 2010 08:50 | Written by 
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And this is easier than paddling? And this is easier than paddling?

I simply could not believe it,” said an aghast Jarad Kohler.  “One minute the guys were keen to paddle; the next I had a mutiny on my hands so I said ‘Stuff it, we’ll take the train instead’.”

Why Paddle at all?

The team had planned to paddle from the Australian mainland across the Bass Strait to Tasmania on surfskis - a world first.  Along the way they would perform symbolic beach clean-ups to contribute to the Surfrider Foundation Australia’s National Marine Debris Initiative.  

“The first thing that happened was that Jetstar & Tiger Airways suddenly decide to offer a $19 airfare from Tulla to Launceston (or Launceston to Tulla),” Kohler went on, “and the guys decided they’d rather fly.  But the whole point of the expedition was to highlight the problems of pollution.

“Then we realized we could catch the tram and train and stop off at a token station or two and pick up rubbish there.”

Tram & Train?

The recently completed Bass Strait bridge (official opening 1 April 2010) leap-frogs across a chain of small islands between southern Victoria and North Eastern Tasmania, where the water is comparatively shallow. (The Tasmanian aborigines most likely arrived this way, before the rising post-ice-age sea-level cut the state off.)

Bridge to Tasmania

The ATB (Australia to Tasmania Bridge)

The bridge runs from Wilson's Promontory to the Hogan Group, from there to the Kent Group, then to Craggy Island, Craggy Rock, and to Flinders Island. Leaving Flinders Island, the bridge passes through Cape Barren Island and Swan Island, and hits Tasmania north of Gladstone.

The total distance travelled is 240 km (150 miles), with 156 km (97 miles) being over water. The longest bridge span is 45 km (28 miles), and the deepest water is 67 metres (220 feet).


The eight-paddler squad had planned to leave northern Tasmania on Wednesday, 7th April to arrive at Wilson's Promontory on about the 14th.

“A couple of the guys realized they had a barbie lined up for next weekend [Editor: that’s “Barbeque” for our pommy readers; “Grill” for our US readers; “Braai” for the saffas] so next week just wasn’t going to work at all,” Kohler admitted.

“So we got up early this morning and completed the trip in a little over four hours.”

Tasmania Paddlers

The project has caused huge public and media interest

Tasmania Paddlers

"Loading the ski onto the train wasn't easy and we attracted a few strange looks" 


Picking up the garbage at Flinder's Island Railway Station

[Small print: please take note of today’s date and go visit: and support this great adventure!]

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