That was ferry close!

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February 21st 2010
Published: March 5th 2010
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Day 301 - Day trip to South Bruny Island from Hobart

Call the police, there’s been a crime committed; one of my socks has gone missing! You take them to the laundry, get them washed, put them on the clothes line to dry, change your mind and bundle everything into the tumble drier because it looks like rain, get all your dry and warm clothes back to the caravan and then find you’re missing a sock. Devastating! Get some wood Sarah …. build a bridge!

The blogs are getting a bit behind now, we knew we’d struggle to keep up and when it’s a case of doing stuff or blogging then we of course have to choose the ‘doing stuff’ option. They’ll keep coming so don’t go too far away or you’ll all drown under a deluge of email alerts!

Having said that, we almost had ourselves a spare day today. Tony & Jane are heading off to South Bruny Island on a cruise which is reported to be one of the top 100 tours to do in the world. Gosh, that’s a big statement and something pretty wowsers to live up too! We toyed with the idea of joining them and although it does sound a great experience we decide to give it a miss. As a rule we’ve not done that many tours on our trip, quite often you can get to see things for yourself anyway unless it involves boats. The big attraction for this particular cruise is the colony of seals living on the coastline around South Bruny Island and the sight of the coastline itself, apparently it’s pretty spectacular.

What we did decide to do was travel with Tony & Jane in their car then whizz off around the island while they were on the cruise and see what we could find! To us that sounded a good compromise.

Access to South Bruny is via a small vehicle ferry operating between Kettering (on the mainland) and Roberts Point (North Bruny). We arrived in time for the 9.30am crossing and park up whilst waiting to board. The family in the car next to us were travelling with young children and joyfully dealing with what they described as an explosive ‘Code Brown’ situation! Ok, and the breakfast rolls are back in the box!

The trip across the water doesn’t take long at all although I was on the phone for all of it so didn't actually get to see anything much! I thought I'd better crack on with availability at Cradle Mountain and boy am I glad I did - it's pretty much full! Unfotunately I can't seem to get through to the campsite itself, even caravan parks has their own central customer services these days! I'm given the news that there is only one powered site left on the nights we want but for the two nights we want to stay they are seperate powered sites meaning we would have to shift the caravan at 10am on the second morning. Sod that, what a pain in the rear that would be. After a quick discussion with Jane we instead opt for two un-powered sites and just hope there's at least a camp kitchen with power points for us to keep everything charged. Luck was on our side again though, the nearest free site or other caravan park is over a 40 minute drive away from the National Park so it's far more convenient to stay at the Discovery Park.

We’re soon back on solid ground with Tony driving towards Adventure Bay, the point they need to catch the cruise from. Off they went at 11.30 and we promised faithfully to return on time before their ‘ship came in’ three hours later!

We left Adventure Bay with Darryl driving the Landcruiser and headed straight for Cape Bruny Lighthouse. On the map it didn’t look too far away, in reality it took a bit longer than we anticipated and it is a ‘one road in, one road out’ deal so we knew we’d have no choice but to come back on ourselves for at least part of the route. The views from the lighthouse were good and the coastline here looks great. Unfortunately the small island where the seals hang out isn’t visible from any of the walks; I guess that’s what makes people go on the cruise!

The weather started to lift as we made our way round to Jetty Beach and then Cloudy Bay. When we arrived there was a family having a great time on the beach and others swimming in the chilly sea. They were braver than us! We walked to Prices Point which is pretty and then hopped back in the car for a bit more forest exposure.

The Mount Bruny Forest Reserve has tracks that allow you to drive from Cloudy Bay back up to Adventure Bay. It gave us some terrific views of what looked like a never-ending tree line. The sunshine got closed out as we drove through; we were so low in comparison with the mightily tall trees lining the way. Of course we were on the look out for wildlife the whole time and we did manage to stop for a snake that was crossing the track. We reversed back to get a better look at him but he wasn’t particularly happy with that as he rared up a bit and did his hissing Sid impersonation. I have to say that all this activity was done very carefully and behind the closed door of the car - we don’t muck around with snakes.

We made it back just in time for Tony & Jane’s return. They’d had an absolute ball and described the trip as ‘just amazing’. The crew were said to be excellent and very funny plus of course the mass amount of seals you get to see is a big hit. Another satisfied couple of customers!

So, what was there for us to do for the rest of the afternoon? Well we snuck time for a bit of lunch and then set off on a walk! Shocking I know! The Fluted Cape walk is 30 minutes short of a 3 hr return and although we’d been told by a local that there’s no point going right to the top we thought we’d get our fresh air fix and do it anyway.

The climb up through the bush is quite tough but we make it eventually and get our photo taken with the sign at the top. It simple says ‘Fluted Cape 272m’. We wondered if that meant the Fluted Cape was another 272m further on or that this was the summit of Fluted Cape at 272m high! We figured it was the later, stuck to our guns and refused to walk any further uphill! The view from this point was non-existent; we’d been told that by a family who had made the walk in the opposite direction to us. They’d said that you needed to go about half way down before you saw anything!

We flirted with the steep cliffs that lined our climb down but we never got the view of Fluted Cape that we’d quite expected! Grass Point and Penguin Island are the last parts of the walk to give us good views but by then we’d realised time had run away from us and it was nearly quarter to six! Where on earth had the time gone but more importantly, would we catch the very last ferry of the day which left North Bruny island to go back to the mainland at 7pm! Crikey, all of a sudden Jane’s picked up the walking pace across the beach with Darryl belting after her while myself & Tony (I’m not daft - Tony had the car keys!) brought up the rear!

We made it back to the car some time after six o’clock. With the journey time predicted at 40 minutes to drive between Adventure Bay & Roberts Point, we were a little worried! No pressure Tony!

He threw caution to the wind and safely drove like a bat out of hell! Past the penguin rookery we went, no time for a stop at the lookouts or to see if the little beauties were coming ashore yet. There was no time either for the doddery vehicle that slowed us and the other panicking tourists in the last stages of the drive. Imagine our horror when we arrive at the terminal to see a small line of vehicles ahead of us and the ferry just pulling out on to the water! Oh my gosh, have we missed it? Are we really going to have to sleep in the car tonight?

Of course not! We’d made it in plenty of time and the ferry did return to pick us and the other passengers up. Tony, Jane and Darryl even found time for coffee and ice-cream!

We whipped up scrambled eggs on toast for dinner when we got back, we were too pooped for anything complex. Tomorrow is moving day again, this time we’re heading to Queenstown which is a long drive with a couple of stops en-route. Trouble is that we’re hooked on the Winter Olympics, we just love it. The ski-ing, the snowboarding, the ice skating and in particular anything relating to bobsleds - that’s just awesome. Regardless of when our eyes finally shut, there’s no chance of a lazy lie-in and the alarm is set for 6.15am. See you then!

Dar and Sar

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