(January 13-14, 2021 – written by Dave)
Day one at Adventure Bay didn’t go exactly to plan. We thought we’d walk down to the “town” of Adventure Bay and have a relaxed look around. We ended up walking what seemed like miles and didn’t make it home until after 4PM. Ok, we DID walk miles, about 10, all the way out and up around Fluted Cape and back.
We started as planned with Anne, the AirBnB host showing us how to walk to town via their property. This saved us about 4k of walking on the road. Walking with Ann we learned a bit about the place and how long they’ve been on the property. She’s been here for 12 years but her partner John has been living here for 35 years – he’s 78 years old and clearly put a lot of work into the grounds and buildings. I can only imagine the changes he’s seen in those 35 years to the island in general. They have 200 acres with lots of fencing and some cabins scattered about – some in use, some abandoned. From all appearances, John and Anne do all the work themselves – phew, makes me tired just thinking about it.
We had a second coffee at the Adventure Bay store, got caught up on our blogs and talked about what else to do during the day. Checking the forecast, clearly today was going to be the day for a hike. We decided to walk down to the end of the road and the small berg of Cookville where there is an adventure tour company with a nice new restaurant. It took us a while to get there so we grabbed an early lunch of fish burgers and Nancy twisted my arm into trying one of the other Island beers – a tasty Farm Ale.
The beer clearly went to our heads as while sitting there, we agreed that we would take advantage of the nice weather and do the 2.5 hour Fluted Cape walk. It was only about 12:30 when we got started so we knew we had plenty of time but it was also getting pretty warm. The walk is a hard but pleasant hike through the eucalypt forest for the first half. Then we reached the top of the cape and wow, the views were breathtaking with amazing views out to the Tasman Peninsula, North Bruny Island and the Southern Ocean. The walk back was slower than the walk up as it went down the edge of the cliff face that is the cape. It wasn’t dangerous if you stayed on the path but we stopped a lot for photos and to just take in the view. It was a blue ribbon walk on a blue ribbon day – perfect.
By the time we got back to Cookville, it was 3:30 and we still have to walk back to Adventure Bay and then back up to our AirBnB. We made the walk back faster by going along the beach, instead of the road. It was hotter walking in the sand but tired legs won out over heat stroke. Back at Adventure Bay we bought cold drinks and ice cream – and generally recovered before walking back up the last bit to the farm.
So, that’s about 16k for the day – so much for a relaxing rest day.
While walking out yesterday we ran into one of Anne’s neighbors. Both the neighbor and Anne warned us about snakes. We didn’t see any snakes but we did encounter a couple echidna. The first spotted us but didn’t seem to mind our presence. We spotted the second one going up to Fluted Cape. Before he noticed us we stopped and remained completely still. Oblivious to us, the echidna walked right towards and past us, all the while foraging on ants and snorting. We took some photos but stopped at some point and just watched – such an unusual animal.
So day two we really did take it easy. About all we got up was a bike ride to the Island raspberry farm for milkshakes and a trip to the shops to get this post out. We are supposed to be relaxing here afterall!
Adventure Bay and Bruny Island have a lot of history. Aboriginal folks lived here for 30,000 years. Bruny was connected to Tasmania until about 6,000 years ago, the end of the last ice age. Nearly all of the early explorers stopped in Adventure Bay as it was the first safe harbor after sailing across the Indian and Southern Oceans coming from Cape Hope, Africa. A French captain, Furneaux, discovered Adventure Bay, naming it after his ship Adventure. He was followed by other famous mariners – Cook, Bligh and Flinders.
Adventure Bay was the last Australian landing point for Captain Cook – before sailing to his death in Hawaii. Captain Bligh sailed from here on his way to Tahiti – the original mutiny on the Bounty occurred en route. For many of the early years, Bruny was thought to be part of the mainland. The channel between the two land masses is hard to spot without a drone – which none of the early mariners carried on their ships. Having been visited by all of these explorers means there are lots of plaques in their honor dotted around the bay. And of course, many of the place names carry their historic moniker. A small number of places carry aboriginal names but sadly few aboriginals survived the arrival of the Europeans and much of their history has been lost.
For all the explorers that stopped on Bruny Island, today there is surprising little boat traffic. Adventure Bay was a good location for resupply in the 1700s and 1800s but it is not a deep harbor and not suitable for modern shipping. If you don’t count the ferry landing dock, there are currently no active working ports on the island. It is kind of odd to being on an island with so many bays, surrounded by fish-rich seas, yet there is no place to regularly purchase fresh fish.
We have one more day here tomorrow. The forecast is ok, but we’ve not decided yet if we want to go on another hike. It’s not too far from our cabin to the start of the Mount Mangana track. Mount Mangana is the highest point on both halves of Bruny Island so it has some attraction. We’ll see how we feel in the morning.