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Published May 28th 2014
There's plenty to do for visitors in and around Hobart, and a quick chat with the good folks at the Visitor Information Centre will point you in the right directions. Travellers are often seen at the Salamanca Markets, heading out to Port Arthur and touring through the Huon Trail.
One of the growing tourism destinations off Hobart is Bruny Island with its stunning coastline, national park, white wallabies, fur seal colonies, little penguins and schools of visiting dolphins. With only a day to spare, I was more inclined to check out the attractions on the island including the locally produced gourmet food and wine. After a discussion about the options at the Visitor Information Centre, I decided to head out with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Tasmania's multi-award winning ecotourism business.
The day dawned bright and crisp and my driver and guide Barry was right on time. Several pick ups later, our small group of merry travellers were off to visit the top eight attractions of Bruny Island. Our first stop was Kettering where every vehicle and person who wanted transport to the island boarded the Bruny Island Ferry service plied by the Mirambeena. Boarding the ferry feels like you're leaving your everyday life behind and the serene surrounds give you a sense of what awaits on the opposite side.
This artisan cheesery is recognised as one of the finest in Australia. The selection is uniquely local with inspirations from France, Italy, Spain and the UK. The TOM, a fast maturing hard variety meant for every day eating was popular.
I was more inclined to the SAINT, a soft oozy cheese with a delicate flavour that turned pungent as it matured, and OEN, a soft cheese washed in Pinot Noir and wrapped in vine leaves. The cellar door allows visitors to taste and watch the cheesemakers at work every day.
Bruny is divided into north and south and joined by a narrow isthmus called "The Neck". Timber stairs will take you up to Truganini Lookout where you can enjoy 360° panoramic views of the Bruny Island coastline.
A popular stop for folks who love sweets is this factory outlet for fudge,truffles and chocolate products. Their products are made in-house. Regretfully the commercial kitchen is located in a private home and I was unable to view how they were concocted. It is set amongst 25 acres of majestic English parkland gardens, which is occasionally opened to public.
White wallabies in the wild are rare and can only be found in the southern part of Bruny Island. One of the best places to sight these beautiful creations of nature is in Pennicott Wilderness Journeys' private bush reserve where many have made their home. I managed to get about 20 metres of two during my trip. The company also has a nearby beachside cafe to enjoy the picturesque Adventure Bay where whalers camped and launched their boats decades ago.
Thanks to Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, I was able to enter the historic Cape Bruny Lighthouse, climb its spiral staircase and gaze upon the 360 degree panoramic view of the Southern Ocean and land as the lightkeepers did. This rare and exclusive experience is only available from Pennicott Wilderness Journeys.
This is Australia's southernmost vineyard with 6,000 vines and a preference towards Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The wines are still grown, made and bottled by hand. An onsite cellar door also offers a gourmet lunch of local produce with a glass of its red or white wine.
I enjoyed the opening selection of oysters, smoked salmon, soft and hard cheese salmon terrine and cherries marinated in Pinot Noir followed by a main course of grilled salmon, accompanied by a 2010 Captain's Pinot Noir.
Oyster lovers will want to make a stop at this popular local oyster shop which offers a drive-in and sit-down premise. It allows you to eat and watch pacific oysters being harvested and sorted in the next door processing shed.
Last but not least of my day with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys was the Island's only smokehouse. BISH in short, this fine food provedore offers award winning smoked produce, seafood, preserves, poultry and game meats. It also has a whiskey bar with a representation of Tasmania's distilleries.