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Explore : Bruny Island

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Every journey to Bruny Island (pronounced brew-nee) starts on the ferry. Our ticket to and from the island cost us $33, which includes a lovely 2×15 minute ride across the D’entrecastreaux Channel. Our journey would take us from the ferry terminal south through the Neck to the southernmost pub in Australia and onwards to Cape Bruny.

 

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FAST FACTS

  • Bruny Island is actually two land masses that are joined by a sandy isthmus, which is known as the Neck.
  • The whole island is 100km long.
  • Adventure Bay was named after the ship that was captained by English navigator Tobias Furneaux, who landed at the island in 1773.
  • The island is named after French explorer Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, who sailed the channel and discovered that it was in fact an island in 1792. It was known as Bruni Island until 1918 when the spelling was changed to Bruny.

 

When we got down south, radio and reception was starting to fail. At one point, all we got was some church radio station. We listened for a little while and chuckled about the breastplate of righteousness that guards your heart against the evils of the world.

 

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The Neck

The Neck is the sandy isthmus that connects the north and south parts of Bruny Island. There’s a lookout there, Truganini Lookout, and it’s one of the best lookouts we’ve visited on our entire trip around Australia.

 

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Once you ascend the umpteen timber steps to the top, you are gifted with a 360 degree view of the ocean and the narrow strip of sand that connects the north and south ends of the island.

 

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Get Shucked

By far the best oysters in Tasmania and comparable to those in Coffin Bay SA, Get Shucked sells pre-shucked boogers of sea-salty delight that slide down your gob with lubricated ease. Give them a bit of punch with a sprinkle of Tobasco sauce.

 

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The outlet has a great sitting area and they’re licensed so you can enjoy a glass of Seven Sheds beer while you slurp down some oysters.

 

Bruny Island Cheese Co.

This artisan cheese producer is owned by Nick Haddow, who has been making cheeses around the world for over 10 years. He’s recognised as the finest artisan cheese producer in Australia and is also currently the only cheese maker in Australia that is allowed to use raw milk to make cheese. However, laws have changed recently so there may be more raw cheeses in the future.

 

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Our tasting session included four cheeses.

  • The Tom – a hard rind cheese that has a complicated and mature taste with a curious dimension of flavour.
  • The Saint – a soft white mould cheese that had a lovely delicate flavour of mould with plenty of buttery cheesiness.
  • The 1792 – a soft washed rind cheese with some pungency but a lovely soft cheese with plenty of salty goodness.
  • The o.d.o – a marinated cheese that is only one day old and is a combination of a feta and a mozzarella. It has a strong lactic acid flavour but would be awesome on some bread with a bit of smoked salmon.

 

Outside, there’s a fantastic deck space and picnic benches scattered in the surrounding gardens, perfect for stopping for a coffee, cider or cheese platter.

 

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Adventure Bay

 

Before stopping at Hotel Bruny for a beer, we detoured to Adventure Bay to see what was the big deal. Adventure Bay is on the eastern side of the Neck and was named after the ship of English navigator Tobias Furneaux’s in 1773.

 

While it’s mainly a holiday destination with heaps of options for accommodation, we did stop at one of the beautiful beaches and marvelled at the dark coloured sand.

 

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Hotel Bruny

Australia’s southernmost pub is located across the road from Sunset Bay. Needless to say, the view from out the front is fantastic, the distant mountains reflecting on the water. It’s a small pub with a standard pub menu that is reasonably priced for the location (a chicken parma is $26).

 

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We stopped in for a drink – Juz enjoyed a yeasty and crisp Cascade Draught while Dave opted for a dark Cascade Stout.

 

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Cloudy Bay

Located at the southern end of Bruny Island, Cloudy Bay is a great place for a quiet getaway. There’s a 5km long sheltered beach that offers great surfing, and you can drive along the sand to get to the Cloudy Bay campsite on the eastern end.

 

This is where we camped the night and enjoyed the company of the friendly wallabies.

 

 

 

Cape Bruny

The lighthouse atop Cape Bruny is quite significant. It is the second oldest lighthouse in Australia – first lit in March 1838 and decommissioned on 6 August 1996. It was replaced by a nearby solar powered light.

 

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Grandvewe Cheesery and Hartshorn Distillery

No, Grandvewe is not located on Bruny Island, but both are attractions of the Huon Trail, and it’s only 10 minutes south of the Kettering Ferry terminal.

 

Grandvewe is Tassie’s only sheep milk cheesery and is the only place on earth where you’ll find Sheep Whey Vodka and Vanilla Whey liqueur. You’ll notice a lot of sheepy things, like wool in the garden beds and some cute sheep grazing in the paddock near the car park.

 

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Make sure you taste all the cheeses because they’re fantastic. We particularly liked the smooth and yeasty Brebichon and the Sapphire Blue, a mild blue cheese similar to Rochefort, so we bought a piece of each.

 

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There were wines and spirits available for tasting as well. The Sheep Whey Vodka had an interesting apple and pear flavour. We enquired how they make alcohol from a by-product that is predominantly protein. It seems that finding the right yeast was an important factor, and of the residual lactose in the whey, the glucose that is separated from the galactose is what is turned into alcohol.

 

We also tried the Vanilla Whey Liqueur, which was deliciously sweet, smooth and tasted like custard, as well as their lychee-driven Chardonnay and dry but fruity Pinot Noir.

 

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Steep Point - the Blowholes

4WDing : Steep Point

When we arrived in Shark Bay, we were aware of all the typical tourist attractions such as Monkey Mia, Hamelin Pools and the surrounding bay, but what we were really looking forward to was Steep Point – the westernmost point of Australia!

 

Steep Point - we made it!

 

Steep Point got its name from Dutch sailor William de Vlamingh when he anchored by the southern tip of Dirk Hartog Island in 1697.  The general area is called Edel Land and stretches from Steep Point all the way down to False Entrance.  The land has been purchased by the state government for conservation purposes and will soon become a national park.

 

 

The landscape is a combination of limestone, surreal sand dunes and secluded beaches.  The cliffs drop down 200 metres into the ocean and make for some truly terrifying scenery, and the colours are a huge contrast to the red sand dunes of Francois Peron National Park.  The area is only accessible by 4WD and you need a permit or park pass to enter.  Day passes are $11 per vehicle.

The Track

The turnoff to Steep Point is 88km south of Denham. The total distance between the Northwest Coastal Highway turnoff to Steep Point is 185km.  A few kilometres of the road is sealed, but then it’s about 114km of unsealed road before the final stretch over very soft sand.  You have to reduce your tyre pressure to 15-20psi before continuing into Edel Land, otherwise you risk getting bogged, and you don’t want to have to pay the fee for recovery.

 

The road was fairly corrugated, which made the drive slow going, but once we got to the sand dunes, the real fun began.  Up and down with lots of tilts, the Troopy conquered them all.  The track mainly required high-range gears but there was one soft uphill section that needed low-range.  It took us about 3 hours to get to the Ranger hut, just short of Shelter Bay.

 

 

Before leaving for this trip, make sure you’re topped up with fuel because there are only two petrol stations nearby, and the closest one is about 180km to the east.

 

Camping

Pay your camping fees to the ranger, who was a plump lady with a lovely smile, tanned leather skin and a white bob – it’s $7 per adult per night to camp.  The nice ranger lady advised us to stay for one night only and to be outside of Edel Land by midday the next day, because a storm was coming.  She said if it rains, they’ll close the roads, and if they close the roads you’ll be in here for at least four days.   She gave us the westernmost camp spot available, took our money and wished us luck to get out before the storm.

 

There were lots of people camping in Shelter Bay.  You could see boats anchored in the bay as well, which means that they were there for the fishing.  Game fishing is huge at Steep Point and while we would have loved to drop a line, the potential storm did not allow us the time.

 

Steep Point - gorgeous beach!

 

We got to camp at dusk, had a quick dinner and settled in for the night.  First thing in the morning, we set off for the signpost to advertise our position.  There was something really scary about Steep Point.  There was a real sense of being at the edge of the world.  The cliffs were sheer and rugged and we were hesitant to get too close to the edge.

 

Thunder Bay & the Blowholes

Afterwards, we moved onwards to Thunder Bay and the Blowholes.  We would have loved to drive along the Zuytdorp cliffs but we were told that our tyres might not make it past the treacherously rocky track.  The Blowholes blew our minds.  They were like huge nostrils of a snoring dragon, breathing in and out with a blood curdling noise.  Juz found a teeny tiny blowhole and let it suck in her hair.  There was also a huge coastal gorge along the cliffs that made us look very insignificant.

 

 

False Entrance

We only had two hours left before midday, so we scooted south towards False Entrance.  This huge beach has the most ferocious waves – there was no way we were going to have a dip!  We had a quick bite to eat and continued to the exit.

 

 

That night, we made it to Gladstone Scenic Lookout (-25.985206,114.298046) that gives you a great view west over Shark Bay.  We watched the clouds roll in, flash and purge, and then went to sleep, only to be woken a few hours later with the Troopy rocking about in the wind with rain and lightning all around us.  Lucky we weren’t stuck at Steep Point…

 

 

Thunder Bay Blowholes from Our Naked Australia on Vimeo.


 

YEEHAW!!!! @ Loveday 4x4 Adventure Park

Experience : Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park

Imagine a place where you can take your beloved 4WD and put it to the test on a variety of landscapes, from rocks and steep inclines to muddy pits and soft sand.  A 4×4 utopia where you can have a beer with your mates after a long, dusty day touring the Riverland scrub.  An off-road dreamland that offers great bush camping next to the Murray River.

 

Well… you don’t need to dream about this place because it’s waiting for you at Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park!  This unique feature of the Riverland is run and owned by Tony Whateley and consists of 8000 acres of privately owned land that has been manipulated into a 4×4 playground for off-road enthusiasts. Pitch a tent next to the Murray River, and fill your day with 4WDing pleasure on their practice playground and touring track.

 

 

It all started in 2006 with an idea to take backpackers around the property and entertain them with bullshit stories about drop bears, hoop snakes and other imaginary Australian creatures.  The idea evolved and eventually steered Tony to look into the 4WDing scene.  With the philosophy of, “If you build it, they will come”, he created an amazing 4WD track, held a competition, and the rest is history.

 

The park has also been visited by 4WDTV Simon Christie, who gave it a big thumbs up of approval!

 

Playground

This is where the practice happens.  It has a variety of terrains from rocks, bumps, hills, dips, tyre mounds, sand and mud puddles. We were a little apprehensive at first but after a few confidence boosts, the Troopy was roaring over the obstacles.

 

 

Tour Track & Sandhills

At the top end of the property is the tour track, a series of 4WD tracks of varying terrain and difficulty that snake through the dry scrub.  It is designed to give the impression of isolation, with the option of winching yourself out if required.

 

  • The Boob Shaker track has sections of little bumps that certainly get the titties wiggling.  The name comes from Tony’s nanna, who jovially cried, “Oh it’s making my boobies shake… haha!”
  • The Rollercoaster has an apt name – there are ups and downs and heart-stopping tilts.  The terrain changes from smooth and sloping to rigid and bumpy.  This track was heaps of fun.
  • 150 Bumps is self explanatory – a never-ending road of crests and dips dug so close to one another that the Troopy’s bum would scrap at nearly every one.  It’s also known as the spew track for anyone who gets a little seasick.
  • The Divorce Track got its name from countless wives screaming, “if you go through it, I’ll divorce you!”  Dave and I breezed through the track and passed the obstacles that were outside of the Troopy’s limits, thinking that the only reason why anyone would divorce over this track is because the passenger would realise that they married the driver, who is a fuckhead that does stupid shit.

 


Near the riverside camping are the Sandhills, an area of soft sand dunes.  Driving over this landscape is a great learning experience and allows you to feel how the car’s course is influenced by the soft sand.  We also did some target practice shooting arrows at bullseyes drawn in the sand.

 

Race Track

Built for competitions only, such as the Riverland 4×4 Challenge, this track sits out the front of the Loveday Tavern and includes several jumps and hairpin corners, as well as an area for stunts.

 

 

The person who holds the record for the fastest lap is Tony’s teenage son, Toby.  He completed the track in 107 second.  To be perfectly honest – the kid is a whiz!  He can fix any bunged up 4WD you give him, he taught himself to drive a car on two wheels in an hour, and he can catch rabbits with his bare hands, trick ski, wake board and do car stunts.  We were lucky enough to be taken for a quick lap around the track and got airbourne a few times.  What a thrill!

 

 

Camping

There are several sites on the property where you can camp right next to the Murray River.  Fishing is good if you want to catch carp, or you can chuck the net in and nab some yabbies.  The skies were filled with pelicans, whistling kites and wedge tail eagles.

 

 

We camped at Old Shady Campground but often visited the site next door, The Hills, to find and chase bunnies.

 

 

The Essentials

If you are only going to visit for the day, 4×4 self drive day trips are $40 per vehicle.  Camping by the river and use of the 4×4 track is $60 for the first night, then $10 for each additional night.  Dogs are allowed, as well as camp fires, provided it’s not a Total Fire Ban Day.

 

To make a booking, call Tony on 0418839787. When you get to Barmera, get your map to Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park from the United Petrol Station on the Sturt Highway.

Website: http://www.loveday4x4adventures.com