My Great Tasmanian Getaway Part 3: Bruny Island

Dear Audy,

A few days after my ankle flare inducing adventures, I was ready for more. My ankle hadn’t exactly stopped bothering me, however I was feeling confident that I could handle the remaining pain and also, holidays don’t go forever just because you need more time to recover. Sometimes, it’s go adventuring now or miss out completely, so I employed a little bit of that desperation that I wrote about not too long ago.

Kettering just happens to be the gateway to Bruny Island, we could actually see the ferry from our perfect little cottage. It would have been just plain silly to not have taken it at all during our time there and so, we drove aboard. Bruny Island turned out to be one of my most favourite adventures of the entire trip.

Thumbs up for being on a boat!

20130430 On a boat

Bruny Island is magical. It’s one island, but it’s kind of two islands connected by a neck, which is a little bit like the conjoined twins of islands, which is delightfully rare and special because islands don’t have to deal with life threatening medical issues.

The island isn’t really that big, however you can drive around and enjoy a heap of gorgeous and contrasting views of nature and the ocean. From idyllic bays to hazardous surf, plus some fun almost-four-wheel-driving tracks to follow and my most favourite discovery of all…wild quolls. More on those later.

This blurry-thumbed-gorgeous-water picture is from the north west side of the island. North Bruny is smaller and less adventure-filled than South Bruny. We drove around in a loop along the dirt road closest to the coast line and vehemently envied all of the people that live there. There were farm houses there that basically had their own bays, beaches and cliffs, surrounded by their own paddocks and bush. Want.

20130430 North Bruny Beach

There are a lot of hiking opportunities on Bruny that I would love to be able to explore, however CRPS means that I have to choose when and where to use my steps carefully. So, I chose to use some at these stairs, which was difficult and painful, but so very satisfying.

20130430 On The Neck Bruny

That’s the neck between the two parts of the island behind me. I’d never seen anything quite like it. The right side was a quiet bay and the left side had these awesome crashing waves that made me want to dive right in despite the horrific consequences that I’m sure would have followed such a leap.

Continuing south, we couldn’t help but stop and pick up some Bruny Island Fudge, which is probably one of the most amazing things that people have ever made out of sugar. Mmm, rare local fudge.

The next stop was Adventure Bay, which is famous on account of Captain Cook landed there once. It’s one of the prettiest places that I’ve ever seen, I can see why he stopped. It had started raining when we got there, so we didn’t explore on foot, however we did pick up some lunch and then stopped to eat and were treated to this amazing view that just about made me lose my shit. I might have been channeling the internet famous double rainbow guy.

20130430 Rainbow Adventure Bay

Fuelled by coffee that was served in a greenhouse cafe (genius, it was freezing and greenhouses are lovely and warm) we continued our driving adventure for as long as we could in one day. You don’t exactly want to try to go too far or get too lost on an island as missing the last ferry back to the mainland means that you’re staying the night whether you planned to or not.

We drove past some tiny and very old towns, then stopped in at Australia’s southern most winery and did not leave empty handed because delicious. A little bit of wine and all of a sudden my pain from being in the car all day was easier to tolerate. Magic!

Our last intended destination was Cloudy Bay, which was special and spectacular. Rows and rows of breaking waves that looked like they’d just love to break a body in half, given a chance (some hardcore surfers that were camping nearby seemed happy to take that risk, oh, to have enough health to gamble with…*starry eyes*). Cloudy Bay also had a rich history of being a meeting place for several aboriginal tribes that once lived in the area. You know, before primitively ignorant white people showed up and did disgustingly awful things to them that I can’t talk about on account of it’s too horrifying.

Here I am, doing the thumb hula at Cloudy Bay, which quickly became what I couldn’t help but do for most of our tourist pics. When you’re onto a good pose, you’re onto a good pose…plus, dancing is awesome. If you’re wondering about the pink jacket, well, I haven’t actually bought a water proof jacket since I was a teenager, so that explains that.

20130430 Thumb Hula Cloudy Bay

We went for an all wheel drive through the bush on our way back to the ferry. That’s kind of like four wheel driving, but not quite, but almost. The logging tracks took us through some amazing scenery that was further enhanced by the light drizzle. Forests just tend to look better in the rain.

20130430 Forest Bruny

I could happily spend a few days exploring and soaking in the wonders of Bruny Island, however we just had the one day with my noncooperative legs and I think we did pretty well to squeeze in as much as possible. I was exhausted, but thoroughly impressed with having survived all of that driving. The sun was setting when we arrived to wait for the last ferry back.

20130430 Sunset Bruny

That was when we saw them.

The quolls.

I thought quolls were almost extinct! But, they’re doing okay on Bruny Island. The first one that I saw was earlier in the day and it was roadkill. It took a lot to get my head around that and I had to immediately do some googling to find out how it was that this island paradise had enough quolls living on it that they were just jumping out in front of cars (mind you, all of the nocturnal wildlife jumps out in front of cars in Tassie, it’s best just to not drive anywhere at night). I was very pleased to learn that quolls are still living in a few places in Australia thanks to conservation efforts and oceans that keep foxes away. Go, conservation!

We were waiting for the ferry at dusk, when all of a sudden, my prince started whispering violently and beckoning me to him. He had seen a quoll!

I was so freaking jealous, I knew there was no way that little bloodsucker was going to reappear for my viewing pleasure. Slightly disappointed, I sat back down to finish drinking my deliciously potent Cheeky Rascal cider (it’s the best, you guys, this is the best cider), when I heard some rustling on the ocean bank. I stepped forward and got a nice big eyeful of a chocolate brown quoll with delightful spots who looked back at me and then disappeared into the brush. Thrilling!

My prince wandered down the bank to see if he could get a look, at which point the quoll quite distinctively told him to fuck off. I know, I didn’t know they spoke people either, but if that quoll did not squawk-honk “Fuck off!” then I’ll eat your sombrero. I’m not sure how the phrase translates into Quollese, but that hard-assed little furball had the English down pat.

Why do I care so much about quolls? Because I did a project on them in grade 3. Yep, that primary school stuff, it sticks with you. Basically, quolls are awesome because they look like this. Nawwwwwww….

Click for image source.

Click for image source.

But they are little carnivores that will totally rip your throat out!

Well, maybe not your throat, but definitely the throat of a smaller victim. Give them a break, they only weigh up to about 7 kilos, which is slightly less than my maltese shih tzu (I’m under no pretension, a quoll would kick his ass…just don’t tell him that). Quolls are like cute little attack cats. They can kill echidnas, with their bare hands and jaws. Could you kill an echidna with your bare hands and jaw? No, you’d take one bite of spikes and be done with that. You see, quolls are tougher than all of us.

Plus, they’re spotty. Who doesn’t love an animal that’s spotty? I really feel like the noble quoll does not get enough respect amongst the other Australian animals. He is a marsupial too, Tasmanian Devils. He is cute too, Pademelons. He has a temper too, Koalas and Wombats. Sure, he also happens to live on a couple of islands that are not part of Australia, but he’s basically as Aussie as the rest of you and can’t we all just get along?

Our Bruny Island adventure was one of the most exhausting but rewarding things that I did in Tasmania. It came with added thrills because, before I left home, I honestly wouldn’t have thought that I was capable of physically enduring so much in one day. Sure, I mostly just sat in a car, but even that is a challenge for people with chronic pain. I was a proud little adventurer.

I have one more Caf Travels story to tell you before I’m done blogging about my Tasmanian getaway. It involves ghosts. Everybody loves ghosts, right? Good. I’ll be back soon with ghost stories and wonderings…


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