Backpacking in Australia: The Magic of Bruny Island, Tasmania

Backpacking in Australia: The Magic of Bruny Island, Tasmania

Bruny Island is one of many islands off the coast of Tasmania. Obviously it’s Australian. Again I decided to visit there as I wasn’t sure how long I’ll stay in Tasmania and whether or not I will ever be in Tasmania again after this long stint on the island.
Bruny Island is situated on the south east of Tassie, south of Hobart. In fact in my first week in Tassie, I was very close by and stared across at Bruny Island from a remote village called Gordon. I had no idea that the island there was so easily accessible and that people lived there. And that it was simply beautiful and had to be seen.
After a few months here in Tassie, I had met a few people who had been to Bruny Island, Marina and Jenny to name just two. It costs just $28 return to get there and back in your car. You really need a car to go there as there is no public transport (or any need for it) on Bruny Island. It’s a beautiful unchartered wilderness island famous for wildlife and some farming.
The island is a tourist attraction for Tasmanians, who like to go there on short breaks. There are two main ways to get there:
1. Fly in an aeroplane
2. Get the public ferry boat across from Kettering
But actually there isn’t really an airport on Bruny Island, or one of any great magnitude. Just past the Great Bay at Little Lagoon there is a runway and mini airport which is used by private jets. In peak season some tour operators may let you arrive there by plane, but unless you’re rich it’s basically not an option. Which leaves the Kettering ferry boat as your main gateway to Bruny Island.
Why go there? Actually that question should be “why go anywhere?”. In fact I cannot think of a place on this here planet that I wouldn’t want to go to (I’d even visit the Republic of Ireland, or Iraq if I had to). We are here for one life and one chance, and no matter how sad we get we have the option to earn money and get to explore. I’ve always wanted to do that. Geography and places always fascinated me as a kid. Ever since I read the Atlas of the World and collected a one time “free in the Sunday Times” collection of maps of the world. I’d love to find those maps now and look at them.
They’ll have changed quite a bit. Capital cities have changed. Countries have changed. Polar Ice Caps have melted. The world ain’t the same now as it was when I was a kid, back in 1986 the Hungarians were communist, the Northern Irish were terrorist, and the Bruny Islanders were probably not visited by such a range of nationalities as they are now. It’s a good era to travel in. Our forefathers have made travel easy for us. But that doesn’t take the sparkle off it, or make me any less of a traveler than them.
I love random places and especially remote islands nobody has heard of. I have a few more remote islands I want to go to in life. Here are just a few of them:
1. Falkland Islands
2. Copeland Islands
3. Rathlin Island
4. South Georgia Islands
5. Madagascar
6. Tonga
7. Baffin Island
I’ve been to quite a few amazing islands already, given I’ve even worked at some of them. I once served coffee and made toast at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. I once helped push wheelchairs at St. Peter Port in Guernsey. I once carried a spear gun through security at St. Helier, Jersey. These were some of my island experiences working on ferry boats. Some childhood dreams are a pleasure when they come true, and I was getting paid for the privilege. 
Last year I planned to take the South of England Northern Ireland Supporters Club by private helicopter from Penzance to Georgetown on The Scilly Isles. Just to stay there one night and watch a game of less than amateurs play a Sunday morning football match. It would have happened. There would have been 8 of us dressed in green, standing on a hill cheering on either the Garrison Gunners or the Woolpack Wanderers on the Isles of Scilly. The world’s smallest football league. That was a dream and it would have happened if I hadn’t fallen in love. I’d have been there. I had even been e-mailing the chairman of one of the clubs to organise the meeting and visit. But I’m sure one day I’ll go there with my friend Richard Ingram and 6 other lunatic fans.
Before I launch into the magic of Bruny, here’s some other islands I’ve been to, which is quite a diverse range:
1. Isle of Wight
2. Sark
3. Herm
4. Guernsey
5. Jersey
6. Staten Island
7. Singapore
8. Australia
9. Tasmania
10. Taiwan
11. Brownsea Island
12. The Isle of Anglesey
13. Venice
14. Rhodes
(They span four continents) Of course there’s a few more islands I’ve been to (haven’t even included the Zealands there!) but islands are great places to go. There’s no escape. There’s more freedom. And there’s a lot to see on one land mass. There’s something slightly more special.
I was in Hobart doing a Medical on the Friday and wasn’t sure if I would be back in work on the Saturday or Sunday. So in the end I found that I was off work, so I booked a hostel in Hobart for the Friday night for comfort (Hostelworld’s Brunswick Hotel), did Salamanca Market on the Saturday morning and decided to go to Bruny Island on Saturday afternoon for the Saturday night and come back to Tasmania on the Sunday afternoon. The plan was easy and cheap. I had all the food supplies I needed, i had a full tank of petrol (filled up just south of Hobart) and I could drive down to Kettering and get the ferry to Bruny Island.
A Saturday Sun shone peacefully over an almost people-less island as I gently drove my Toyota Hilux over the ramp at Roberts Point and into the untainted magic of Bruny. I had arrived. No passport stamps. No people waiting. Not even a harbour there. 
It was true magic. Reminded me totally of Sark and Herm, but in another hemisphere, and Sark has no cars on it (they’re not allowed) and Herm can be done walking. Bruny Island is slightly bigger in area than both.
In fact it’s the same size as the island, country and city of Singapore. It has almost the exact same land mass, which I cannot quite believe. But it’s true. Given that I had been on an island of 4.5 million people in Singapore last year, I was now on an island with less than 1,000 people (tourists and visitors included). The official population is 620 permanent residents. Yet they’re the same size. In Singapore a mass of trendy business people rush around on underground trains. Here my car drives slowly down a gravel track disguised as a main road. 
Within minutes I am enchanted by the magic of Bruny. I enter the island at a jetty/pier known as Robert’s Point. It’s in Apollo Bay. There is a small shop, a kiosk and toilets in a mini hut just by the hill at the top of the pier. There isn’t even a village here. Memories of Sark and Herm flooded my brain, but I quickly cleared my mind of those wonderful islands to concentrate on this gem on its own.
Of course at the start I drove away from Roberts Point and was part of a queue of cars – they were either before or after me getting off the boat. I had been the first car onto the boat and the second car off it. Yet on the way up the hill, I had pulled over into a layby (as I often do to capture moments that can be missed) to photograph and be photographed by the sign “Welcome to Bruny Island”, the only real indication that we are here. A penguin image is on the sign. You find them here, but not any time of year.
So I’m in a queue of cars passing along the tarmacked road. Its a decent road at first – all the way to the first junction. This road is called Lennon Road. Highly unlikely that an ex-Beatle was once here watching the wheels go by. I’m on North Bruny Island at this point. It’s one big island, but with a very narrow connection between North and South Bruny Island. This connnection, at Isthmus Bay is called “The Neck.”
I want to see the entire island I decide, whether it means just brief trips to parts, that’s OK. I have 24 hours to do it. I’ll sleep for around 8 hours, so 16 hours should be plenty of time, in an island with 300 kilometres of coast line, yet just 48 kilometres from north to south, and at its widest point, probably only 12 kilometres wide.
I ignore the very north part of the island to start with, so instead of turning left onto the C625 (really the roads still have official names!) towards Barnes Bay, Dennes Point and Killora, I decide to leave that for Sunday lunchtime in order to see South Bruny Island (the bigger land mass and where the largest settlements are) first, and I had already decided I would stay somewhere on the south part overnight.
Amazing views and a calm ocean were visible from out of my car window. It was late afternoon and not yet dark. I had time to do three of the main attractions before dusk kicked in. When I say attractions, it was just things I wanted to see really. The Big Hummock on “The Neck” is essential. 
It’s the narrow part of the island which joins the two parts, and there is a massive steep hill there from which you can view both islands and stare down at the world around you. 
Minimal navigation skills were required. The locals have everything well marked and signposted. Most of the roads on the island are muddy and gravel. This was OK when I was there as the sun was out and there was no sign of rain. I could imagine cars could get stuck in the mud in the rain on Bruny Island.
I passed The Great Bay and the airport runway. It was odd seeing a sign for an airport in such a remote place. It truly is the most bizarre location of a runway I’ve ever seen. Two metres from the road, and more of a mud runway than a tarmacked one. There’s no chance you could land a Boeing 747 on Bruny Island. Just past the “airport” I see the first signs for “The Neck” and the Penguin Rookery.
I had seen two fairy penguins in the wild at Stanley just a few weeks earlier, which was a first for me. Here, on Bruny Island you can see a lot of penguins, yet at this time of year (May) it was unlikely. Unless you booked the boat cruise round the island, which almost guarantees seeing penguins at night. But that’s cheating. At least I saw them on my own at Stanley without paying. Natural, wild and spontaneous.
Once I arrived on “The neck” you could tell you were in the joining part between the two islands. Suddenly on the right i was right beside the beach. On my left at points I could also see the sea – Adventure Bay actually. Go a wee bit further east and you’ll find South Island New Zealand. There is a carpark ready made for the lookout point as we pass the penguin rookery. There are two other cars parked. A young couple own one. An elderly couple own the other. I had a brief snack there, my sandwiches. Ham and Cheese. Plus a banana. The I walked over to Neck Beach.
A sign up says “Please do not access” and has images of birds and penguins. They have sealed off a small area to nature. And rightly so. They (the Kingborough Council, the local Tasmanian Council which looks after Bruny Island) have custom built wooden steps up to the hill at the top of The Neck for viewing. How nice of them. And what a view! From the top it is just the most awesome view over natural coastline scenery. I had picked a good day for it.
There’s a photo there of the amazing view from the top, it’s breathtaking really. A truly natural place to view. No big skscrapers. Only a few people lurking. A fading saturday sun. I stopped at the top and pondered for a wee while on my own and thought it would have been nice to have shared the view with somebody else. But as the Red Hot Chili Peppers once said “with the birds I share this lonely view”, in a song called Scar Tissue. There were plenty of birds around.
There was a contrast to both sides of the neck in terms of water. To my right, the west was calm and peaceful. To my left, the east was an abundance of waves splashing against the shore.
I took time to read the information there at what they call “Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve.” The place is dedicated to Truganini, an Aboriginal woman who lived in fear of the whites invasion and witnessed man’s inhumanity to man. A portrait of her and a stone of dedication mark this lady’s struggle against the whites. It was time to move on and drive onto South Bruny Island for the first time.
I headed to the south east, which is an area for tourists called Adventure Bay. It’s like a little holiday village. A road sign also says “Cookville” on it, as the furthest settlement east is named after Captain Cook. There is also a Captain Cook Creek. This was the bay where the man himself first landed on Bruny Island. I had picked up three separate guides to the island all with maps and information on them. I had also spoken to a few workmates who had been there. Everybody recommended it.
What is fascinating is that on Bruny Island, there is a type of animal that cannot be easily found anywhere else on the planet in the wild. These are white wallabies. Though they exist in parts of Australia (particularly Western Australia), on Bruny Island you can guarantee to see them. Here they are in the wild, they are not kept in a zoo or looked after in a colony. This was something I was looking forward to.
A rare experience it would be to see a white wallaby. I hoped and prayed I would see them on my 24 stay on the island. In fact it was less than 2 hours in and I had seen them! I was incredibly happy and astonished at their beauty. However I found them “with a little help from my friends”, and a French mate who had worked on broccoli (and cauliflower) with me. Clement Mansot from France has now left Tasmania. But he told me how to guarantee seeing white wallabies.

On a cauliflower farm near Port Sorrell, I got out a Bruny Island map one day and asked Clement to highlight roughly where on the island I can see them. He pinpointed straight away a desolate caravan park in Cookville and said “walk along the beach, turn right and you should see some there.” It couldn’t be that easy! It had taken me 3 months in Australia to see a wild kangarooney!


I parked as the only car at Captain Cook’s Landing Place. A sign up said “No Camping”, I presumed that also meant “No Parking and Sleeping In Your Car” as well, though it didn’t strictly say. I walked onto the beach. I wasn’t even sure this was the place Clement meant. Bt it was the end of the road. I was on another lonely wilderness walk in search of a white wallaby. The sun was setting and the Southern Ocean looked fabulous. As ever. It’s a great Ocean that, and actually living in Tasmania, aged 29 (and now 30) was the first time I saw this ocean.


My shoes got sandy as I got to a wide part of the beach. There I turned right and sure enough saw a desolate caravan park. I don’t know if the word is desolate or derelict, I don’t really care though, as I hope both can fit. There were three deserted caravans and a few gas bottles. I could hear wildlife but not see it. Dusk was coming. It was getting dark a lot quicker than I was used to in mainland Tasmania. Now we were closer to the south pole. Then I saw a rabbit hop away from me. I walked across a grassy bank, down a verge past the caravans where there was a large field.


Straight away I saw some grey and brown Bennett’s Wallabies! Seeing wallabies in the wild in Australia is hardly anything to be excited about. You get used to it – they are everywhere (outside the big cities). There were quite a lot of them. Some hopped away from me, others stayed there and I was able to take a few quick photos and video them. Then the corner of my eye, spotted in the distance what looked like a white wallaby!


I had to be ultra careful not to scare it away, I thought, as this could be a once in a lifetime moment. I may never see another on of these again. I crept up slow and it saw me. Stared at me. The white wallaby looked cute and beautiful. It also looked sad and lonely. Like an outcast on its own amongst all these darker furred wallabies. It was easy to spot the white one against a green background and a darkening sky.


I was very happy to have seen the white wallabies, but decided I should get up early and see them again, at dawn. I parked my car by a lay by at the “Bay of History”, well Captain Cook’s landing place and I slept comfortably and peacefully there. 

No other cars even came down that road. It was so remote. Like being alone on a planet. I woke around 6 am and as the sun was rising, walked along the beach again.


Again I saw the beautiful white wallabies in all their forlorn glory. There were two, and I photographed my favourite close white wallaby. 

I gave him the boring nickname of “Whitey.” I enjoyed spending lonely time with “Whitey.” But nothing lasts forever and I had the rest of the island to see – and I wanted to see it all. 

I wasn’t worried about seeing seals or penguins though, which is why most people go to Bruny Island. I’ve seen wild penguins at Stanley. And the seals and penguin colonies can wait till Antarctica. It was bye to Whitey and a drive in my car through Cookville.


There were a few nice photo moments on the next part of my trip. Adventure Bay and Cookville seem to be the two names of the “villages” or “settlements” on the south east part of Bruny Island. I photographed the main streets and houses of both.


I walked to Captain Cook Creek. Someone unclever had changed it to Captain Cock Creek, or tried to. Not funny these days mind you I’d have been in stitches back in the 80s or 90s. 


A gorgeous mini river estuary was there, with mirroring water and a delving sun.


I drove along the C630, most of which is tarmacked, and then I changed onto the C629, most of which is gravel. This road is the only gravel road down to Cape Bruny, the south west tip of the island. It was a quiet lonely trip. Not many cars on the road. Freedom from the busyness of a lively Saturday night Irish Pub, or a crop abundant cauliflower field on a warm wet Monday.


I passed manys a dead wallaby on the road. Roadkill in Tasmania is a big problem. Especially in the remote places like Bruny Island, Poatina and the Western Wilderness. Lots of animals die every night. 

I’ve driven past wombats, wallabies, possums, Tasmanian Devils, rabbits and even dead deer. It’s sad but these animals are pretty stupid, they always wander or hop onto the road in front of cars and oncoming headlights. I’ve swerved to avoid a few to date and touch wood not killed any. It’s dangerous.


I drove through the two largest settlements on the island. They are Lunnawanna and Alonnah, which without stating it, is the capital city here. I didn;t stop in either, as I wanted to drive to Cape Bruny on the south west tip and then do the two villages on the way back.


After a drive down a winding, gritty gravel track, I arrived at Mabel Bay lookout. It totally reminded me of Sark. Sark, I will mention in future, but it is a wonderous island, one of the Channel Islands, and one of Europe’s last Feudal States. Working on cross channel ferries (England – France) in 2009 presented me with the cheap opportunity to see such places like Sark. I loved my time on Sark, Herm, Guernsey (and almost Lihou – tide was out) and was sad that the lady I asked to come with me declined the chance to see some free natural beauty with me.


Here at Mabel Bay I had the same lonely thoughts, but had to get on with it, enjoying the wonderful sunny landscape on a calm sea with a glorious island in front of the bay. You could see across the bay to the other side of the island. It all looked like the way nature intended.


I drove to Cape Bruny before it even opened to the public. It was a quiet calm Sunday. Possibly one of the quietest days in the year on Bruny. You are supposed to pay for National Parks entry on Tasmania. And I did at Wineglass Bay (Freycinet National Park) and Cradle Mountain/Dove Lake (Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park). But here I felt no need. The national park is South Bruny National Park.


At the entrance to the national park, to pay, it said you are supposed to submit the money into an envelope and place it in the box below. There was no envelope. There was no box. I had no money. So I didn’t pay and I didn’t venture long there. I simply drove and parked at Cape Bruny, had a look around and drove back out.


I didn’t go to the south west tip, as you were supposed to pay to get into the Light Station, it wasn’t open for another hour or so when I arrived, so I didn’t bother. It was a moment that drew comparisons with the sublime location of Eluanbi in Taiwan. I had gone to Eluanbi with Neil and Natalja back in October 2009. There was a light house and it was the south tip of Taiwan. Here we had a light house and almost the south tip of Tasmania/Australia.


First up was Lunnawanna, where I stopped 3 times for a look around. First stop was at the side of the road by the Lunnawanna Community Hall and some cottage/country style housing. There was also a Memorial Hall there and some free public toilets.


Then I stopped at Lunnawanna Store, which was open. Another car was parked outside. 

They had a customer and they sold “Award Winning Bruny Island Pies”, a sucker for novelties and one-offs in life I was tempted to buy one for a brief second. Then my PR brain took over, and I settled for my own salami and cheese sandwiches, later on.


Lunnawanna Store was on the road to Cloudy Bay (the area I saw from Mabel Bay Lookout, but didn’t go to), and opposite were a few farms and houses. A signpost dictating where every “settlement” on the island was stood at this T-Junction.


The world’s loneliest petrol pump lay in the forecourt at Lunnawanna Store. It was like a scene from an old US movie, where there ain’t no petrol station in sight and you find these pumps. Commercialism was missing here and I liked that. Lunnawanna Petrol Pump. Lonely, but as far as I could see it was the ONLY petrol station on the island. I’m probably wrong there.


I drove back onto the main road for my final stop in Lunnawanna, and for my brother. There was no sign saying it was called “Daniel’s Bay”, but my map said “Daniel’s Bay”, so I got out and walked by the beach there. Lots of seagulls had flocked to Daniel’s Bay. I wondered if my kid brother Daniel will ever visit Daniel’s Bay.


I pondered on that and then crossed the road to the farm where two goats were grazing. Friendly and frightened they ran off as I approached, but I back checked and they came over again to graze. They were enjoyed the sun and tranquility of Bruny Island. 

But they know no other life. I know of many other lives – the busy city of London, the tourist buzz of Berlin and the mayhem of a crowded train in Beijing were all jolts of life I’ve had away from this type of silence. I left the goats to graze and drove to the capital.


I made 3 stops in Alonnah, the capital. It’s the main settlement on Bruny Island. First stop I got my photo taken at the Bottle-O Sign for Australia’s Southernmost Hotel. The Bruny Island Hotel was one floor, a big car park and yet has a famous selling point. 

It may be the southern most hotel in Australia but I also reckoned in a direct line south from there, there were no other hotels until the south pole.


The owners dog scared me briefly as I photographed the hotel sign, and gazed through the windows into the empty bar. There were no cars parked. Nobody was staying there. 

The dog must have sensed I was a legitimate tourist rather than a hotel burglar and sat down to watch me. I was gone soon after.


To the “city centre” of Alonnah, where local peelers were getting their gear on and having a smoke. The Police Station is one of the smallest I’ve seen. Beside it lies the post office and medical centres. Again probably the only ones on the island.


My final stop for this lifetime in Alonnah was by the war memorial and sports ground. Here, it was the turn of the sheep to get upset by me. I’d had goats, dogs and now sheep gazing at me. They really must see a lot of people! And probably not an eejit with a camera on a quiet Sunday taking photos of things nobody else takes photos of. And wearing a green Northern Ireland fleece.


I photographed Alonnah’s war memorial.


I photographed Alonnah’s Education Centre and School.


I photographed the Sports Ground.


I had finished with Alonnah and South Bruny Island, and so I drove up to the north, stopping briefly again at “The Neck” to admire the natural beauty around me. I turned right off the main road (the B66) and onto the only road, kind of a loop road on North Bruny Island. Of course I would do the loop.


I first passed Barnes Bay and then got to the top of the island, the roads were very higgledy piggedly or “winding” as the Beatles would tell you, but not long. The drive was short and I waved to two other car drivers. Locals no doubt.


I parked at Dennes Point and walked along the Public Jetty. There was a picnic area there and you could see across to mainland Tasmania.


I walked along Nebraska Beach, wondered how it got it’s name actually. Where the Yanks once here? It’s only a name. The northern part of the beach was empty. Not a soul in sight. Calm waves hit the shores of North Bruny Island and this little settlement known as Dennes Point.


I drove down a wee bit more and parked again next to an information board. This brung a surprise and the closing of a circle for me…


I had bought a really shit travel book, the Berlitz Australia guide and it had 5 photos from Tasmania in it. Totally random photos, and the guide didn;t really explain the best places to go, or even state where the photos were took. By chance I had managed to travel, visit and photograph the locations of four of those photos. The final one was simply a red hut on a piece of grass by a beach somewhere.


The book didn’t even mention where it was, and to be honest there are so many of these red huts that it could be anywhere and no tourist will ever find it, or need to. But glancing at this exquisite wee hut in front of me, the bells rang and it was the same hut. I had now seen all five photo locations from my shit book.


The photo in my book didn;t even match with the writing, and it simply had a caption “Rustic Charm in Tasmania”, I had always assumed it to be on the mainland somehwere. But here on the north west tip, at Dennes Point, was this lonely, infamous red hut.


Despite not really liking my book, I liked that caption “Rustic Charm in Tasmania”, I stole it for my article on Lonny, calling it “Architectural Charm in Lonny”, but here there was something charmful of this red hut. There were a few huts beside it. They are used for storing boats, canoes, fishing equipment etc. They are probably owned by the locals. They are pretty.


At that moment, some locals dandered up the beach with their dog. They all said “Hello”, they were walking their dogs. It was time for me to leave the red rustical charm of Dennes Point, close up the Tasmania chapter of my Berlitz Guide and set off on my merry ferry way.


A quick drive through Killora, not even a village, just a few farms and i was back passing Barnes Bay (where the North Bruny Fire Station was the main attraction). Within minutes I was the fourth car parked for my ferry back to mainland Tasmania, not before a few random coincidences mind you.


I went into the “kiosk” at Robert’s Point (the ferry ‘terminal’/departure point) and wanted a few Bruny Island postcards. One guy was working there. 

I picked out two really nice postcards (one of a white wallaby, and one of “the neck”) and also fancied a Passion Fruit Juice drink, which was $1.50. I asked the guy if I could take a photo of the wee kiosk and he said yes.


There was also a postcard which I though was of my ferry boat – The Mirrambeena, but I turned it over and it was a different boat – the previous one, so I didn’t buy it. “Have you got any postcards of the Mirrambeena?” I asked the kiosk vendor. “You know, you’re the first person to notice that it’s a different boat!” he said, wondering where I was from.


I told him I was from Northern Ireland and was working on farms in northern Tasmania. He said he was looking for someone to work on his farm as a “WWOOF” project. Most people will know “WWOOF” as an international farming organisation to help travelers find work. It stands for Willing Workers On Organic farms.


He basically offered me a job to live and work on his farm for free accomodation and free food, but obviously to earn no money! It was great to be offered such a job, but I’m earning $18.18 an hour here nowadays so I had to decline the chance to work on such a remote island. These chances only come once in a lifetime you know…


It was like what Tim Beattie (my friend and co-founder of the SOENISC) once said to me “you never know where and how you can easily get job offers sometimes”, he was right, even in my life before that I had experienced this. I got the job working in a bar in a theatre (in 2007) only because i had worked two years before that with the manager, who was then a fellow supervisor with me down at Bournemouth Beach. 

While working in PR in London, I was also once offered a position working as a tech journalist in CNET (just by talking to a guy at a function), but at the time I still had my degree to get and was enjoying the lifestyle of Bite Communications so again I turned it down.

Here in a remote kiosk (which sells souvenirs, food and drink) at Robert’s Point, I could have worked for a few days for free easily. I took the guy’s number anyway, his name was Dave and I told him if I change my mind and fancy the job, I’d do it. It would be quite something to say you once worked on Bruny Island, I’d guess. During all this, Dave had another customer in between times, who had asked me where I was from.


When I said Northern Ireland, she said her Mum was from there and by coincidence was waiting in the car a few cars behind mine, and that I had to go and talk to her, as she wouldn’t believe it! After a brief chat with Dave, I headed for the car a few behind me.

There was a lovely elderly lady looking relaxed and sitting in the passenger seat. She was from a wee fishing village in my home country – Kilkeel. Her name was Attracta McKnight (I’m not sure if I have spelt it correctly – it wasn’t a name I;d heard before and she told me it was an uncommon Catholic name). She had a Northern Irish accent, despite her age and the fact that she had been away from Northern Ireland since the 1960s. 

An old lady with wisdom and charm. Here on Bruny Island. Whoever said it was a small world needs a slap. It’s a massive world and there’s a hell of a lot to see. What they meant was you will find a lot of coincidences and links to your roots when you travel around. So the only two nationalities I met on Bruny Island were Australian/Brunayan/Tasmanian (delete as they want to be called) and Northern Irish.


The day of charm wasn’t yet over and there’d be a real twist of fate for me later on at Glenorchy. For now, the Mirambeena ferry was docked and I was headed back to the Tasmanian mainland. The Bruny Island adventure was over in the blink of a young girl’s eye. Glory days. They’ll pass you by.


Bruny Island is a barely touched paradise. Let’s hope it’s never spoiled.

Population of Bruny Island – 620 permanent residents
Capital (or largest settlement) – Alonnah
Where I Stayed – Slept wonderfully in my custom made bed in my car in the car park by Adventure Bay, landing place of Captain Cook, once upon a time. Magic.
Animals you can see there – Dogs, Sheep, Goats, Cows, White Wallabies, Wallabies, Rabbits, Penguins, Seals.
Nickname of my favourite Bruny Island white wallaby – Whitey
Nationalities Met – Bruny Islanders (Australian/Tasmanian) and Northern Irish (you couldn’t make it up could you?)
Escape from commercialism – Similar to Sark and Herm, there are no McDonald’s on Bruny Island
Key Songs:

Crowded House – Saturday Sun:
















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