Our aim in getting to Kingston Beach last night was to be close to Kettering, the point from which one catches the ferry to Bruny Island. After packing up camp we made our way in that direction stopping off first at the Pancake Train to make use of a discount voucher in the kids' Tasmania booklet. The place turns out to be just one carriage of a disused train where each of the carriages is occupied by a different business.
Fortified by a heartier breakfast than our standard camping fare, we made for Kettering, unhitching Old Bess by the side of the road and hoping she would still be there on our return. Who, after all, would really want to take her? I don't think she holds much appeal to anyone but us! We proceeded onto the 11.15 ferry to Bruny Island, boarding behind an older couple in a vintage Vauxhall who looked like they'd picked the perfect day for a bit of top-down (top of the car, that is) island driving.
If you've read many of our earlier posts you won't be surprised to hear that we didn't have clear plans for what we would do on Bruny. We set off driving from the point on the north island where the ferry docks and realised we'd underestimated how large the island is. Not that the distances are vast but I think we had in mind something like Rottnest Island off Perth - perhaps 20 km to do a full loop. Here it's at least 30 km to get to the other end of the north island.
We stopped on the Neck, a strip of land about 100 m wide which joins the north and south islands which make up Bruny, where Pip, Sal and I walked the steep flight of stairs to a lookout. Carrying on down the south island we stopped off at an old cemetery on our way to Adventure Bay. The bay is named for the ship of Captain Tobias Furneaux, the first Englishman to set foot on the place in 1773. He was actually accompanying Captain Cook on his (Cook's) second voyage in the area but had become separated from Cook's vessel at this time. Cook himself landed here on his third voyage in 1777 as well.
All these facts were of fairly trifling interest to the kids, but of much greater import were the well equipped playground and then the beach where they spent a good deal of time engrossed in decorating a kind of stick shelter which someone else had constructed there. After lunch at the Penguin Cafe we started to back-track, stopping off for the important task of sampling some locally made chocolate.
I commented to Sal that this felt like about as 'on the edge' of Australia as you could get - on the little island (Bruny) off the side of the little island (Tassie) that's off the bottom of Australia. She said she felt more that way on the remote west coast of Tassie, and it certainly does beat this place for sheer remoteness.
Our return ferry got us into Kettering a little before five (Old Bess was still there) and we pushed the envelope by driving back around through Hobart and on to a free camp in the car park of the RSL in Nubeena, a few kilometres from Port Arthur. We arrived around eight and knew we'd pushed it a bit hard when Alice chucked a pretty big wobbly. Given her age she generally does really well coping with these long daylight-saving days, but sometimes it's just a bit too much!