Tasmania 2016, Day 4

This was the gourmet tour of Bruny Island with a spot of healthy exercise tossed in for those who felt the urge. I managed to enjoy a wide variety of tasty treats and 18000 steps.

Majella’s plan was to get to Kettering in time for the 9:00 am ferry to Bruny Island. For that we needed to leave Hobart before 8:00 am so the assembly time was set for 7:45 am. We were off on time and benefited from the lack of traffic going in our direction as the early morning rush rolled into Hobart after the long weekend. We made it to Kettering before the 8:30 am ferry but it was overbooked and the queue was already building for the 9:00 am departure. We joined that line and then took advantage of the coffee shop on the wharf, which had a view over the marina full of boats. There was barely time to filter through the queue to get our coffees before the ferry arrived and we were back in the car to drive onto the top deck.

The ferry departed on schedule and 20 minutes or so later we were driving along the island road. Majella was using a brochure that Jim had picked up over the weekend as a guide. First stop on the map was for whisky. Despite the early hour the store was open but none of us was really keen to spend $35 to taste 4 single malt whiskies before 10:00 am. That might have slowed us down for the entire day. Majella and a few others did try the cream liqueur based on single malt whisky and pronounced it good enough to buy for later. I spotted a collection of alpaca shawls in vibrant colours and drew Majella’s attention to one in purple. That finished in her bag as an early Valentine’s Day gift. Colleen went for bright pink.

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We headed down the road to our next stop at Get Shucked – purveyors of oysters that are harvested from the bay across the road with their advertising tag line of “Fuel for love”. Our number includes some oyster enthusiasts who were keen to try the local wares, which they pronounced as excellent. Majella had never actually eaten a raw oyster but Get Shucked accommodates first timers by selling single oysters and she had to try one with lots of advice about how best to eat it. She managed one but I’m not sure she will be back for more.

Not far down the road we reached the Bruny Island Cheese establishment. It could scarcely be described as a factory, though they do make the cheese on site. It was a busy cafe operation with regular presentations and tastings of the cheese and full service coffee and other goodies. Some of the group took the opportunity for coffee. I opted for a cider – a. 375 ml bottle that proclaimed itself to be 7.5% and containing 2.2 standard drinks. I wasn’t driving. We picked up a loaf of artisanal bread for dinner.

Majella at Trugananini's Lookout above The Neck

That was it for North Bruny. A little way along the road we came to The Neck where we stopped to check the view from Trugananini’s Lookout. The Neck is a very narrow isthmus that joins North Bruny Island and South Bruny Island. It is barely wide enough for the road and a bit of dune. The lookout is atop the dunes at the north end of the isthmus and is reached by wooden steps. Warwick and I charged up the steps though I recall slowing as I neared the top and the lactic acid accumulated in my legs. Russell was a little way behind us and Majella also made it to the top. The rest of the group stopped at a platform about a quarter of the way up. Majella counted the steps on the way down and got to 236. Just as well she counted going down and not on the way up.

Once on the South Island we took the left fork toward Adventure Bay and our accommodation, planning to return to the other side later. Not far along we found the fudge shop where we had to stop to sample the wares and buy some for later.

We drove on to the berry farm at the entrance to Adventure Bay. There was no picking available – Majella surmised they had been picked out over the long weekend – so we settled for ice-cream. I went for fairly conventional raspberry but Majella had to try the Tasmanian Pepper Berry. She will not be doing that again.

Our accommodation was not available until 2:00 pm and it was just after noon. We did a drive by inspection and pronounced it more than acceptable. After spending some time by the jetty at the end of the road we headed north to drive round to the west side of the island. The main road was via the fork back at The Neck but Majella had seen a sign for the west side villages just before we reached Adventure Bay. We drove some way up that before we found the sign that proclaimed 4 wheel drive only and turned back to take the approved route.

At Alonna we passed the Bruny Island Pub which offered lunches and there was some interest in stopping there, on the way back if necessary, but we pressed on and found the winery. By that time enough of us were hungry that lunch there was too much to resist. Most simply ordered and enjoyed lunch. Majella and I opted for the wine tasting and a tasting platter for one to share. Neither of us wanted another big lunch. The wine was good and I had a glass of the Pinot Noir with the platter, which included local cheeses, olives, kransky sausage, pork rillette, cherry chutney, crackers, bread, and other delights. There was more than enough to fuel the two of us for the afternoon. It even included a single oyster that Majella ceded to me because she had hers earlier.

Majella’s plan had been to drive to the lighthouse but over lunch she became increasingly nervous about whether we had sufficient fuel to make it there and back. I had worked out how far it was, probably on gravel roads, and was concerned about the time required. We decided against it and headed back via the fork to our accommodation at Adventure Bay. Along the way we stopped at the pub to pick up supplies and Majella and Norma slipped across the road to pick some of the blackberries they had seen as we drove south earlier.

Arrangements for the accommodation had been sent by SMS early in the day. We simply rolled up, used the codes to access the keys, and settled in. Although all 3 units were part of the 43 Degrees operation, Warwick and Colleen were in a unit at one location and the rest of us were a couple of kilometres toward the end of the road. That required a shuttle service for dinner but was otherwise not a problem. We discovered that there was a complimentary bottle of red wine in each unit and that the included breakfast would be delivered about 8:00 am. We decided it was worth delaying our departure to enjoy that.

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Once we had settled in I suggested I wanted to take a walk in the national park. Majella and Russell opted to join me while the others rested. We walked down the road to the jetty and then along the beach to access the park. We took the track to Grassy Point and walked out to the point where we clambered across the rocks, avoiding kelp and slugs, to enjoy a view back toward The Neck. While we were doing that I was surprised by a call from Fay. The group had driven out to collect Warwick and Colleen for dinner and to buy fuel but were unsure whether the van took petrol or diesel. I’d assumed petrol but did not recall seeing any specific documentation. They bought petrol and things are still running so that must have been the right call.

Our walk took about 45 minutes each way and by the time we arrived back at the unit everybody was gathered for dinner. That was a ‘hunter and gatherer’ special featuring the various goodies – bread, cheese, kransky, fudge, blackberries – that we had picked up through the day. That was washed down with wine and followed by whisky cream for those with a taste for that. We’d had a good lunch and really did not need more.

Majella, Warwick and I walked out in search of the fable white wallabies but drew a blank on that. By the time we got back it  was time to send our visitors back to their unit and settle for the night.

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