Part 34: Bruny Island

My day to Bruny Island was an early start! I had booked myself onto a tour that looked amazing and was basically a day of eating and seeing! I was very excited as I had been told that Bruny Island was particularly famous for it’s diverse, local produce that was some of the finest and most famous in all of Tasmania. Perfect for me then! I was picked up by my hostel and met with the other gang I was going to spend the rest of my day with. We were a small, but great crowd of 11 that included a lovely, incredibly friendly British elderly couple, two young, friendly Chinese girls from Hong Kong and some Australians from Sydney! The average age was definitely over 30, but I was quite looking forward to spending some time with a maturer audience and talking about food and wine for a day! After everyone was picked up we headed towards the ferry. At the key we had half an hour to have a coffee (or chai latte in my case) and look at the beautiful boats.The friendly British couple invited me to sit with them and have a chat, which was lovely!

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

On the Island we started our day with a bit of cheese tasting at Bruny Island Cheese co. Here we sat around a beautiful wooden table among eucalyptus trees and tried different cheeses whilst the cheese maker talked us passionately through the different types and cheese making processes. We got to try two types of “tom cheeses”, “saint cheese” (like a dryer Camembert) and “1792 cheese” (lovely fresh, soft cheese in oil) with bread and water! Afterwards we got to walk around their local shop and peer through the glass windows into the maturing room.

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

We carried onwards down the road to eat oysters at “Get Shucked Oysters”. I was still on the edge on whether I liked oysters or not yet, as my two experiences up until this point had varied responses! This place would hopefully be the decided, and indeed it was! The oysters were well and truly fresh (straight from the sea that morning apparently) and you could really taste that difference compared to those who had probably been kept for a while! They were kept in the fridge until our arrival, which also gave them a cooler, fresher taste too! They also gave us a selection of spicy sauces and garnishes to eat with them, which made them a lot more flavourful and dynamic in taste! In summary, I really really liked them! I guess my take home message is that I enjoy oysters when they are prepared to be as fresh as possible! Whilst we enjoyed our oysters on the deck we could watch through glass doors the men hard at work preparing the newly harvested oysters from the day. I took two minutes to cross the road and admire the Great Bay where the oysters where being farmed on long lines out in the clear blue waters. We returned at the end of the day here to pop by the drive through so some of the people on the bus could get some more oysters for dinner! It’s got to be the most unusual drive through I have ever seen in my life!

 

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

IMG_20160128_155316

After our oysters we continued down to “the neck”, a small, long strip of land connecting the north islands with the south island! Here there was a great 360 degree view up at the top of the hilly sand dune that you could reach via a very long staircase! The neck was also home to a population of penguins and muttonbirds, but they were all out feeding during the day so it was very quiet and no birds were spotted! The view was worth it though! Endless views of sea and hills, and even some black swans in the inner bay!

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

After such tiresome exersize we obviously needed some more food to regenerate, so our guide took us onwards to have afternoon tea at Bruny Island Berry Farm. I had half a scone (I didn’t want to stuff myself with scones and get full before the day was over) with some lovely jam, but I must admit I wished I had gone for the champagne jelly with berries that some of the people in my tour got! After our afternoon tea we headed down to the beach across the road and did some paddling by the sea edge. This beach is quite famous, as several noteworthy European explorers noted down the bay in mapping descriptions when they first visited this part of Tasmania. Particularly the little island at the entry to the bay (named penguin island although there are no penguins there) had an important role for navigation around this Island (see it on picture below?)!

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

After a paddle at the beach we headed onwards to a little reserve to hopefully spot some albino wallabies! Bruny Island has a small population of isolated wallabies, and so the genetic diversity is a bit on the low side, which has resulted in a fairly large proportion of albino wallabies! Very cute indeed!  These wallabies, despite the low genetic diversity, have been doing alright as conservationists and the local inhabitants on the island are taking care of them, but if something were to happen this could be a real problem! With no fierce predators on the island at the moment, the the introduction of an alien predator like the fox could be an issue as their camouflage is obviously not great and a big worry for the islanders! In addition to this, being an albino wallaby in such a hot and UV intense country isn’t the best thing to endure! We were lucky to spot one sitting in the shade, munching away at leaves, fairly nonchalant about the group of us watching nearby. it was very cute with it’s fully white coat, and it’s little pink nose, fingers and ears!

Next we went to Bruny Island Premium Wines for lunch, where we first tasted a selection of red and white wines before picking our favourite to have with our meal. I had no idea about the wine, but I listened attentively to the more knowledgeable people around the table on their opinions! At least I knew how to taste and so I didn’t look like a complete idiot (swirl, smell, taste and swallow). I did dare to say I liked one (more for conversation than anything really), but then I heard someone further down claiming it was his least favourite and I was a bit embarrassed of my rockie wine judgement ability, haha oh well I tried! I was proud of myself for being able to taste differences between the wines, like between dry ones and fruity ones, but my knowledge ended there! After tasting about six different ones we chose our favourite and were served our lunch. I ended up picking a white wine (because I knew I was having fish and that you are supposed to have white wine with fish) and enjoyed my DELICIOUS salmon. The table had a lovely atmosphere, and I enjoyed talking to the gang who told me about their travels and funny stories!

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Last but not least we ended the day on some choc and fudge at a little local store before whisky tasting! I must admit, I tried the stuff and nearly gagged (it was so strong), but I held it together and finished the very large tasting glass of whisky out of politeness. Luckily I could laugh about it with one of the Korean girls who was similarly struggling too! By now it had clouded over a bit, and just as we finished off at our last destination it started to rain. Perfect timing! We jumped back into the bus and set off home.

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Bruny Island

Back at the hostel I was well and truly stuffed, and all I could bear doing after such an exhausting day was return to the sofas in the living room and watch more tennis with other travellers. I met a lovely American girl who turned out had been living in Manly (Sydney) these last months, and we bonded quickly over our love of marine biology and passion for the reef and snorkelling! Eventually we went to bed after Djokovic crushed Federer in the semifinals of the Australian Open.

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