The final day of our tour! Next stop is Bruny Island, after which everyone from my tour will go their seperate ways. Most of them are staying at The Pickled Frog, and rather wish I was joining them, considering how much I’m not liking the YHA at the moment.
Don’t get me wrong, the beds are good and the staff relatively nice, but the first floor is far too close to the pub – you hear everything until midnight, and there’s nowhere near enough toilets for the number of rooms. Its biggest issue however, is how small the kitchen is. The smallest I’ve seen in a hostel, and considering how many tours come through here for breakfast, nowhere near big enough to handle the traffic. It’s an absolute nightmare, and constantly filthy because there’s no way to clean without holding up everyone behind you! Unfortunately I’ve already paid for another two days, so there’s no leaving.
It’s a much smaller bus this time, so it’s a tight fit to get everyone on (so glad I’m not in the back), but we manage and make the 40 minute drive to the ferry required to get to Bruny. It’s just a 30 minute trip, so there’s nothing on the boat, and everyone just sticks to the sides and watches the other side come closer and closer.
Bruny Island (Originally Bruni, until a spelling error about a hundred years ago caught on) is now mostly a holiday destination, and is now for it’s pretty incredible beaches, food and cliffsides. Our first stop was next to a beach, although we were only on it for a few minutes before hiking into the forest and towards the ruins of an old whaling station. The waters of Bruny used to teem with whales during their migration, although the number is far smaller now thanks to this acts – now nothing remains of this industry but the ruins of the foundations.
We head back into the forest, and start heading up high and harsh. The path is mostly mud, and more than a little bit difficult to navigate. After 20 minutes, we stop again, to reveal an unofficial lookout of the cliff face, which is pretty damn spectacular.
It starts raining as we head back, making the walk even more difficult, and even I have a few slip ups for the first time. Very grateful to get back into the car and warm up while we drive towards the Berry Farm for lunch. I’ve brought lunch, but do at least have a place to get hot chocolate. The farm itself offers fruit picking, but its still a few weeks early for it to start.
The next spot is off on another point of the island – the longest running manned lighthouse, only shut down in 1996 (which seems to have been a very big year for Australia). It’s been replaced by a small solar powered one on the nearby hill, but isn’t nearly as impressive as the behemoth in front of me.
There’s a 30 minute tour provided in the lighthouse, but we don’t have time to do it, which is rather frustrating – this is the downside to doing tours, you’re on their schedule, not yours – so have to satisfy myself by exploring the area. It’s so beautiful here, but it must have been so isolating for those living here with their families.
We’ve only got a short time left on the island now, but its time to head towards the food portion of the trip. We stop at an Artisan Cheese shop, where we are greeted with 3 cheese platters of unique dairy. They included two hard cheeses, a brie, two soft cheeses, some pear paste, caramelised onion, and some freshly baked bread. Tried them all, and have so say the ‘ODA’ – the One Day Old soft cheese in olive oil was by far my favourite. The brie was too strong while the hard cheeses too mild – the ODA was pretty much spot on.
The final stop was something less familiar. Oysters. Let’s Get Shucked grows Japanese oysters in the water just off the beach, and sells them fresh at their restaurant. The Chinese gentleman (who everyone calls ‘Bob’ at his request as most of us brutalise his name) on my tour was elated – he doesn’t eat Western food so hasn’t been heating the few meals that were supplied. He ended up buying a plate for himself while the rest of us were giving a plate to share between us.
I’ve never actually tried an oyster, but I’ll try anything once. Figured it would be similar to snails, and took some advice by those who usually ate them (essentially, run it over your tongue, don’t chew, and then swallow). Didn’t gag, and eventually had another, but honestly don’t see why anyone would choose to eat them.
Some agreed, others went and bought more for dinner, so guess its an acquired taste.
By the time we made it back to the ferry harbour, we had 20 minutes to wait so passed the time playing I Spy…which is a difficult game to play when most of the players don’t speak English as their first language. We ended up changing this game to ABC, and allowing the foreign speakers to use animal names in their native language – which probably involved a huge chunk of cheating but hey, it passed 30 minutes.
Sadly, with our arrival back in Hobart, our 8 days came to an end, and I had to say goodbye to the last of my tour group. Most fly out tomorrow, although it appears I’ll be on the same flight as 2 of the girls on Tuesday, so at least I’ll catch up with them then. Gonna miss my compatriots though.