Posted On 22 Feb 2024
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This entry is part 7 of 25 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#23


The BMW TS (TourenSport) Safari has reached its 20th Anniversary and the guys from BMW Motorrad and BMW Safari put together an amazing trip around Tasmania for this year’s event. I attended the first three days to ride along with the happy participants

The bikes I rode were the new R 1200 RT and, for my last day, the S 1000 R. Two amazing bikes that are exceptional for everything the twisty roads of Tasmania have to offer. Weather for the first two days was picture perfect, but the day I got to ride the “faster” bike, it rained from mid-morning. Them’s the breaks, but I still had a ball.

The BMW Safari event began in 1994, designed to cater specifically for riders of BMW motorcycles. It is unique to Australia but that shouldn’t surprise you given this country offers some of the greatest motorcycle terrain in the world.

There are now three types of Safaris run – the TS Safari for road touring, GS Safari for off-road adventure riding and the recent addition of the GS Safari-Enduro, which is a more technical and higher endurance off-road ride, so there is an event suitable for riders with any level of experience.

The TS Safari typically runs for 5 days,staying in a different place each night.

The kilometres covered each day vary between about 200 – 500, so riding time could be up to eight or nine hours on some days.

The Safari is not a guided tour but the route is pre-ridden in the leadup to the event and full route maps and GPS tracks are created. A lead rider is sent out early in the morning to additionally mark the route with some arrows and also check road conditions in case of any major hazards en route. Each rider is free to follow this route at his or her own pace and stop as they please throughout the day.

The first night at St Helens saw a welcoming dinner. Two interesting people I met on the ride were Ian Anderson, who was the only participant to have attended all twenty of the TS Safaris, and 88 year old George “Jack” Phillips, still riding, still drinking and still having an absolute ball on his BMW motorcycle. There is truth to the saying, “motorcycles keep you young”. When you see and talk to “Jack”, you know exactly what it’s all about.

1. Follow the arrows!

2. Ian, the only rider to have attended all 20 TS Safari’s.

3. A rare sight – Cradle Mountain with no cloud cover.

4. 88yr old, ‘Jack’

5. Smiling happy faces were everywhere.

6. Nick Selleck speaks wise words to the participants.

Day one was probably the highlight for me. 400 plus kilometres where I don’t think I was riding on the middle of the tyre for more than a few seconds at a time. We rode from St Helens on the east coast, over to Burnie on the north west coast. Breakfast was a short blast through some twisties to the Holy Cow Café at Pyengana. Bacon and egg rolls with the café’s homemade relish, along with a cappuccino went down just nicely.

In fact I was greedy and went back for seconds! The Holy Cow Café is a must visit when in Tassie. Seeing a working dairy in progress as you enjoy your meal, along with the “back scratcher”, is memorable. Lunch was another great experience at the Raspberry Farm Café.

Just make sure you remember to buy your better half a pair of Raspberry aromatherapy socks.

Day two was another glorious ride from Burnie down to Strahan, with sightseeing at Cradle Mountain, which was not covered with clouds – a rare sight to see! The third day was a trip from Strahan to Hobart. I was able to unleash the S 1000 R until the top of Queenstown, then the drizzle set in, and turned to heavier rain.

An early lunch at the Hungry Wombat Café at Derwent Bridge with one of their famous hamburgers went down well after fixing a fl at for Kel from AMCN, who was riding the RT.

No matter where you stopped, the scenery was amazing, but most of all the riders were all smiling and having a fantastic time. I met participants from all over Australia and even some internationals who came along for the ride. There were first timers and many I’d had the pleasure of riding with before, but ultimately everyone, no matter the experience, was having a great time.

If you don’t have a BMW motorcycle to attend one of the safaris you can always hire one. Having now attended a couple of the TS Safari’s I can tell you that you will meet great people, ride amazing roads and generally have a great time with like-minded touring riders. Be sure to keep your eye on the website – or talk with your BMW dealer who can fi ll you in on next year’s safari dates and location as planning is made.

About the Author
Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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