This morning the weather was cloudy and my legs felt a bit heavy. My plan was to ride from Hobart to Kettering, where I would take the ferry to Bruny Island, then ride south on the Island to Cloudy Bay. Riding out of Hobart was easier than expected thanks to a good bike lane. Then, I had a nice climb on a winding road up Bonnet Hill, with nice views on the banks of Derwent River. In the middle of the climb I had a stop to admire the Shot Tower, a 48 m tall circular building erected in 1870 from locally quarried sandstone blocks. The building gets its name from his past function: lead shot was made by dropping molten lead through a sieve at the top of the tower, and by the time it hit the water at the bottom it was cold and spherical in shape.
After a nice downhill, I had to bike on a bigger road between Kingston and Kettering, which was not enjoyable at all because of the trafic and slight air pollution. At Margate I had a first stop to have a look at an old steam train (very touristic place) and a second stop to visit a small local museum displaying the story of the region. This museum, entirely free and run by volunteers, was really very educative and nice to visit, because it tries to reproduce scenes of Tasmania’s early times. There, I learnt more about early European explorers (Abel Tasman, James Cook, Joseph Bruni d’Entrecasteaux and Huon de Kermadec), earlier aboriginal nations and their customs, and typical activities of the settlers. I would have loved to spend more time there but I had still more than 60 km to bike ahead!
At Kettering I just missed the ferry by a few minutes, so I had lunch while waiting for the next one.
Bruny Island is named after the French navigator Rear Admiral Joseph Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, who in 1792 led an expedition in the area in search for other famous French explorer La Pérouse. He never found him, but explored this area of Tasmania with his two ships, La Recherche and L’Espérance. The scientists aboard collected many interesting informations about Tasmanian fauna and flora, tried to acclimate European plants (most of them ended eaten by wombats and kangaroos). They had friendly contacts with aboriginal people and established a very accurate cartography of the region. Today, many places in the area are still named after this French expedition: Bruny Island, Huonville, D’Entrecastaux Channel, Recherche Bay,… For me this takes a special significance because my grandfather lived for a few years in the French village Entrecasteaux, the same one from where the explorer was from! Once again, such a small world…
Today, the island is a rather touristic place: it offers beautiful sights and some nice gourmet stops: oysters, cheese & bread, berry farms, etc. After 45km, I decided that a few oysters and a glass of Sauvignon blanc should be exactly what was needed to cover the last 45 km. Indeed, I had better feelings afterwards!
A few kilometres later, I had another stop at Bruny’s Neck lookout. I could enjoy nice views of Adventure Bay and the isthmus of the Island, and I was lucky to spot three whales in the bay (sorry, no decent picture for you guys…)
The 20 last kilometres were covered quickly on a gravel road, under light intermittent rain. The camp spot was not the nicer so far, but after 90 km I was still happy to settle there and enjoy a warm meal and a good night!