My day began with a huge, delicious breakfast prepared by my host Sommai. I ate quickly, jumped in the car and headed South to catch the ferry for Bruny Island (more below). I had read it was about a 45 minute drive but had been told you can make it in 35. I left a little before 9 so I assumed I probably would not make the 9:30 ferry but would have to wait for the 10. However, I arrived at the entrance at 9:27 and they were just getting ready to start loading the ferry…score (or so I thought).
When I pulled up to purchase my ticket I found out they do not take credit cards (they take “tab” cards but I don’t think the US has that yet) and I did not have enough cash….ugh! But the lady at the booth said, “there is an ATM about 100 yards ahead….you can pull down there, get the money, run it back to me, and they you may be able to catch the ferry”. So I quickly pulled forward, got the money from the ATM, ran back to the booth (the lady was nice enough to meet me halfway :-), got my ticket, ran back to my car and pulled up just as the closed the gate behind me (this is like what, they 3rd time this has happened on this trip so far? ha ha). So now I’m safely on the ferry heading to Bruny Island….
Bruny Island (Google, Images, Web Page) is an island off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania….or as Rick’s son Josh said, “so you went to an island, off of an island (Tasmania), off of an island nation (Australia)”….yeah, that’s it. 🙂 According to Wiki, “Geologically, Bruny Island is actually two land masses – North Bruny and South Bruny – that are joined by a long, narrow sandy isthmus” (isthmus = “a narrow strip of land with sea on either side, forming a link between two larger areas of land”). My first stop after reaching Bruny Island was the lookout at the “Neck” (the isthmus). It was very beautiful and VERY windy. Seriously, we’re talking tropical storm winds here….crazy windy. But the view from the top of the dunes was well worth it…..
While I was standing at the top looking around I asked a young couple if they would take my picture. As soon as I spoke they asked where I was from, as they could tell I was from the US :-), and we started talking. His name was Tenzin and he was from Salt Lake City. Her name was Aranya and she was from London. They had met while studying in NY and were both doing exchange studies in Melbourne. After a few minutes they asked if I could give them a ride to the next small town beyond the Neck (Lunawanna). I said sure. I asked where they were headed and they said they were not sure. They confessed that they hadn’t really planned the day very well and thought they would just walk around or bike around Bruny Island. The problem with that is that Bruny Island is over 100 km long (a little over 60 miles)….as Homer Simpson would say….D’oh! They had actually done pretty well to this point as they had taken a bus from Hobart, came across on the ferry without a car and a “nice older lady” had picked them up at the ferry and brought them to the Neck. So I said, “I’m heading to the lighthouse at the southern tip and then working my way back up through the island and planning to catch the 6 PM ferry back….you’re welcome to ride along if you like”. They were elated. So off we went. 🙂
As we began to drive south a very cool rainbow appeared just above the ocean….
So as we began talking and getting to know each other we drove no more than probably 8 miles or so and saw another girl standing at the side of the road and looking for a ride. I stopped and she asked if we could take her to her job about 5 miles down the road. I said, “sure, we’re heading that way and I still have one seat left” :-). So I came to Bruny Island alone and within 15 minutes I had a carload. ha ha These are exactly the kind of spontaneous things that happen when you travel (fellow travelers know what I mean) that I LOVE! Like the overnight train I took from Vienna to Zurich one time with 6 people (from 5 different countries) crowded into a small room about 3 times the size of a toilet stall….it was awesome!
So our newest “carmates” name was Sophie and we could tell, before she told us, that she was from France. She said she had been working at a winery on Bruny Island for the past 2 months. She said she was leaving in a few weeks to travel to Cairns (I will also be in Cairns around the end of March to dive the Great Barrier Reef). We all asked her questions about Bruny and her experiences there. She said she loved it and had made some good friends. It only took about 7 minutes for us to arrive at the winery where Sophie got out, thanked us for the fire and invited us to stop in later if we had time and do some wine tasting. I told her we just might and headed south once again.
On our way to the lighthouse we passed a small bay where the water was just an amazing (#1) shade of green….
After about 15 more minutes of driving we topped a little hill and got our first look at the Cape Bruny Lighthouse. All 3 of us literally said in unison, “WOW”. The whole area was just unbelievably beautiful. We immediately stopped and started taking pictures….
The Cape Bruny Lighthouse (Google, Wiki) was first placed into service in 1838 making it the second oldest extant lighthouse tower in Australia. It was a beautiful site perched on the hill and glistening in the sun.
We drove up to the parking area and I took a few minutes to tour the small “museum” which used to be the light keepers residence.
And it was really cool to me (a guy from the northern hemisphere) to stand there and look out over the Southern Ocean and know that the next piece of land was Antarctica. There is just something that is really cool about that to me. I would love to go to Antarctica…but that will have to be another trip. 🙂
As some of you know I checked in on FB while standing beside the lighthouse (for some reason the best reception I had all day was at the point) and said that may have been my most southern point on this trip. I said may because I was thinking that New Zealand was more south but I didn’t know which was closer to Antarctica. So that night I checked and the southern tip of New Zealand is further South; however, because of the shape of Antarctica the southern point of Tasmania is actually closer to Antarctica than New Zealand. So there is your geography lesson for today. 🙂
After a long visit we left the lighthouse and headed to a place I saw on the map called “Price’s Lookout” (of course I had to go there :-). Price’s Lookout looks out over Cloudy Bay (Wiki). Cloudy Bay is a large bay with big waves crashing over a long, gradual sloped beach. Standing at the point and looking out at it I immediately thought, “this looks like a great place to surf” (admitting that I know nothing about surfing, :-). Well, as it turns out each year Cloudy Bay plays host to the ‘Bruny Island Surf Classic’ – a Tasmanian surfing championship held on the island. So I guess you don’t have to be a surfer to know good surfing areas when you see them. 🙂 Looking out over the waves I couldn’t help but to think of my good friend Rob and his brother Jim..the only “surfer dudes” I know. 🙂
We said hello to Sophie and then left the winery and started driving back to the northern part of the island. We drove back across the “Neck” and stopped to see if maybe any penguins had come out (they frequent this area) but unfortunately they had not. They normally come out later in the day/evening and since the last ferry leaves at 7:15, unless you’re spending the night on the island (which we were not) you may not see them. But it was worth stopping for. We did see an echidna from the road but he disappeared into some thick brush before we could get his picture.
After touring the northern beaches we started to make our way back to the ferry. In speaking with Tenzin and Aranya earlier in the day I found out that they were flying back to Melbourne later this evening from Hobart. They were planning to take the bus back to Hobart. I told them that I have to drive straight through Hobart to get back to the place I was staying so I would be more than happy to take them back to their place. Once again they were very excited and appreciative.
As we sat and waited for the next ferry we saw a black with white spots eastern quoll (Google) (see blog post from Day walk across the street in front of us. We got out and tried to get a picture but it hid and we did not see it again. It was kind of funny because there was an Australian couple who had also seen it and were looking for it and they had no idea what it was. I told them, “it’s and eastern quoll” and they were like, “how did you know that….we’re from Australia and we didn’t know what it was”. I had seen them at the Devil habitat that I visit on Day 22 – Convicts and Devils. Here are a couple of pictures I took that day….
We loaded the ferry and during the trip we took a couple of pictures to remember our day together…
|Tenzin (left) & Aranya (right)|
We drove back to Hobart, I dropped them off at their place and I headed back to my place to get cleaned up. On my drive back to Hobart (from the place I was staying in the mountains) I saw well over 75 wallabies on the short 1 mile gravel road including one open field that had at least 50. It was really cool and I took it all in knowing that I would not see this again once I returned to Sydney. I went back into Hobart and had another nice dinner (Thai) and listened to some more great music from a male/female duet.
|Where Am I|