Tasmania & New Zealand 2014 travel blog

Lighthouse stairs

Stairs through the penguin and shearwater rookery to the "hide"


Another good day yesterday. We drove across the ridge of the island (unsealed road, very winding, narrow, and rutted), then down to the Cape Bruny lighthouse, our farthest point south in Tasmania. A naturalist there told us about some of the birds and other wildlife of the area. We climbed up to the decommissioned lighthouse.

Along the trail we saw a lizard called a Mountain Dragon. Beautiful views from the lighthouse area. It was windy, but warm. Then we went down to Jetty Beach nearby, walked on the beach and saw a number of pink jellies.

Since we had no food with us, we decided to head back up to Alonnah for lunch. We could see rain to the west, coming our way. At the Hotel Bruny we ordered a mixed seafood grill (salmon, squid, and another kind of fish) and a Fat Yak beer, and took a seat by the big picture window overlooking the water. We had a front row seat to the storm blowing in. We saw a waterspout and saw a lightning bolt hit the sea. The rain came in horizontally, but didn’t last more than 20-30 minutes. The wind continued to be very strong.

From there we drove back to Adventure Bay to have dessert at the Bruny Island Berry Farm. The power was out there, but we were able to get some berry ice cream before it all melted, along with a piece of cake. They had seen a waterspout in their bay, too.

Finally, we bought some fudge at the Hiba chocolate factory. Both shops were without power, limiting them to cash sales only.

We headed back to the caravan park, which was also without power. Apparently the whole island is out. They gave us some candles for this evening. Only the restroom building has running water.

We took a nap before going out to see penguins. Bruny Island has a narrow neck connecting the north and south parts of the island. At this neck there is a rookery of Little Penguins, who come ashore at dusk. We got there at 8:30, and a naturalist was already there. She provided red cellophane to cover our torches and told us about the penguins and the short-tailed shearwaters that also come in at dusk. Both dig burrows in the hillside above the beach. The shearwaters fly well low over the water, but are very clumsy at landing. Finally, about 9:30 pm, we saw some penguins among the grasses and vegetation on the hillside, outside their burrows. Apparently the chicks have left the nest, and only a few molting adults are left, waiting for their new feathers to grow in. There were also a couple of shearwaters and a wallaby on the hillside.

A little after 10 pm we went back to our (cold, dark) van and went to bed. Along the road we saw a quoll (small spotted marsupial) scooting into the bush.

We packed up and left by 9:45 am. People at the park said the storm was much worse on the mainland, and power is out over a wide area. The ferry is running again, but it will be slow, because today is the last day of a 3-day weekend, and everyone is heading home. We were told some highways may be blocked by downed trees as well.

It is now Monday about 5:30 pm. We made it off the island successfully, and are now on the Tasman Peninsula, near Port Arthur. We will go see the convict site tomorrow. Today we saw an echidna along a trail. We are staying at a nice cottage. But most places don't have wifi--only cafes and the like. We are using wifi at a little shop where we bought dinner. It may be a couple of days between entries, because of the problems getting online.



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