A Travellerspoint blog

Star Trails & Night time on Bruny Island

Something I have always wanted to see - the Northern Lights!
Though obviously, being in Australia, these are the Southern Lights, or aurora australis
After dark, we returned to The Neck (the bit that joins the two islands) to take some photos of the stars, a passion of mine, to get 'star trails' - but what a surprise to look at the photos and see the Southern Lights visible. Not visible to the naked eye, but they showed up with even a 10 second exposure.
The longer the exposure on the camera, the more time the earth has to rotate, so you get movement shown by the star trails.
If you know where to point the camera, you can find the south (or north) star, to get a complete 360 degree rotation. This shot took aroun half an hour exposure.

The Neck is home to hundreds of Little Penguins and Shot-Tailed Shearwaters, that come in at night to next in their burrows. so all around you hear the restless shuffling and squabbling of the wildlife.
This little Shearwater may have stunned himself on the banister when coming in to land.

Eric's photos:

Posted by charlystyles 12:07 Archived in Australia Tagged shearwater aurora_australis southern_lights the_neck Comments (0)

Views from Buny Island

During our visit to the island, we stayed in one of the two key towns, Alonnah at Bruny Backpackers. Bernie and Julie were great company and are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the world.
The location was perfect, an easy drive to most attractions, right on a beautiful beach, and not forgetting the three minute walk to the (only) pub!

We got to know the local residents...

and were so excited to be able to see one of the rare sights of Bruny Island, from the back garden! - the Bennetts White Wallaby.
It is known as a painted wallaby, as it is a few genes short of being pure albino. Albino or painted species are usually very vulnerable to natural predators. However as the White Wallabies have few predators on Bruny Island, they have managed to breed and increase their numbers. This is fantastic for all who would like to get a glimpse of this rare species.

and explored along the beach...

enjoying some particularly good views whilst the sun set...

The Neck
About a 10 min drive north of Alannoh, is possibly my favourite place in the world.
Bruny Island Neck is an isthmus of land connecting north and south Bruny Island, southern Tasmania.
Timber stairs lead from the dunes to the Neck lookout, offering stunning 360 degree views.
It's worth the 235 steps to climb to the top to see views looking across to the south island.
The Neck is an important habitat for Bruny’s native wildlife, and here you’ll find the Neck Game Reserve. Boardwalks and viewing platforms enable you to observe short-tailed shearwaters and little penguins (also known as fairy penguins). You can see these remarkable birds returning to their burrows in the sand dunes at dusk—little penguins making their way up the beach in tight groups and the shearwaters gliding in from the sea.

Cape Bruny Lighthouse
At the far south west tip of the island is Tasmania’s third lighthouse, and Australia’s fourth. It is now the country’s second oldest and longest continually staffed extant lighthouse.
Governor George Arthur ordered the construction of this lighthouse after several ships were wrecked at the entrance to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. Colonial architect John Lee Archer designed the tower and a gang of twelve convicts began quarrying local rock in 1836. Eighteen months later the first second-interval flashes shone out.
The first lantern, visible for 30 nautical miles to seaward, burned a pint of sperm whale oil per hous in 15 lamps with concave silvered reflectors. Later lanterns used Kerosene and 110 volt electric power. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1996.
The new solar-powered automatic light is located on a hill east of the lighthouse.

Posted by charlystyles 12:09 Archived in Australia Tagged white_wallaby bruny_cape_lighthouse Comments (1)

Kayaking on Bruny Island

sunny 22 °C

During our visit to Bruny Island, we stayed at the Bruny Backpackers, in Alonnah.
We got to know the owners, Julie and Bernie, and enjoyed their company. We were delighted when Bernie offered to take us out 'for a spin' in his boat.
after helping to load it into the water, we were off around Satellite Island
It is surrounded by an ancient fossil clad rock shelf, home to an array of local shellfish, including crayfish, native scallops, abalone and oysters. The resort on the island have their own salmon and oyster farm, so we thought we'd try a spot of fishing off the boat ...not that we caught anything.

After our short trip, Bernie was kind enough to let us use the kayaks - remnants of his previous paddling company on the island.
Eric hadn't done much paddling before, so we set off for a gentle paddle along the cove
We investigated the nearby reef that was just peeking above the surface
and some of it's inhabitants
Although beautiful, it made for interesting paddling over the top, and through the seaweed
So we stopped for a well-deserved lunch on the beach
After lunch, we got a little too adventurous and decided to follow the headland out. As the wind picked up and the tide was heading out, we found ourselves paddling across the widest part of the bay - it felt like two strokes forward, one back! Even the reef was now much more visible above the water.
But we survived...
After we'd loaded the boats on the car we headed to the shore for a paddle
and came across a pretty impressive looking collection of rocks and sea life.
There were fish, and sea anemones
It turns out, two young boys had built it the day before, and as we stood watching, they were finding nippers to add to the community.
using a suction pipe, they found a hole and 'sucked' the nipper out of the sand. As soon as it was released, it began to bury itself back in to it's new home

After all the excitement out at sea, it was time for a bit of relaxing, trying to fish... again, we caught nothing!

A great day out - with thanks to Bernie and Julie.


Posted by charlystyles 12:24 Archived in Australia Tagged fishing kayaking alonnah Comments (0)

Running Fluted Cape on Bruny Island

semi-overcast 17 °C

This walk is from very historic Adventure Bay to dramatic, high sea cliffs - it took a bit of encouragment...
The history relates to the exploration of the Tasmanaian coast rather than to buildings. The bay was visitied by Duth navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman as early as 1642. Some 132 years later, navigator Tobias Furneaux visited in 1773 and then James Cook visitied in 1777 and William Bligh in 1788 and 1792. However, only Cook has been remembered with a memorial at Cairn Bay. Botanists Nelson and Brown who arrive with Bligh, planted apple tress at cookville, which later led to an apple industry and to Tasmania becoming the so-called Apple Isle.
Today people create rock piles in memory of the history
Today the Cape is protected within the South Bruny National Park.

The sea cliffs here are up to 250m high and mostly of columnar shards of dolerite rock.
The walk starts along the beach and rapidly climbs 272m to the Tasman Peninsula
where you are rewarded with spectacular views to the south.
Overlooking Penguin Island and the kelp forests.
and down
along the cliff rim towards Grass Point

As always, we met the locals
a Supreme Fairy Wren - and his two ladies
A Jewelled Beatle
and a not so welcome Tiger Snake

Another day another run

and just for fun...


Posted by charlystyles 12:11 Archived in Australia Tagged bruny_island fluted_cape Comments (0)

Out & About on Bruny Island

semi-overcast 18 °C

On Hobart’s back doorstep, yet a world away in landscape and atmosphere, the Huon Valley and D’Entrecasteaux Channel can be enjoyed over several hours or days. The attractive marina of Kettering, just 40 minutes drive from Hobart, is the departure point for regular ferry service to Bruny Island. The name Bruny actually applies to two island joined by a narrow neck.
The south islands townships of Adventure Bay and Alonnah are only half an hour drive from the ferry terminal in the north. Once home to a thriving colonial whaling industry, Bruny Island is now a haven for bird watching, boaters, swimmers and walkers along it’s sheltered bays, beaches and lagoons. Wild Landscapes, sea cliffs, birdlife, wildflowers, tall forests and a classic lighthouse are among the features of this national Park.
Unfortunately Bruny Island also has it’s sadder side. The Nuenonne (Aboriginal) people called the island Lunnawannalonna, and the park contains a number of Aboriginal sites. One of the most famous Tasmanian Aborigines, Truganini, came from Bruny Island. She died in 1876 and is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the last Aboriginal Tasmanian, when in fact many descendants of Tasmanian Aborigines live on to this day. It was alas from the aptly named Missionary Bay on the island that Reverend Robinson began his ill-fated campaign to round up the indigenous inhabitants of Tasmania for incarceration.
Bruny Island was explored by such famous navigators as Tasman, Cook, Bligh, D’Entrecasteaux and Flinders. In the early part of the 19th century whaling was carried out in Adventure Bay and at Grass Point structural remains can still be seen today.
The park provides key habitats for a variety of forest and heath plants, and threatened bird species such as hooded plovers, swift parrots and forty spotted pardalotes. There are also short-tailed shearwaters and little penguin colonies, while the marine environment is home to seals and whales.

Art at the Point Gallery
Attractive, modern Art Gallery featuring the work of Bruny and Tasmanian artist / craftsmen working in oils, water colours, printed, wood ceramic, glass and fibre. Below the gallery is a great beach, looking north towards the mainland.
As with a lot of beaching, the rocks are covered with Oysters

The Made on Bruny gourmet trail is one way to explore the island. Below are a few we sampled....

Get shucked Oyster Farm & Oyster Bar
Producing the World’s finest oysters in the pure water of Great Bay. Experience farm to plate freshness.

Bruny Island House of Whiskey
Offer an extensive range of purely Tasmanian single malts and gourmet platters.

Bruny Island Cheese Co.
Owned and operated by Nick Haddow who, after almost 10 years of working with specialist cheese in many different countries around the world, settled on Bruny Island in Southern Tasmania to start making cheese for himself. “I strive to be both an artisan and a traditionalist, who recognises that great cheese was made for centuries before modern technology played a role and I believe passionately in the old way of making and maturing cheese. For me, cheese making is a pursuit of integrity, authenticity and flavour”. Cheeses ranged from ‘Tom’ with a hard natural rind, in the tradition of the Tomme cheeses made in the mountainous French Savoire region, to ‘Saint’, surface ripened, soft oozy cheeses with a light bloom on the rind. ‘Otto’ celebrating Italy, is a simple fresh cheese wrapped in locally made Prosciutto, baked in the oven for 15mins.
Caring for your cheese...Mass-produced factory cheese is manufacturer to taste predictable and it need to be kept cold. In the fridge. Artisan cheese is different and happiest in a damp cellar between 10-14 degrees with relative humidity of 18%.
Set in beautiful woodlands, there is ample space to sit and relax and enjoy the good food, possibly with the company of a Supreme Fairy Wren.

Relics of a past era
Whilst travelling around, there are other sites to be seen. In the cloud, high on one mountain pass, we came across these ery relics...
Like the hardy bushmen who worked these machines they are beginning to fade with time.
Chained to a big stump, the HAULER was driven by the STEAM POWERED BOILER, which created about 14 horse power.
The millers used LOCO to take the cut timber to the jetty at Lunawanna, until operations were suspended due to the Second World War.
Most of the timber cut here was blue gum and was used for ship building. A ship’s keel, 98 feet long, was cut from these forests and sent to New Zealand to build the backbone of a mighty vessel.

And we met some locals...

Posted by charlystyles 12:36 Archived in Australia Tagged bruny_island Comments (0)

Boat Cruise on Bruny Island

overcast 14 °C

What better way to explore the coast around Tasmania than a cruise off the shore of Bruny Island.
The custom-built yellow boats are ideal for viewing the spectacular coastline and wildlife of Bruny Island. Each vessel holds a maximum of 43 guests. Covered open-air tiered seating means an excellent all-round view and connection with the environment. The boats are safe, comfortable and gentle on the environment due to their fuel efficiency, low emission and quiet operation.
On the way to the boat, we met the locals
before walking along the beach to the jetty
However, before setting sail everyone put on the highest fashion statement before being offered ginger tablets to settle the stomach... just in case!
We were almost the brave and sat nearer the front, where you 'experience' more of the 2m swell - I'm thankful my camera is waterproof!
Bruny Island Cruises is an award-winning 3 Hour Wilderness Cruise exploring the rugged coastline.
The cruise travelled alongside some of Australia's highest sea cliffs,
beneath towering crags
some of which were a little precarious
and drifted up close to listen to the awesome 'Breathing Rock'.
We explored deep sea caves,
can you spot the boat...
passed through the narrow gap between the coast and 'The Monument'
check it out here...

saw a lot of huge Bull Seaweed
and felt the power of nature at the point where the Tasman Sea meets the might of the Southern Ocean.
In the search for coastal wildlife we saw Southern Australasian Gannets
Black headed Cormorants
and got up close to a lot of Sea Lions,
Some were natural models for the camera
But some were too busy getting their beauty sleep
Can you spot the sea lion...
They're pretty good climbers...
and were having some fun in the water

Another way to see the Island is by Scenic Flight - bet they weren't given ginger tablets though!

We were quite happy sporting the latest in high fashion

Posted by charlystyles 12:31 Archived in Australia Tagged bruny_island pennicott_boat_cruise Comments (0)

Quarantine Station on Bruny Island

When a tender notice for “the erection of quarantine buildings at Barnes Bay, North Bruny” was issued in October 1884, the idea raised controversy. Bruny Island residents presented a petition to parliament against the placement of the station on the island – a ‘ not in my back yard’ scenario.
Early quarantine had no need for building as any suspect ships, convict, commercial, immigrant or naval – were obliged to anchor offshore until a medical officer cleared the vessel and any threat of infection had passed.
This quarantine station appears to be the earliest extant quarantine station in Tasmania.

The Cleansing Room – this 1886 building allowed staff to go on and off duty without risk of carrying infected material to the staff quarters. It had the only pedestrian access to the isolation block, which included medical quarters, hospital, observation wards, mortuary and laundry. These were enclosed by a nine foot paling fence.
Individuals had to surrender all clothing in exchange for new ones and go through a process of cleansing. Among other methods over the years, it is though sulphur was used for this process.

Abundance of oysters
Boats & Jetty – Maritime quarantine was conducted at Barnes Bay as it was felt the isolated location of the island was more conductive to the containment of the disease, with a capacity for 300 people at it’s peak. All passengers going to Hobart were quarantined at Barnes Bay for a period of seven days.

Health Officers Quarters – the world wide influenza pandemic at the end of WWI would have been the busiest time for doctors and nursing staff. About 9,000 troops were quarantined at the station during the ten months spanning the end of WWI, as they returned from the front in Europe to civilian life. Troops were required to stay a week in quarantine.

Superintendent's House – the only remaining barrack style building. Nine or ten long corrugated iron sheds similar to this one were erected in 1919 during the influenza pandemic. Possibly used as dormitories or mess rooms.
Even today there are some interesting items in the shed...

Mortuary – this mortuary was built of brick and stone in 1885. It was divided into two sections, one half a disinfection / fumigation and sulphur storage area, the other a mortuary. Due to it’s isolation, Tasmania was the last state in Australia to experience the Spanish influenza break out in 1918. All libraries, schools, theatre and other public places were closed. Many members of the public chose to wear mask. Everything from Whiskey to increase sugar intake was tried. Publicans peddled their stock of ‘medicinal’ brandy, whiskey and gin, advertising that ‘prevention is better than cure’.

Plant Quarantine – Post WWII Tasmania ceased to be a major port of entry for overseas visitors and the human quarantine activity ceased. However, the island station was ideally suited for plant quarantine during the 1950’s. Tasmania is recognised worldwide for being free of many pests and diseases that cause problems elsewhere. The older northern glasshouse, consists of a central corridor with four small rooms opening from it. Each room was used for different imports. High risks imports were given a room on their own so they were isolated from other importers’ stock. Plants grown in isolation in the glasshouse included raspberries from Scotland, thornless blackberries from New Zealand and apples from England.

Some of the buildings above are now lived in by wardens who look after the 128 hectares. But they're not the only residents.

Posted by charlystyles 12:01 Archived in Australia Tagged bruny_island quarantine_station Comments (0)

The Hazards

Wineglass Bay

semi-overcast 20 °C

Freycinet Peninsula on the east coast of Tasmania is a long narrow neck of land jutting south, dominated by the granite peaks of the Hazards Mountain Range.
The Hazards were formed by liquid granite magma rising up through rocks in the earths crust as heat was generated when continental plates collided. Over many millions of years, erosions wore away the softer sedimentary rocks on the surface, exposing the peaks of the granite beneath. This process exposes a variery of rock types that can be seen in the colour variation on areas such as below
The Hazards and Mt Freycinet are links in a chain of granite that extends from Wilsons Promontory in south-east Victoria, through Flinders Island to north-east Tasmania, along Freycinet Peninsula and south through Maria Island to the Tasman Peninsula.
Sand such as this began as quartz-bearing rock, weathered into quartz sand, was buried ans squashed into sandstone, then was eroded into sand again, and perhaps even again. The siize of the sand grains and the roughness of their surfaces tell how often the sand has been recycled.

Freycinet National Park, on the tip of the peninsula, is criss-cossed with walking tracks along beaches, over mountains and around headlands and across lagoons. The most popular site is Wineglass Bay – the blue waters of the bay are cupped against a crescent of golden sand.
But to get the best view, we took on the 3hour return route to the top of Mount Amos (one of the Hazards). Up that...
The route is not for the faint hearted
It crosses mostly large rock surfaces which can be very slippery when wet, and becomes very steep
and in most places, a scramble
However, it is worth it for the views, looking down towards Coles Bay

The climb is rewarded for what is described as the best view in Tasmania

Wineglass Bay is one of the worlds most famous beaches, yet the origin of its naming unknown. Is the water as clear as a wineglass, or is the bay shaped like a wineglass? Or was the water once red with the blood of slaughtered whales?
As always, photos are taken

Most of the bush you can see in the foreground is Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve, which qualifies for listing as a Ramsar site, which aims to halt the worldwide loss of wetlands, because it is an important habitat for a number of rare and vulnerable plants and animals including up to 10,000 black swans that live here all year round. It is also an important area for the Aboriginal people as records show that the Oyster Bay group inhabited the area.

and of course what goes up, must go down
There is always chance to see the local wildlife if you look carefully

Back at the start, there is another, less committing walk to the beach of Wineglass Bay – a short steep trip up and over the saddle of the mountains.
The path takes you through the Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve
to bring you out on the beautiful beach
Where you can look up to The Hazards and spot the people on top of Mount Amos who are looking down on you
After a spot of sunbathing, we were back on our way up and over the mountain.

Further along the peninsula is Cape Tourville Lighthouse, constructed in 1971 to assist the safe passage of the many vessels plying the East Coast.
It replaced the Cape Forester Lighthouse on Lemon Rock, which was decommissioned the same year. The lighthouse is 126 metres above sea level and is only 11 meters high. The light is 67 726 candelas, which can be seen for 28 nautical miles (52km) and flashes every 12 seconds for 0.10 second.


Posted by charlystyles 12:20 Archived in Australia Tagged wineglass_bay cape_tourville Comments (0)

Douglas Apsley National Park

overcast 18 °C

In the middle of the East Coast there is Tasmania's smallest National Park Douglas Apsley.
It contains the states largest dry Sclerophyll forest, patches of rainforest , river gorges waterfalls and spectacular views along the coast.
The Apsley River has carved an impressive gorge through fairly rugged terrain.
In 1989, the Douglas Apsley became the state’s newest national park and still remains largely untouched and under-developed.
It is an area of great beauty; rugged landscapes, deep river gorges and spectacular waterfalls.
It provides a carefully managed area for many rare plants and animals that aren’t found in other parks. Including this spikey beast... a grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea australis)
In fact, running the route became quite a gauntlet of spikey plants in places...
The route began along a path before coming to a Waterhole and then rising 150m up a steep rocky track. But what goes up must come down, so on the other side, there was a steep downhill to negotiate
All of this was worth it for the chance to sit and admire the waterfall and explore further along the gorge.

Posted by charlystyles 12:55 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Bicheno & beyond

sunny 18 °C

Together with Coles Bay, Bicheno is the holiday centre of Tasmania’s East Coast. In summer the bay is very popular due to its sheltered location meaning that temperatures are always a few degrees warmer than elsewhere in the state.
We stayed for a couple of nights in a very clean and comfortable Back Packers - a bit like a youth hostel in the UK.

One of the main attraction along this part of the coast line is the Blowhole
It's amazing to watch the waves come in and be forced up the hole, making quite a noise as they explode out the top.

The Gulch
This little harbour has bustled with activity since sealing and whaling boats first dropped anchor 200 years ago. Later, steamships called to serve the surrounding farms and the short-lived coal mining industry. Its use as a fishing resort continues along with aquamarine and tourism.
Governor Island Marine Reserve has sheer granite walls and deep caves which reveal a brilliant mosaic of jewel anemones and other life in the reserve, which is behind Governor Island.
These little red Sea anenomies were particularly eye catching at the surface.
The reserve helps to protect extraordinary marine life. Tasmania is one of the most biologically diverse and unique marine environments in the world, with 80 per cent of the plants and animals in Southern Australia waters found nowhere else.

Redbill Beach
The original inhabitants for this area were the LInetamairrenaa people. They lit small fires near their campsites to cook small fish collected from the nearby shores. Local surfers meet at Redbill each morning to check the surf.
The bright orange is lichen, which is two ‘plants’ in one – a close partnership between an algae and a fungus.

Diamond Island Nature Reserve
At low tide, it is possible to walk out to Diamond Island.
Hundreds of Little (Fairy) Penguins make quite a noise at night during the spring-summer breeding season. Many stay at sea for the rest of the year.
The island is covered in Penguin burrows.
At various points along the coast line around Bicheno, you can spot these burrows in the undergrowth.
If you sit still enough, for long enough as it gets dark, you may be lucky enough to see the Little Penguins making their way up the beach to their burrows for the evening.
or even, see the baby penguins (with funky hair-do's) become impatient, leave the burrow and head down to the beach looking for their parents and their first meal of the day.

Spiky Bridge
is part of the old convict coach road which connected Swansea with Little Sawnport and the east coast road to Hobart. By 1820 the reaches of white settlement were being pushed further up Tasmania's east coast. Settlers, such as George Meredith and Francis Cotton, were drawn to the area by the prospects of farming and whaling. Spiky Bridge and part s of the old coach road which are still visible today, remain as enduring legacies of the convict workers from the nearby station.
The reason why spikes were incorporated in the design remains elusive.

Spiky Beach
is opposite Spiky Bridge. It is a great example of one of the many small, secluded bays along this coast line. It means beaches are not over crowded and there is always somewhere to find a little space and an environment for exploration.

During the trip to the East Coast, we covered over 1,600km
we saw forests, gorges, beaches, and unlimited beautiful scenery.

And all of this needs photographing...

Posted by charlystyles 12:23 Archived in Australia Tagged bicheno little_penguins Comments (0)

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