Sometimes being a carefree traveller (read: disorganised) can you lead you to a more delicious experience.
Where is Bruny Island?
Bruny is an island off an island off an island. Specifically, it’s a hop and a skip south off Tasmania, which is a hop and skip south off the Australian continent. And it’s a little off-beat to match.
Ask a Tasmanian if they think the island looks like an upside down Australia and they say, “You mean Australia is an upside down Tasmania.”
The Bruny Island ferry
The Bruny Island ferry (timetable here) will take your car and whoever is inside it for $28 return (regular sized cars under 5 metres).
But before boarding, city dwellers beware of the Bruny Island local: they are frighteningly friendly.
Ringing around for rooms on the last ferry of the day we discovered that nothing was available on the tiny island.
A bloke walked past the car and through the wound down window we asked him for any ideas. A camping ground or backpackers?
He said his name was Alan and we reckoned he’d be his early sixties, friendly looking too, in a faded pair of jeans and blue-plaid shirt.
“I have a bit of land with a couple of caravans on it,” Alan paused.
“I’d say you could stay there, but the shitter’s out of action,” he said, scratching his head. “My daughter had twenty of her mates there over Christmas and now the plumbing’s shot.”
We mumbled something about it being OK, no worries, no need to put him out. (To be honest a terrifying scene from Wolf Creek shot through my mind. Then I wondered, when did we become so distrustful of friendly strangers?)
“If you want you can come and have a look and you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to,” Alan said humbly.
The caravans were lovely and homely, with views of the bay that only a desolate island can offer. And there was a loo down the road.
Where there was no accommodation we had found instead, an accommodating person.
“It’s a great place Bruny, I love it. I think it’s the best place in the world,” he said, breathing in the chilly air and looking out at the bay.
Staying in Alan’s camper we soon discovered that the only thing more delightful than a Tasmanian’s down to earth character, is it’s oysters.
You either love or loath the slimy little suckers.
But for those that love, I tell you, Bruny Island oysters will fill your mouth with the flavour of the all the oceans at once.
They are smaller than a Sydney rock oyster, creamier than those from Nambucca Heads and have more bite than New Zealand’s famed Bluff oysters.
Plump, tangy and creamy, these oysters are altogether the most tasty Tasmanian treat ever.
Fuel for love
Flavour aside (if you can) the bivalves are famous for their aphrodisiac properties. Apparently, they are rich in the amino acids that trigger increased levels of er, um, happy hormones. It’s the high zinc content which aids the production of testosterone.
Casanova is supposed to have eaten 50 for breakfast daily.
At the only restaurant pub on the wee island you can gorge yourself on oysters natural, kilpatrick, beer battered, on pizza, and in chowder.
Though for the most unique Bruny Island experience try Get Shucked! A caravan and a picnic table makes up this roadside, seaside eatery. It is as simple and pure an experience as you’ll find in Australia.
If oysters aren’t your thing (that’s fine, more for me) Tasmania’s boutique gastronomy is vast and varied. Cheese, wine, and chocolate could easily become your staples. Or scallop pies, venison pizza…
Bruny Island accommodation
(Ring Dave, he pretty much manages the lot.)
A browse over a brochure or online for accommodation on Bruny Island brings up the same phone number, and all managed by the same punter, Dave.
With a permanent population of less than 700 people life is unhurried and simple. Coffee shops (there’s about 3 on the island) don’t open before 9am and when the milk runs out or the food is finished that’s it, you better find somewhere else to eat. But where? With only a small handful of eateries if you’re popping over on the weekend it’s essential to book.
As for our friend Alan, he’s still in touch via email with us, and I think the shitter’s back in action!
Speaking of bookings, big shout out to Hostel World for sponsoring this post and keeping us on the road!