Saturday, January 10, 2015

Camping on Bruny Island, Tasmania

We arrived in Devonport in the early hours of the morning, after a reasonably smooth passage across Bass Strait on the Spirit of Tasmania. I had heard mixed reports about the crossing, thankfully ours was without any terrifying, tumultuous seas. My only advice to you would be if you are traveling overnight like we did, pay the dollars and get yourself a cabin. You will get to sleep the nine hours away and wake far more refreshed, than some of the bleary eyed, coffee hunting passengers we saw the next morning. They had taken the cheaper ‘stay up all night whilst trying to sleep in a deckchair option’ and looked a little worse for wear!
A scenic two and half hour drive down to Hobart followed, where we picked up some groceries and supplies, then a further half an hour drive onto the seaside town of Kettering. Next thing we were boarding the ferry, our second floating vessel in twenty four hours, to cross the D’entrecasteaux Channel and arrive on Bruny Island.
All the people we spoke to in the planning stages of our road trip to ‘the Apple Isle’ were unanimous in their insistence ‘you must go to Bruny Island'! So we went to Bruny and it was a unique, adventurous and beautiful experience. Now we add our voice to the chorus of those who have been there before, if you are traveling in Tasmania, do make the time, because ‘you really must go to Bruny Island’.
Many people just go for a day, I would recommend at least three days to really get a proper taste of all the island has to offer. You will need a car to get around as the island is in fact bigger than it looks and things are quite spread out.
(the ferry from Kettering is $35 return you and your vehicle.)
If you can only go for a day preferably go over to the South Island. Make sure you stop at the Neck to absorb it’s 360 degree, magnificent view from the top of the stairs, on the way through. Next head down to Adventure Bay, to see sandy white beaches, aqua blue waters and the Island’s largest General Store. It is another must to drive even further South to the *South Bruny National Park to see Cape Bruny Lighthouse, some spectacular rugged coastline and nearby gorgeous, secluded Jetty Beach.
(*Vehicle entry to the park for 24 hours is $24 or for a two month National Park pass valid for all Tasmania Parks it is $60)
Hotel Bruny on the road south is worth stopping at for some local food and beverage, as you soak up it’s ‘on the water’ location. We enjoyed a delicious seafood pizza and local apple cider together for a late lunch one afternoon.
Accommodation options are plentiful on Bruny, from basic camping, cabins, self-contained cottages or Hotel rooms, whatever works best for you. We took the camping option for four nights, it was the first time we had camped without power or a shower. It was quite liberating and apart from my attempt to wash my hair in the icy waters of Cloudy Bay, quite manageable.
We had a secluded and pristine waterfront spot on private land, recommended by a friend who is a Tassie local. You can find the details here. The other two spots we saw that also looked great for camping was in the South Bruny National Park, at Jetty Beach, quite a remote location, also with no power, shower or drinking water. Alternatively the Adventure Bay Caravan Park, which is closer to civilisation, fuel and groceries and offers full amenities. Both these spots have great beach and water access.
Our time on Bruny was spent close to nature, waking to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, in front of our campsite. We harvested wild oysters from remote bays, walked the South Bruny National Park and picnicked at the lighthouse. Mr G went fishing in Cloudy Bay Lagoon catching leatherjacket, which we ate for breakfast. I cooked other simple food which we ate together by our evening camp fire for two.
There was also other more ‘tourist’ style things to do like visit Bruny Island Cheese for some raw milk cheese and wood-fired bread, or Get Shucked Oyster Bar for the local oysters. You can stay up late to watch the fairy penguins travel up the beach at dusk, to nest with their chicks for the night or take an Adventure Cruise by boat from Adventure Bay. It travels along the coastline, below the rugged cliffs, in and out of caves, all the way out to the Great Southern Ocean to see the fur seals. It is probably the most southerly point you’ll venture to, unless you plan to visit Antartica, but beware if you suffer motion sickness it is not a warm or smooth ride.
We did all these tourist things and more, but for us it was the simple things on Bruny that captured our attention and this is why you need some time. Opening salty oysters straight from the rocks and slurping them down, walking pristine bays and beaches with no one around. The aroma of a log fire each night, essential to keep us warm, and sleeping under the stars, with the comforting sounds of the sea constant. These are the things we will remember and the reasons why you really should go to Bruny!
We spent some time driving the North Island on our final day, down to the calmer waters, dotted with sailing boats in Barnes Bay and out to Dennes Point lookout. We had a lovely breakfast at The Jetty Cafe and Art Gallery, which also offers a small amount of local wine and grocery supplies. Then we headed back to the wharf to board the ferry back to Kettering and mainland Tasmania, but not before grabbing a final bag of cherries from the little cherry stall just at the ferry stop. Another reason to go to Bruny, those cherries were incredible.


Elizabeth said...

Jane... it looks amazing! and those Oysters... I remember being able to do that with my pop in the Southport Broadwater, but I wouldn't do it now as there is too much pollution :(
I love the Bruney Island Raw Cheese, I still have one at home from my Christmas order...
I love your adventures :) Thanks so much for sharing!
liz x

Jane Grover said...

How good are is the raw milk cheese! Thanks for your encouragement lovely Liz x

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