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Bruny Island

An island off the coast of a bigger island off the coast of an even bigger island.   That's Bruny Island for you, actually composed of two islands, a north one and a south one, which I dissect here.  Bruny's claim to fame for those visiting Tasmania is to see the penguins.   Tourists from countries which now allow the legal marriage of human and penguin come here to line up a bride or groom for export back to their homeland. 

Bruny Island

Doug and his permanent Australian companions at Adventure Bay in Bruny Island

I drove to Bruny with my friend, Super Kay.  Kay had once dated a penguin in his native Germany and could not stand the thought of visiting Tasmania without visiting Bruny.  We had about a week to travel around together before his onward flight to New Zealand.  When he suggested Bruny Island, I put up no argument.  

It's a scenic 40 minute trip south of Hobart to the town of Kettering, where over 10 ferries per day make the 20-30 minute roundtrip to the tiny island.  Ferry prices depend on whether you're a regular visitor, a pensioner, a senior, and what kind of vehicle you're going over with.  All ticket prices are roundtrips.  It is assumed that anyone going to Bruny will be leaving Bruny, which doesn't hold true 100% of the time.   Some people have to die on Bruny.  

We had troubles from the very beginning.  My 1996 Ford Futura wagon needed a new starter motor, although I didn't know it at the time.  The car would sometimes fail to start, and one such time was just before we were to drive onto the last ferry.  We managed to push it aboard, with the help of some local Aussies.  I was lucky in this regard that my car was the last one on, because when we arrived on Bruny, the car also failed to start and had to be rolled off.  

Alonnah pub University of Bruny Island The Neck 
Sites of Bruny (left to right):   Source of replenishment Bruny's only pub in Alonnah; advanced degrees from Bruny institutes of higher learning; Doug standing barefoot on the dirt roads of Bruny

PenguinsIn those halcyon days of 2006, one went to visit penguins and immerse oneself in nature on an island with just 520 residents.   Times have changed slightly since then.  The population has gone up 20%, the island has its own web site, and its now promoting itself as a venue for food, dining, and wine.   It's hard to see the island changing all that much.   The Fluted Cape walk would still be a highlight hike from Adventure Bay.  Cape Bruny still boasts its lighthouse.   The Neck is still where the island is divided into two and the penguins come out at night to seek future life partners.

Bruny remains a magnificent getaway for residents of Hobart.    The island has enough amenities that you won't feel you're deprived, but it's also as bare basic and undeveloped as you're likely to see during your time in Oz.  A few days here will leave you feeling refreshed and possibly deprived and cranky.

Bruny Island is nature time.   Doug and Super Kay camped.  Our first night there, we drove from the ferry to the Neck to see the penguins and stayed there until dark.  We pulled the car into the first camping spot we saw and pitched out tent at night, playing frisbee on the beach till midnight.  The next day, we camped in a windy area near Adventure Bay and watched my tent get blown away as albino kangaroos hopped among the grounds.  At the time there wasn't much in the way of true hotels or lodges.  

Super Kay was due to go back to Germany within two months, and I remember during one of our hikes the look of depression that would cross his face when he thought of German taxes.   Things have since worked out very well for Super Kay.  He proposed to his fashion model girlfriend atop the Eiffel Tower.  Bruny Island has long been forgotten.       


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