Food Touring in Tasmania - Bruny Island Traveller

Monday, May 30th

I love food tours.  On foreign trips, I take food tours to not only eat great food, but to get a better understanding about where I'm visiting.  But I don't travel with the parents often.  So I'm wasn't entirely sure how they felt about taking food tours.  During the planning phase of the trip, I told Mom, "If you don't help me decide on ideas for tours, we're going to take only food tours."  Mom's response, "Ok."

Well then.  Let's do this.

Our Australian Food Tour happened in Tasmania.  We were actually supposed to go on Sunday, but the weather was stupid and the folks at Pennicott Journeys said we could change days if we wanted to go on a different date.  We immediately signed on for the tour on the next day, fully expecting the clouds and rain to change into sun and maybe a little warmth.

This was actually the best decision ever, because there was confusion with the actual tour we were taking.  Had we taken a tour on the day we were supposed to, we'd have been on a boat looking at sea lions.  Screw that.  I wanted oysters.

We're on a boat!!
The Bruny Island Traveller Tour started in Hobart at the wharf.  We jumped on a bus from Hobart to Kettering, where we took a ferry to Bruny Island.

Bruny Island Cheese Company

It was around 10a, so unless you're starting a tour with a breakfast sandwich, the first stop in the morning would always be a hard one.  So starting out the day with cheese was probably the best choice.  I mean, cheese is always a wise choice.

The Bruny Island Cheese Company is in the middle of an expansion.  Literally.  We sat outside, under the cover of a patio ceiling, while our host began bringing out the four cheeses we were going to try.  Off to the right of our table were several men with power tools, erecting a building.  This was the only downside to our stop.  As the guy would try to tell us about the type of cheese that had been placed in front of us, the power tool would be fired up, drowning out the information about the cheese.

Our tasting consisted of four cheeses.  A large basket of torn bread chunks were placed in the middle of the table to eat with the cheese.  Not only were the cheeses great, but the bread was amazing as well.  (Side note, the bread in Australia has been overwhelmingly wonderful.)  Obviously, our table enjoyed the bread as we needed a second basket.  We almost asked for a third, but we had to remember that this was a day of eating.  We needed to pace ourselves.

We started off with the Tom cheese.  This was actually the cheese we bought for dinner later in the trip.
Saint was up next.  I do love a creamy cheese.
This was not Jack's Dad cheese, but was similar.  It was insanely smelly and my least favorite.
O.D.O. cheese.  This was the "newest" of the bunch.  Pretty tasty.
Once we finished the tasting, the guy from the Cheese Company gave us time to wander the grounds. He also gave us a discount on cheese to bring home.  So we grabbed some cheese we could have for dinner later in the trip.  Nicely done, Bruny Island Cheese Company.  Nicely done.

Get Shucked Oyster Farm

Where the oysters actually live.

Our second stop on Bruny Island was for oysters.  We didn't drive too long to get to Get Shucked.  But as we arrived at the location, we knew we were in for a treat.  The oyster bar was right on the water, overlooking the area where the oysters are plucked from the bay.  You can't get oysters any fresher than this.

It was cold on this day.  And we were sitting in picnic benches outside.  So some of us were a bit less comfortable than others.  Plates of oysters were placed in front of us.  Each person had a half dozen oysters for themselves.  Mom politely declined immediately.  She wasn't an oyster person.  Dad and Elias began sucking down oysters like they were an endangered species and could never be eaten again.  I had one oyster and realized that was enough.  It wasn't that they weren't good.  They were.  But I just didn't have the taste of oyster at this moment.  Even though I was jazzed about them on the start of the journey.

The Pennicott Journeys Break

After oysters, we did a bit of driving.  One of the key factors of a food tour is the "what else??"  You can't just eat and eat and eat and eat.  You have to have a bit of downtime.  The downtime on this tour included a stop at The Neck.

The Neck is an isthmus of land (yes, I did have to look that up) which connects North and South Bruny Island (and is where penguins live).  The bus stopped on the side of the road.  Those of us who were adventurous climbed the many (many) stairs to the top of the lookout.  Those who weren't stayed near the bus and took in the views from there.

I took in the views from the top.  It was totally worth it.

After we visited The Neck, we stopped for a muffin and a drink.  Someone earlier in the day had mentioned hot chocolate.  So that was in my brain.  And we were really cold.  While it was now after Memorial Day in Chicago, it was almost winter in Australia.  I was not as prepared for the cold as I should have been.  Which is why I went with hot chocolate.  This was a wise choice.

Our hot chocolate stop wasn't for too long.  Once we all warmed up, we went back into the bus for a quick drive to a beach.  Our guide kicked us out of the bus and we climbed down a rickety path to walk on a beach. Here's the thing.  You have to walk back up.  And if you have someone who is not so mobile, it's going to be tricky.  Cut to our tour guide carrying Elias up a steep hill.  Dude was fantastic.

Apparently, I was trailing behind.  Not the first, nor the last time that'll happen on a walk.
When we emerged from the beach, we walked for a short amount of time to an area where the wallabies lived.  Not only were there wallabies, but albino wallabies.  This was no sanctuary.  The wallabies were wild.  And just hung out wherever they wanted.  They also pooped wherever they wanted.  At first, while walking in the field, you tried to dodge the poop.  Until you realized you can't dodge poop that was everywhere.  So whatever.  The soles of everyone's shoes were going to be covered in poop.

Albino Wallaby!!
But we saw the albino wallabies!!  No one was really able to get too close.  If you got too close, they'd give you the hairy eyeball and hop away.  But still.  Albino wallabies!!

Bruny Island Premium Wines

This was the stop I was the most excited for.  Not only were we going to be tasting wines, but we were also going to have lunch.  Before we boarded the ferry in the morning, we gave our guide our order and it would be ready for us when we arrived.

On the way from the wallaby area, I was feeling a little nauseous.  I chalked it up to being in the back of the bus.  I get a bit more motion sick than I give myself credit for.  So I wasn't really worried about anything.

Until I was.

I was the last person off of the bus at the winery.  Slowly, I made my way into the dining room of the winery with a bottle of water in-hand.  I was quietly sipping the water, thinking it would settle my stomach.

It didn't.

Luckily, being the last person off of the bus meant my seat at the table was near the aisle of the restaurant.  And our table was near the doorway to the outside bathrooms.  And that's when it hit me what was wrong.


The day we arrived in Cairns, Dad, Elias and I went down to the hotel bar to have dollar oysters for Happy Hour.  Three hours later, I was in the bathroom feeling like I wanted to die.  This is exactly the same situation I was in today.  NOOOOO!!  I had oysters a few weeks before leaving Chicago.  I didn't have a reaction like this.  And the oysters weren't bad.  They weren't rogue oysters.  They were great.  And apparently I can't eat oysters anymore.

Did I mention I was at the stop I was so desperately waiting for all day??  Yeah.

Where the wines should have been.
The wine tasting passed me by.  I had a few sips of a few wines.

Looks good, right??
The salmon dinner I was going to have was not consumed by me.  Dad had a few bites and instantly regretted getting his lamb dish.  I passed my entire plate to our guide who had happily eaten his meal, but was hungry for more.  It was so depressing.

Our guide and other guides that were also at the restaurant were giving me ginger pills or anything they thought might help me get past the situation I was currently in.  Not only was I sick from the oyster (ONE oyster), but I also had a bit of motion sickness that wasn't helping my current state.  I stuck to my water and looked longingly at everyone enjoying themselves.  When I wasn't doing that, I was making my way back and forth to the outhouses.

Such a raw deal.

Bruny Island Chocolate Factory

After "eating" lunch, the next obvious place on the stop would be for dessert.  Of course, a chocolate factory would be the place to go.  We pulled up to the factory (also known as the Bruny Island Providore) and a plate of various chocolates were placed in front of the group.  Fudge, strawberry fudge, and chocolate covered honeycomb were all sampled by just about everyone (not me!!).  Mom liked the chocolate covered honeycomb.  Dad liked the strawberry fudge.  Elias...I'm pretty sure he liked everything.

An Interlude of Honey

Apparently, the tour doesn't normally have a honey stop.  But a new vendor opened up shop recently.  So we stopped for a quick moment and a quick taste.

Bruny Island House of Whiskey

I'm not normally a whisky drinker.  I like to get my alcohol through wine and cider.  But I figured I'd do a tasting.  Well...I figured I'd do a tasting prior to the Oyster Incident.  At this point, I was still drinking copious amounts of water, trying to flush out any remaining oyster toxins still in my body.  Honestly, I'm not entirely sure how many people did a tasting.  The majority of our tour group walked into the building.  I wandered around the grounds slightly, looking for a bathroom (I had been drinking a ton of water).

All the whiskey to taste.

The building was pretty impressive.  It overlooked some lovely scenery and was a place you'd love to get drunk at.  You know...if you like that kind of thing.

By the end of the day, I was feeling better, but still had to deal with a ferry back to Kettering and a final bus ride back to the hotel.  The ginger pills were doing their trick, but I definitely wasn't at 100%.

Overall, I really did love the tour.  Even considering the oyster situation.  It was exactly what I wanted out of a food tour.  Small, artisan food super local to Bruny Island.  A place I didn't even know existed until I started looking for a food tour in Tasmania.  And yeah, I know I sound like a hipster here.  But it was perfect.

How Elias and I spent our time once we returned to the hotel.

How I spent my time when Elias went back to the room.


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