Day 386: Snug to Bruny Island
Summer in Tasmania…waking up this morning it’s only 7 degrees. It’s rained on and off all night, however it’s a light sprinkle compared to Mission Beach rain events. I had a great photo this morning from my sister Julie who reads my blog and shows my photos to Mum who is vision impaired. Mum has a budgie called Peta and this morning while Julie was reading the blog Peta was listening as well sitting perched on top of the iPad. That photo made my day today – thanks Jules!
We are heading over to Bruny Island for a few days and by the time we are loaded onto the ferry it’s climbed to 8 degrees and the wind is blowing a gale.
The ferry across only takes 20 minutes and it’s a very smooth crossing. $85 return for the car and caravan is quite reasonable. We’ve decided to free camp behind the Bruny Island Hotel and it’s looking like we’ll have a few cold nights to snuggle up together with no power. Staying at the back of the pub is by donation as the Council cracked down on them for charging campers to stay.
We set up and head out to Adventure Bay to check out where we catch the jet boat tomorrow. It’s about a 30 minute drive along a windy road and then the rain begins to fall. We weren’t sure if sleet or hail was beginning to fall on us but thank heavens it was fairly brief.
Adventure Bay is very picturesque and one of the main townships on Bruny Island. There is also a caravan park there, however, the reviews on WikiCamps were terrible hence deciding to free camp for a few nights.
Back at the van for lunch and a warm drink and then we head further south to Cloudy Bay. I manage a quick photo before the rain begins to fall again. The rest of the afternoon is spent back in the van out of the cold, wind and drizzly rain. While Andrew was walking Cinta another caravanner alerted him to the view of Hartz Mountain with snow on it! Of course I had to get a photo, as we were only there last week walking out to Lake Osborne. The temperature is slowly dropping, we’re all rugged up and ready for a cold night.
Wildlife: rosellas, seagulls, sheep, cattle, geese, ducks, swans, water hens, alpacas.
Day 387: Bruny Island
Today’s weather forecast is looking better than yesterday. With a maximum of 14 we’re booked on the Bruny Island Cruise. The jet boat goes from Adventure Bay and runs for 3 hours. The foyer has two interesting pieces of artwork and the circular staircase is made of timber with another great artwork reaching all the way to the top of the staircase.
On arrival at reception the ladies ask if we have gloves and beanies as it can get very cold on the boat. We are well prepared and have our thermals on too. Fifteen minutes before boarding we are all called to the outside deck to meet our tour guides. After a short briefing we head down to the jetty. There are 87 of us today and the boats take 42 passengers each. So that everyone is more comfortable we are loaded into 3 boats. The guys are really helpful getting us into the boat and we slowly motor off shore for a safety briefing and time to put on our red water & wind resistant coats. Mine comes right to the floor. Andrew is given a big boys jacket as he’s got his super big Port Power coat on today. We look like sumo wrestlers! We are all offered ginger tablets and water as they tell us it’s going to get rough out there today.
And we are off, hugging the coastline as we zip along beside 272m Jurassic Dolerite sea cliffs formed over 160 million years ago. What an amazing sight. We pull up alongside the Breathing Rock watching and waiting as the ocean explodes every minute as it crashes against the cliffs. The jet boat keeps turning so everyone gets the opportunity for photographs. Cruising further along we stop at the sea caves and pass kelp forests. The winds are picking up and so is the swell. We are extremely thankful for the waterproof and wind resistant coats.
Our guide tells us we are now heading for The Friars where the Tasman Sea meets the Southern Ocean and it’s about to get very cold and very rough. He advises to put your cameras and phones under your jackets. He was right, it’s freezing and it’s a big swell. We drift along beside the Friars where thousands of seals are hanging out. They are noisy and the ocean air stinks of seal dung. I photograph some lying on their backs in the ocean. They do this to regulate their body temperature. It’s amazing to see so many fur seals of different colours and sizes.
We cruise around the Friars for about 20 minutes before the guide announces the winds are picking up and it’s time to head back to Adventure Bay. We’re riding the swell back and the motor slows down and the guide points out a massive albatross cruising along the tops of the waves. He’s too fast to get a photo. One of the guides comes around with BBQ shapes and then Tim Tams and we are off again. We have never felt so cold, the wind was relentless.
This cruise was exhilarating and we would highly recommend it for anyone travelling to Tasmania. The brochure says they provide world-class customer service and we can certainly vouch for that right from the booking process to the very end of the cruise, the staff were friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.The cruise was $135 and there are no discounts as the Pennicott Foundation is committed to their philanthropic activities by donating 25% of the ticket price to humanitarian and conservation projects. Rob Pennicott actually circumnavigated Australia in a dinghy to raise money and awareness for conservation and polio eradication. We remember when he arrived at Mission Beach throughout his journey. Here’s a short video of some of the highlights of our trip.
After a big day out we headed over to Hotel Bruny for an early dinner. Whilst we’ve been free camping at the back of the hotel we have watched the car park fill up at meal times. Every table was booked. They can seat 80 people in the dining room. As it was early we were given a table on the condition that we left before 6.30pm. Andrew had his regular parmi and I had the Atlantic salmon. The meals were very generous, came out quite quickly and were very tasty.
Wildlife: seals, albatross, seagulls, Shetland ponies, sheep, cattle, water hens.
Day 388: Bruny Island
We have a lazy start to the day before heading off to Truganini Lookout and Rookery at The Neck. The isthmus of land connects the north and south islands. The Fairy penguins nest here and can be seen late at night coming in after searching for food during the day. It’s freezing cold here today as we climb the 235 steps to the top of the lookout. The 360 degree view is spectacular. It’s worth it for the photos.
Next stop is Bruny Island House of Whisky. The outdoor area is quite unkept and the young guy at the counter is not very welcoming. While looking around we overheard him tell another couple that tastings don’t start until 2.00pm so you’ll have to come back if you want to try the whiskey. I was really disappointed, I just presumed if they were open you could do the tasting. So with that we left after a disappointing experience. We travel further to the north of the island to Dennes Point. There is an art gallery and coffee shop that we walk up to and on the door the sign reads: We close on Wednesdays. Oh great, another disappointment. The scenery is lovely though looking over to mainland Tasmania and there are a couple of artistic sculptures on the site.
Third time lucky we stop in at Bruny Island Cheese. The car park is almost full. The place has a really good vibe to it, people everywhere enjoying drinks and cheese platters. We can smell the wood fired oven and see all the sour dough that have just been baked. Nothing better than the smell of fresh baked bread. We have some lovely hot cappuccinos and a cheese and sourdough platter to share. It’s ample for the two of us with a choice of 3 cheeses, some pickled beetroot & onion and a lovely sourdough. We’re sitting on the veranda under the electric heaters where it’s nice and warm. With full bellies we head back to the van for the remainder of the afternoon. I put in an hours work before getting organised to cook dinner and settle in for the night.
Wildlife: sheep, cattle, wallabies, Shetland ponies, rosellas, goats, donkeys, crows, dead wallabies, seagulls, swans.
Day 389: Bruny Island to Dunalley
It’s time to say goodbye to Bruny Island. A couple of days here is plenty to explore from north to south of the whole island. The coastlines are picturesque, however the island is so dry, rain is desperately needed. We’re on the 10.00am ferry back to Kettering and then heading for Sorell to fill up our water tanks and dump the loo. Morning tea is at the Sorell low cost camp and then we travel further down to Dunalley. Our journey is 130km today. The free camp is at the Murraville Golf Club and there is room for about a dozen vans. Camping here is by donation. There is no water available but toilets under the clubhouse are open 24/7.
I wanted to stay at Dunalley as they had a major bushfire in 2013 and our craft group in Mission Beach organised a couple of suitcases of craft materials and warm hand knitted jumpers and beanies (from Florrie) to be sent to their community centre. I have fond memories of our group packing up the supplies on the floor of our lounge and Rotary was kind enough to pay for all the postage. It was a great project.
We want to support this small community by staying here for a few days and spending our money here. The township has certainly grown since we were here over 5 years ago. This afternoon we head up to the clubhouse to have a few drinks and meet the locals. It’s been a great few hours learning more about the area and the club. Parked next to us are a young French couple travelling Australia. We have a great chat with them before retiring for the night.
Wildlife: cattle, sheep, donkeys, dead pademelons, crows, seagulls, swans, Shetland ponies.
Day 390: Tasman Peninsula
Today we are heading further south to explore around the Tasman Peninsula. Our first stop is at the Tessellated Pavement, an inter-tidal rock platform where the rock surface has been divided by fractures forming rectangular blocks.
Further on is the spectacular coastline at Fossil lookout. The colours in the dolerite cliff face are amazing, a stark contrast to the aqua blue ocean crashing against the cliff face. A short walk around the top of the cliff face takes you to the Tasman Blowhole. It wasn’t blowing very much today. There’s a great food van at the top of the lookout and as we were too early for lunch we enjoyed a coffee and the biggest Monte Carlo biscuit we have ever seen. Delicious.
The scenic drive hugs the coastline passing through picturesque seaside villages of Koonya & Premaydena where pear orchards and oyster farms abound. Next up are the sleepy townships of Nubeena and Whites Beach before we pass through Port Arthur. I had to get Andrew to stop at Nubeena so I could photograph the mosaic on the amenities block. We didn’t go to the Port Arthur settlement as we have been there before, instead we travelled further around to Carnarvon Bay. We stopped here to let Cinta out for a walk on the beach and I photographed the private jetties and boats in the bay. It was very overcast and the light was low today.
Before we knew it we were in a National Park and we had Cinta in the car with us. Andrew stayed in the car while I quickly walked to the Remarkable Caves lookout. It was breathtaking. Again, the aqua blue ocean was crashing against the Dolerite cliffs.
On the way home we stop in at the Federation Chocolate Factory for some sampling and of course some purchasing of their chocolate. We bought a licorice chocolate bar and a mint oil chocolate bar. I can’t wait to open them!
Tonight we are heading up to the clubhouse for a meal. The RV parking area has quickly filled up today as it’s a long weekend in Tasmania for the Hobart Regatta. We meet a couple from the Northern Territory who have been travelling for just under two years and have a good chat with them. There is quite a few locals in the club house tonight, some that we met last night and some others. The bar and kitchen are leased out to the lovely Sharon who made us feel very welcome from the moment we met her. We’re supporting her business tonight by having a meal. We both have a parmi and it is really good! After dinner the caravanners at the next table ask if they can join us and we end up having quite a few drinks with Allan, Bill and Adele. Bill got the title of Minister for Finance during the night, he was a real character. All three were from the Brisbane region so we had plenty to chat about and swapped stories about our journeys so far. There will be a few sore heads in the morning…
Wildlife: sheep, cattle, horses, dead pademelons, crows, rosella, blue wrens, seagulls, Shetland ponies.
Day 391- 392: Dunalley
It’s a very slow start to the day after a big night. It’s overcast and drizzly and we’re hoping it reaches at least 17 degrees today. Andrew puts up the clothes line and we do a bit of hand washing, hoping that the sun will eventually come out and dry our clothes. We take Cinta for a walk down to the Denison Canal. There are some lovely mosaics in the local park. Part of the recovery projects saw a walkway along the canal with new bbq’s, seating and viewing platforms installed.
Sunday: this morning we take a drive out to Marion Bay which stretches for more than 8 km in a gentle arc. The dunes are shaped by introduced and native plants; beach spinifex and maram grasses. Marion Bay is significant for nesting shorebirds; the endangered hooded plover, pied oystercatchers and red-capped plovers are just to name a few.
We also drove along the coastline around Primrose Sands, Carlton and Dodges Ferry. This southern part of the peninsula is so very dry. This afternoon we are heading up to the clubhouse again to have a few last drinks with the locals who have made us feel so welcome. Andrew never got around to having that game of golf either… It’s been a busy week of sight seeing and time is starting to run out in Tasmania. I hope you have all enjoyed this weeks ramblings.
Wildlife: plovers, dead pademelons, alpacas, ducks, swans, seagulls, sheep, horses.
Week 56 total expenses: $983.09; still under budget which was a bit of a surprise this week due to the out of ordinary expenses of the ferry trip and cruise at Bruny Island.
That’s a wrap for Week 56 of the Lap of the Map.
PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!