The moment we drove off the vehicular ferry onto Bruny Island, we felt we had stepped back in time. This is a stunning island and what is more surprising is that it is the size of Singapore in area which has a population of 6 million or so and yet on Bruny there are only 650 permanent residents.
The road to Adventure Bay, where we had booked a house for a couple of days, is well sealed and the drive takes about 40 minutes. Along the way found boutique produce such as cheese, wine, chocolates, fudge, salmon and a berry farm which was, sadly, closed as it was out of season. Undeterred we made our first stop at the oyster farm – this is pure heaven for oyster lovers. Workers were busy shucking as we got there, visitors were guzzling them down with buckets of wine and there were lots of sauces and accompaniments to tempt every palate.
Next stop was the Cheese Factory – where tastings were offered and the smell of wood fired sourdough bread was inviting.
On a little further and we found the chocolate and fudge shop – there the chocolate coated coffee beans won out but the choice was endless.
The scenery along the road is breathtaking and it is rare to pass another vehicle. Adventure Bay is towards the southern end of the island and we had to pass along a narrow isthmus which, apparently in days gone by, the local aboriginal tribes crossed regularly hunting for wallabies, fish and penguins. Now there is a well constructed walkway to the top of the hill affording magnificent views but also providing safe passage as this is also a penguin rookery.
It’s a long climb – but worth it once at the top!
I was very moved by the tale of an Aboriginal woman called Truganini. A plaque at the top of the hill commemorates her life which was forever changed by the white invasion. Her tribal connection went back 30,000 years and yet the arrival of white man brought violence and brutality. At the age of 17 Truganini witnessed the stabbing murder of her mother by men from a whaling ship, Sealers captured her two sisters, Timber getters killed the man she was to marry and she was repeatedly raped by the men, her brother was killed and her step-mother kidnapped by escaped convicts. Not surprisingly her father was devastated and died within months.
Following the loss of her entire family, Truganini worked as a guide and interpreter for George Robinson who had been appointed by the colonial government to persuade the Aborigines to peacefully give up their land. Promises were broken, people were exiled and many died of disease of despair. Eventually, Truganini spent many years at a settlement on Flinders Island before dying at the age of 64 in Hobart.
It is hard to imagine those dreadful days when today there is peace and serenity everywhere.
We arrived at the tiny settlement of Adventure Bay and found our house not far from the beach, up on the hill in a quiet little community. Wallabies greeted us at the top of the drive and then scurried into the bush.
The house is cosy and it wasn’t long before we had a log fire burning and a spread of delicacies picked up from the Deli in Hobart and local stores along the way, all washed down with fine Tasmanian wine. A perfect start to our little stay on Bruny Island.