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51 days of Absolute Wilderness

A Water by Nature Tasmania river rafting expedition launching at the Collingwood River.
Franklin River expedition launch

The bus services in Tasmania are so rigid. The regular long term operators have developed a stranglehold on the various scheduled services and have become less concerned with providing appropriate services but becoming more focused on revenues gained from government subsidies.

RoamWild Tasmania expressed interest in the Strahan to Burnie service when it was trialled which provoked the wrath of long standing incumbent operators who, as we learned from the wretched experience, are able to manipulate the bureaucracy in a cartel type manner. First, they made certain that we were not able to the tender for the service. Then they just plain bullied and manipulated to maintain their own desired status quo. Then further, the company who unsurprisingly...wait, I was going to type there 'unsurprisingly won the tender', but really they were given the job so effectively there was no real tender process at all. They then directly contacted people that in our employ at the offering them employment and to 'keep it confidential'

4 years later Redline decide that they will no longer provide the service for Zeehan secondary students attending Mountain Heights school in Queenstown. We again expressed interest but no consideration was ever communicated to us.

Just weeks later our government announced that the Strahan to Hobart service, which Tassielink were providing, was not getting enough passengers so the subsidy will no longer be made available and the service will be cancelled. Well, Tassielink and co don't lose, they get an increase in subsidy to provide a 7 day a week service to Burnie instead. Government spin it as an improvement to the region's public passenger transport services and then announce $300K to subsidise a same day return air service trial between Hobart and Strahan for a year. The Tasmanian liberal government plays friendly favourites and has most of these based in Hobart..... TassieLink, Par Avion, Tasmanian Walking Company and quite a few others.

So, clearly we are not in the cool kids corner so we thought, let's separate from the bureaucratic system and just go to Hobart reactive to bookings without any subsidy. We advertised it on this website and got a call about a week later...

'Hello, RoamWild Tasmania?, we want to embark on an expedition and just learned there's no longer a bus service, can you help?'

Exciting stuff this! We ended up with four moves just for these most intrepid bushwalker types, three to and from Hobart and one from Launceston. On the last Strahan to Hobart we had two students travel back to Strahan with us. It has given us enough optimism to persevere.

It is obvious that passenger services to and from the west can be vastly improved if our government and it's bureaucracy recognise the specific logistic required for the western journey.

And if they can grow a spine, stop playing favourites and pull some heads from the trough.

Check this little video of our last trip from Strahan to Hobart with some great people. I am more than a little in awe of them, I mean, we consider ourselves to be fairly outdoorsy....having done quite a bit of trekking around Tasmania's wild west, y'know RoamWild Tasmania and all. But this expedition is way beyond anything we have undertaken. I did wonder what they were doing all that time in total wilderness but out of politeness I didn't ask. (I would later learn that this expedition was following up on a seemingly reliable double Thylacine sighting from a decade earlier).

So, we made a decision to avoid the ongoing frustration and disappointments and not pursue any aspirations of providing appropriate passenger transportation services for Western Tasmania. Instead we would shift focus to provide expedition logistics for various expeditions such as river rafting (particularly the Franklin), walkers, climbers and to examine opportunity associated with the pending mountain biking shuttle service required for Mt Owen.

And then whaddaya know.... the Strahan to Hobart bus service was then reinstated. A backroom deal was done with good old Tassie link so that now they only had to provide the service as far as Derwent Bridge and our special Government would operate a Hobart based Area Connect service to Derwent Bridge. Effectively, our government has provided subsidy and assistance to the company that abandoned the service, even though we had expressed interest in providing the service when they ceased to provide it. We called and asked for an explanation as to why we were not considered to be told 'it is just a short term arrangement we had to get going again quickly so we went with existing providers.'

Which turned out to be just another lie! Another kick in the teeth.

Oh please, if the Tassie Tiger still lives don't let the Tasmanian Liberal led government anywhere near it.

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