6 February 2014
One of the many highlights of our Tasmanian holiday was our Gourmet Food Tour of North and South Bruny Islands. The Safari Tours bus, with our guide Aaron, collected us from Woolmers Apartments at 7.45am and we set off for Kettering where the ferry (vehicular and passenger) leaves for North Bruny Island. It was a bright sunny day, so the sunscreen was applied, and we were ready to go.
On arrival at Kettering all vehicles join the queue, there is a special spot for larger vehicles, such as our bus. There was time for us to visit the Cafe and have a coffee and muffin before again alighting on the bus to drive on to the ferry. Passengers are permitted to walk around the ferry during the trip, so we had a great opportunity to look at the surrounding area and feel the breeze in our hair.
When we drove off the ferry Aaron pointed the bus north to our first stop, the Bruny Island Berry Farm. There are a wide variety of berry fruits growing at the Farm. Strawberries are the main fruit available, either pick your own or ready-picked for your convenience. There are just over 7000 strawberry plants comprising eight different varieties to provide an extended fruiting period. The location of the farm is idyllic, directly opposite the white sands and sparkling blue waters of Adventure Bay. After our tour of the farm, meeting the three overseas female WWOOFERS (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) and morning tea of scones and raspberry jam, we crossed the road to the Bay for a walk on the sand.
Duck pond at Berry Farm, Adventure Bay behind Cafe at Bruny Island Berry Farm
Following a fruitless search for a white wallaby (we were assured there were some there – but obviously shy on the day of our visit) and tasting a leaf from a pepper tree that Aaron climbed for us (very hot!) we pressed on to the Bruny Island lighthouse, beautiful views although I have to admit I did not climb to the top.
Lunch was at the Hotel Bruny in a great spot at Alonnah opposite Isthmus Bay. We had pre-ordered our meal so did not have to wait long, and it was a great pub meal. Winners at the Tasmanian Tourism Awards in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011, the Gunton family take pride in the high standard of their business.
The Bruny Island Cheese Company was our next stop, where we had the opportunity of tasting about six of their delicious cheeses, we saw the cheeses maturing in the coolroom, and the display of the other produce they sell. The company is an artisan cheese maker, owned and operated by Nick Haddow. The cheeses are all made and matured using traditional techniques and are some of the finest artisan cheeses made in Australia.
The popular Get Shucked outlet (for those who like oysters!) was the next stop, with a tasting of their wonderful Pacific oysters. They were so delicious that many of the party (including me) purchased a dozen to take back with us, the bus kindly provides large Eskys to take back any produce the passengers buy. Get Shucked cultivates the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, it is native to the Pacific coast of Asia. It was first introduced to Tasmania in the 1940’s. Oysters sold as Tasmanian oysters are more often than not Pacific oysters. The true native oyster is called Angasi. This business has streamlined their systems so well, the oysters are grown in the waters opposite the premises, oysters are taken from the water by crane then delivered by truck to the shop – can’t get much fresher oysters than that!
Time was now running out, so our stop at the Bruny Island SmokeHouse (BISH) was a little rushed. It is a beautiful stone building erected with timbers and stones from the property, and a deck out front overlooking Sykes Cove and Barnes Bay. The opportunity was there to try the tasty sauces and dips with different meats and seafood. Some of the items on their menu include D’Encastreaux Channel Atlantic Salmon, Macquarie Harbour Ocean Trout, Pomegranate Quail and Leatherwood Duck (all produced in Tasmania).
Our last stop, after catching the ferry back to Kettering, is the Nutpatch Chocolate and Nougat, we were all looking forward to this visit! Nutpatch is the ultimate heaven for chocolaholics, one is surrounded by all manner and shapes and the heady aroma of mouthwatering chocolate. I think everybody bought some goodies, after we had the opportunity of tasting the different grades of chocolate. We all left feeling elated to know that it is good to eat the highest and best grade of dark chocolate! John Zito, the Nutpatch Chocolatier Extraordinaire has been making chocolates for many years and has the most up to date equipment from Italy. He says he does little advertising, referrals are all by word of mouth (pardon the pun!), and he exports chocolates all over the world.
What a fabulous day we have had! We have seen so much of unspoilt Bruny Island, the beautiful bays, some of its wildlife, a great ferry ride – and all that wonderful food! I can thoroughly recommend the tour if ever you are fortunate enough to visit Tassie.
The ferry arriving to take us back to Kettering
For more food and produce images see my Tastes page