Ten Tales of Tassie — Bruny Island

Part One of a series of ten

Bruny Island looking south

Everywhere I look, there’s water. I know Tasmania is an island and an island is supposed to be surrounded by water but even so, when I am driving and expect there to be water on my right, it suddenly appears on my left hand side. Is that a lake or is it the way the coast curls round. It’s just one of the conundrums about Tasmania.

It’s over a quarter of a century since I was last on the island. It was one of the first places in Australia that I came to way back then but to be honest, like a lot of things that long ago, it’s all a bit of a blur. What I do remember is the reaction from my friends from Victoria at the time when I brought up the subject which went something along the lines of “What on earth are you going there for?”

The reason I was there in 1989 is because that is where Deirdre originated and where her family at the time was still based (before they all relocated to the Gold Coast) and I had been invited for Christmas in Launceston and New Year in Hobart.

Now there’s been something of a sea change. Since I have decided to return to Tasmania, the attitude of my Melbournian friends couldn’t be more different. All I hear now is how awesome the island is. “You’re going to love it.” and “Don’t forget to go to so and so” and “You have to go to _______”

I have reserved a couple of weeks which you could argue is not enough but should allow me to get a bit of an insight into island life.

Although I am flying into Hobart mid week because it’s cheaper, I would rather be there at the weekend so after picking up my hire car, I drive straight through the city and head to Bruny Island. I can’t even remember how I picked this destination but it immediately seems like an exciting overture.

The place is popular enough that there are two ferries in the summer which leave from Kettering at roughly half hour intervals. The crossing is 20–25 minutes. When I looked at a map of Bruny, it looked as though it is two islands, connected by a bridge but it is in fact one island with a long sand bar connecting the two.

I have booked accommodation in a place called Adventure Bay and as I swing round the corner, I’m still not sure what to expect.

Now if you are envisaging some high adrenaline location such as Queenstown in New Zealand, you will be disappointed. The place was actually named after a ship and the only bit of adventure I get over the two days is seeing some white wallabies that are native to the region. Wait, wait, wait though — that’s not to say that it’s boring — this is Chill Out Cove and for those of you that like your history was one of the places discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642 and visited by Captain Cook in 1777.

Adventure Bay

The three things you need to know if you’re planning a visit To Bruny are these

  1. there are only a couple of (obviously) overpriced general stores selling basic food and only a handful of eateries, only one of which I found (at Alonnah) is open in the evening. Visit a supermarket before you catch the ferry and stock up with provisions.
  2. just because places are named on a map, don’t expect to find more than a few houses. Most of these places can only aspire to be villages.
  3. there’s only a limited amount of sealed roads on the island. If you want to get to the outreaching hamlets, you have to drive on unsealed bits, which obviously takes longer to get around. Still there are a couple of places that are worth a look.

Cloudy Bay is a beach which is known for its ochre, which taints the sand and the surf.

Cloudy Bay

At Cape Bruny, there’s a lighthouse which dates back to 1838. It’s no longer in use but you can get a guided tour if you have the time.

Two days is enough for me on Bruny as I have different fish to fry but I am pleased that I kicked off my trip this way. Now I have seen the light, I am heading back to Hobart.

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