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Monday, September 23, 2019

Living out my music dreams in Berlin, Germany

Summer of 2018 was a weird summer. I’d just moved back from three years living in Australia. My work situation had ended pretty terribly, and I couldn’t bear the idea of jumping straight into another job.  At the same time, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving people that had become some of my very best friends.  So, when my Aussie roommate invited me to join his month long Europe trip, I jumped at the chance. 

When August rolled around, I was ecstatic!  It hadn’t occurred to me that I hadn’t been to Europe since 2014!!  I guess Australia is far away…

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

We were up early for our quick flight from London to Berlin to start our month-long European holiday.  This portion of the trip was my request – Berlin has been my top destination of interest for over five years.  I’d waited because Berlin, for all its art and history, was really about music for me. When I first moved to Australia, I’d almost bought a $3,000 flight there, just to meet some like-minded music friends for a week (yes, I finally decided against it).

I share this because I don’t want to come off as uncultured.  Yes, I saw the Berlin Wall, but I didn’t go to a single museum while I was there.  I wanted to just be in Berlin.

It wasn’t until we checked into St. Christopher Hostel near Alexanderplatz that I realized my first mistake.  Looking back, I’ve only ever visited coastal European countries in the dead of summer…the lack of AC in the hostel quickly showcased that Berlin… is not one of those places.  I’d booked us a private room in a mini apartment with a shared bath and kitchen which was roomy and would’ve been perfect, but it was unbearably hot. So…we did what any good Berliner would do.  We went looking for beers.

My roomie had been to Berlin previously and suggested we walk past the famous Alexanderplatz, along and across the river, to this outdoor beach club called Sage Beach.  It was a long, hot walk.  The oppressive architecture of Berlin bore down on us… long streets of hot, grey stone buildings with few, if any, decoration.  But it was the perfect easel for massive, beautiful displays of street art.  There is a deep, underlying energy of creativity coursing through the veins of this city just waiting for its opportunity to present itself to you.

Sage Beach has a great setup – it’s a huge outdoor beach-like space with a stage for music, tables and lounge chairs and delicious, tropical drinks.  Only problem is, Berlin doesn’t wake up until 6pm at the earliest so it was completely dead.  Another odd observation – Berlin is COVERED in bees!  I could barely finish my drink from all the swatting (and squealing in terror).

We were a bit bored so we wandered back across the river to see what we might find.  The road along the river was just more of the same…stoic, uniform buildings one after the other, like silent soldiers awaiting orders.  But music, was coming from somewhere near them.  When it comes to music, I’m like a bloodhound, stopping at nothing to find the source.

We walked around a corner and through a rickety-looking arch that felt like an entryway, although not a very friendly one.  The scene on the other side was shocking.  The wall of unfriendly rock and brick fell away to people laughing and chatting away at picnic tables placed among a lush oasis of greenery and music.  The yard along the water was decorated in pieces of wood painted in wild colors.  The smell of coffee and wood-oven pizza beckoned, and we joined the crowd…for hours.  The vibe felt very similar to a Burning Man camp – dusty, vibrant and secret, yet completely inclusive. It’s a place where pictures and phones are not encouraged, but I snuck just one for the memory.  We would come to know its name – Holzmarkt Pampa.  I think it’s clear I highly recommend it.

Night was falling, so we finished our final beer and pizza slice and reluctantly returned to our steamy hostel to change in our costumes for the night.  And by costume, I mean wearing all black – Berlin-style.  We’d heard about a rooftop party at a place called House of Weekend, so we walked through to check it out, sipping cans of convenience store whiskey-lemon mixed drinks. 

Quite the opposite of Holzmarkt Pampa…I could see Berlin was like New York City or Tokyo - Pick a different street; enter a different world.  We’d clearly left the world of Burners and dust for the sprawling views of Berlin, scantily clad women, hipsters and wildly overpriced drinks.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time!  I think I made friends with 14 DJs of questionable talent and/or notoriety.

But both of us are creatures of the deep house music scene and were soon itching for our kind of tunes.  We stepped out of the club into the blackness of Berlin.  It’s not just the clothes that are black, even the night feels heavy like the air has been painted with thick black paint. 

The best thing about the late late Berlin music scene?  There is something for everyone.  House Music. World Music. Techno. Rap. Deep House. Music without label.  We were looking for the deep house variety which led us to Watergate.

Even at 2am, we were early.  The room didn’t start filling until closer to 4am, at which point it began to feel like a frenetic, yet focused, red monster – scuffed sneakers moving in unison to the deep beat mixed with an occasion snare drum-kick.  Another outrageously expensive bar, but the need for cool drinks to fight the oppressive heat of summer and bodies drove us back for more.  I love being at the front of the floor, near the DJ, especially if it’s a DJ who gets really into their set – dancing and clapping to the beat they produce.  But, I equally love being able to escape at times for a break, and I loved that Watergate had an outdoor deck along the river where you could do just that. 

I don’t smoke cigarettes, but I felt compelled to share a puff or two…something about them felt so “Berlin” – perhaps the fact that they are tightly wrapped bundles of fire, just waiting for a light.  I’d watch the sunrise from that deck before the slow, euphoric walk home.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

We woke up at 2pm.  This would soon become our pattern as the music bowels of Berlin stamped us as creatures of the night.  So hot and sweaty from the sun beating down on us and the lack of AC, even a freezing cold shower couldn’t help so we wearily rose like vampires from the dead and entered the city once more.

I’d like to pretend we went somewhere new, but we’d had such a perfect day, we literally repeated it…Holzmarkt Pampa for beers and incredible pizza, a long nap and then Watergate.  The only difference this time was rather than walking home the way we’d came, we ventured across the bridge, just outside Watergate, to walk along the Berlin Wall. 

I’d hazard to guess most people visit the Berlin Wall, in the middle of the day, at a historic section of the Wall, surrounded by the crush and cameras of other tourists.  Not sure that’s the right vibe to really “take in” the Wall.

I saw it as the sun rose. At first a long, dark and indistinguishable piece of concrete stretching into the distance, and then, raw in the early sunlight, an everlasting scar of vibrant, artistic depictions painted across its face.  The images were rough and honest and captivating.  Image after image appearing as I walked for over an hour alongside the wall.  I can’t begin to know what it was like to face that wall before, or when, it came down, but you can feel and see the stories of those who lived it, like a living skin of history.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Woke up to our “sun alarm” again at 2pm.  SO HOTTTTTTT.  We had to try something different, so we stopped for some sushi.  Not really sure what about blazing hot Berlin made us think sushi was a good idea, but it wasn’t horrible. 

We were so hungover, sleep deprived and probably massively dehydrated that we spent the hot afternoon in a daze wandering the streets.  The main streets of Berlin shopping district are filled with shop after shop.  But it’s the alleyways that hold the treasure.  On one such street, a flash of red caught my eye, so I walked through an arched tunnel into… Italy.  Swear to God, I’d been transported to a seaside town in Capri.  Nicely dressed, attractive people sat at wrought-iron tables capped with red umbrellas, nibbling at cheeseboards and gelato or slow sipping Aperol spritz cocktails.  I don’t think a single person was wearing black.  Yet another strange Berlin oasis.  The scene even invited the feeling of a breeze.  Instantly relaxed, we grabbed a table and joined in for a long leisurely lunch.  The place was appropriately called Piccolo Giardino.  Filled with cheese and salami, we returned to the hostel for our daily nap, sleeping soundly until 11pm.

Surprise, surprise, we did not eat, sleep, dance, repeat.  Instead, we picked another direction, this time west to see what we might find.  I was surprised at how quite it was… not many people around, until we turned yet another corner into bustling square of people eating outside.  The food was Vietnamese and the atmosphere transported me there – the plastic cups, the baskets of shellfish, the chopsticks, the huge bowls of steaming soup.  It was called District Mot and they were closing, yet kindly offered to seat us anyway.  So grateful because the food was some of the best of the trip.

Our sleep schedule had certainly affected our body clocks, because it was close to 1am and we were tired, but not quite enough to sleep again.  So, we decided to walk off dinner.  And, as you imagine, we found another alleyway of interest.  I’ve lived in New York City and would never normally, nor boldly, see “interesting-looking, yet scuzzy” people loitering at the end of a dark tunnel, and been spurred to join them, but something about Berlin makes this feeling feel normal.

This was by far the longest, and sketchiest, alleyway of the trip, but at the end of it was Eschschloraque.  In one way it reminded me of the desolate, crumbling castle in a romantically dramatic film or novel. More amazing art covered the high, castle-like, stone walls, crumbling from age, lack of upkeep, or both.  Twinkling fair lights and lanterns provide just enough dim lighting to see where you were walking, but it added a warmth to the otherwise dark and desolate place. 

At the same time, it felt like a dive bar from a forgotten era, the ghosts of famous rockstars leaving their footprints on the dusty stone floor.  Most of it was open to the sky, with small, intimate tables littered around the yard.  Inside, it was cozier and better lit.  There was a Spanish guitarist was setting up for a late-night performance in the upper room of the bar, but we were just too tired to wait for him to start.  We agreed on a few wines in the yard before heading home.  I’ll add those wines were dirt cheap.

 Saturday, August 4, 2018

After feeling like a total waste-of-space the previous days, we decided to get up early and “Seize the Day.”  You can’t called it a “European holiday” if you don’t hit up at least one food market, in my opinion, so I researched one called Markthalle Neun, conveniently south of our hostel, which was a new area to explore!

It was a cute market, but mostly food.  I’d been hoping for one with more variety, but one of the stalls served the most delicious fresh pasta - argument for best food of the trip, right up there with Holzmarkt Pampa pizza.  The weather was still scorching, so we decided to work our way towards this public pool situation built along the river.  The thought of submerging my tired, sweat-crusted body in cold water was convincing. 

Google Maps showed a long park called State Park running from where we were all the way to the water, so we decided that’d be our best route.  Turns out it is NOT a nice park.  You know that scene in the zombie apocalypse movie where the heroes think they’ve found safe haven but just went they start to relax, zombies slowly start appearing out of the brush, surrounding them from all sides? That’s what happened to us, but drug dealers instead of zombies.  Nothing is more awkward then an unwashed, loose-toothed man sidling up to you, whispering words under his breath, old cigarette smoke wafting off his clothes.  We took a swift exit from that park.

As expected, the swim park was nothing less than a shitshow.  Our smart idea to visit the only available cool area in the city was clearly not that original.  Already sweaty and dirty, we gave in to Berlin once again, choosing a river bar so that we could at least pretend there was a breeze.

Club der Visionaere was easily my favorite “bar” of the whole trip.  It’s essentially one long deck that juts out along the water with great music and pretty tasty gin & tonics that aren’t cheap but not quite as painful as some of the other venues.  And the people watching was outrageous – one guy stumbled into the bar (clearly still going from the night before) and managed to use the excuse of asking for a phone charger to chat up an attractive, fairly sober girl.  We watched stupefied as she offered up a charger - within 30 minutes the two of them were sharing a bottle of rose.  It seemed a long-term romance could be in their future, when he botched the whole thing by standing too quickly, knocking the table and the still full bottle of rose all over the girl.  Secondly later she’d said her clenched-teeth goodbye and fled. The final kicker? He pulled a phone charger out of his pocket and plugged it into the wall.  LOLZ.  We stayed for hours, watching other Berlin stories unfold, before heading back to change and meet some friends out.

You are probably wondering, for a massive music lover of the most underground variety, why I haven’t mentioned the most famous of the Berlin clubs, arguably the most famous in the world.  THEBERGHAIN.  Well, I’m a lover of techno, weird outfits and even weirder people, but I’m a hater of long lines.  I HATE them.  Blame it on four years of the Hollywood, CA, club scene, but I can’t imagine any place worth waiting hours in line, unless Ryan Reynolds is inside, personally waiting to attend my every want.  BUT – I was also willing to accept that any trip to Berlin would not be complete without at least one attempt.  I was with good friends and it wasn’t the middle of German winter, so we decided to give it a try.

For those of you wondering why the drama, what is this place, allow me to explain.  The Berghain is known for having one of the strictest door policies of anywhere in the world.  Literally, the same man has been policing the door since 2004 and he literally builds the vibe inside the club, based on who he lets in each night.  You could gain access three days in a row and then be rejected the next night with no idea why and no explanation.  He simply looks at a person and nods his head “yes” or flicks his head to the exit.  It’s honestly pretty jarring, but also makes you think – he is literally designing a vibe using people as the puzzle pieces.  Crazy.  We met up another Aussie mate, who’d been living in Berlin, and joined the line. 

I’ll cut the next three hours short to tell you, we did not get in (less than 1/3 do) but thirty minutes later, it would prove to be the best news ever.

Our friend hailed a cab, telling us she was taking us to a place she liked even better.  I always get turned around in cabs, trusting that the driver or navigator will get us where we need to be.  When we arrived at our destination, it was “so-Berlin,” a big white wall with a maze for a line leading into some mysterious beyond.

It was probably close to 5am as we entered Sisyphos, and it would captivate me for the next 5.5 hours.  Similar to Holzmarkt Pampa, this place reeked of Burning Man vibes, but on five times the scale.  The main outdoor area felt like walking into a Midsummer Nights Dream… tables and trees and wood and art intermixed - people limbs dangling and dancing.  It was mesmerizing, this calm, yet pulsing energy.  In the middle was a large building with no windows – walking inside felt like entering the bowels of a dystopian fighting club.  The low light and hard techno bouncing off steel walls.  It was intense; I could only stand it for short periods before escaping back outside. 

Along the side of this building was a staircase leading to an upper floor.  The music there was more tech house and more my speed.  It was a small, intimate dance floor with the DJ in amongst it.  I’d find myself spending my final morning hours in Berlin carving shapes in the wooden floor.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

We missed our usual wake up time, rising two hours later at 4pm.  Turns out everything in Berlin is shut on Sundays anyway so we weren’t missing much.  Apparently even locals need a day of rest in this city.  We attempted lunch at Sisal, where the pasta was pretty good, and coffee at Sucre et Sel, which was great, but I was too tired to taste or appreciate either.  We returned to the hostel early and slept through the night.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Turns out five full days (err nights) in Berlin is impossible to survive.  We were still ruined the next morning, shuffling our way through hostel checkout and down the street to Commonground to meet our friend for brekkie before heading to the airport.  Another grave error… I’d booked us an afternoon flight and the four hours we spent in that cafĂ© were the longest of my life.  All I wanted was to sleep – late morning flights out of Berlin are highly encouraged.

I would go on to spend three more weeks in Europe and another year in NYC thinking about Berlin.  What a place.  There are few cities in the world that rank so high in my esteem – NYC, Tokyo, the entire continent of New Zealand to name a few.

While I’m happy to have capitalized on my travel partner’s mutual music interests to spend the majority of my time dancing to the late-night beats of Berlin, I would love to return one day to see the city that exists above ground, in the light.  Until then, Auf Wiedersehen .

Monday, September 2, 2019

Tasmania - The island that has it all

Just over a year ago, I made it to the part of Australia I’d been desperate to see – Tasmania.  Tasmania is one of the more underrated destinations, should you ask most mainland Australians, yet it would prove to be my favorite place in the country.  An Oregonian, born of vast forests and easy-access camping, who over the past years has added California sunshine, New York culture and Sydney beaches to my list of destination demands, I was impressed to find Tasmania has all of these things.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The flight from Sydney to Tasmania was a breeze, even with a vast array of camping equipment.  It was an after-work flight, so my friend and I landed with just enough energy to grab our rental car and drive to the Quest Savoy in downtown Hobart – the hotel was pretty basic but served our quick overnight needs.  We were hoping for a quick bite at a nearby restaurant – we would soon learn that Tasmania completely shuts down over the Easter holidays.  NOWHERE was open.  Confused, tired and starving, we did the only thing we could do – pass out.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The next morning, we were up first thing to take advantage of the short four-day holiday trip.  By 9:30am, we were on the Mona Roma ferry ($22 one-way) to the Museum of Old & New Art (MONA).  I would revise that to the Museum of Weird Ass Art (in the best way possible).

The ferry ride was beautiful, passing along the coast of Hobart, arriving at the waterfront museum.  It was VERY windy though – a video for your entertainment.  Also, the coffee and baked goods on the ferry are delicious!  I was shocked that a ferry would have such good food.

We arrived by 10am and spent the next 2.5 hours (which is plenty) covering all the levels, including the ones with queues (it’s $50 for entry and the return ferry).  I highly recommend downloading the museum tour app, because it shows you which exhibits have the biggest queues/lines.  Event Horizon, one of the most popular, was VERY cool.  I also wanted to check out “Unseen,” but it books out in advance.  There is a loophole where you can buy the “Art & Dinner” evening package which comes with access, but we didn’t have time.  Below are some photos of my favorite exhibits – very weird, very wonderful.  My New York itch for culture, weirdos and art had been satiated.

Hungry, yet again, we decided to check out Salamanca Market, just down the waterfront from the ferry exit. It’s primarily one street of bars, restaurants and shops.  We ended up at Jack Greene – great beers and burgers. 

It was a good thing we’d packed so many activities into four days, because Hobart was a ghost town, so we decided to jump in the car for the long drive to Binalong Bay, home of the famous Bay of Fires.  We tried to stop at Sullivan Cove Distillery (my boyfriend is a huge fan) but the last tour was at 3pm (it’s way cheaper to do a tasting with the tour) so we decided to come back on our return to Hobart.

It – was – such - a – long – drive.  It was such a beautiful drive, with speeding “guidelines” for maximum driving enjoyment, but 3.5 hours straight was over-kill.  We kept looking for places to stop to buy supplies, since we’d be camping the next few days, and not a single open place.  I almost crashed the car driving through the tiny, quaint Campbell Town, because there was ONE open bakery (Banjo Bakery) – pretty sure we purchased everything in the store.

Driving like a crazy person, we arrived at Pelican Point Sanctuary in St. Helens (the town just south of Binalong) just in time for sunset.  One of the most picturesque places I’ve ever stayed – highly recommend for a honeymoon or stay-cation for one.  My only annoyance is that you pay $200/night, which isn’t cheap for that area, and still must clean and put away any dishes you use – but I did have the world’s best sleep.

Saturday, April 1, 2018

Our cabin was floor-to-ceiling windows with an incredible view, so I woke up early for sunrise.  Thank God I did! My friend had also kindly gifted me a new Gopro HERO6 for the trip, which captured this sunrise photo – probably my favorite of the trip. I was so impressed with the picture quality!  Note: Most of the photos in this post are using that camera.  GET ONE.

I was sad to leave Pelican Point, but my #1 destination was our goal for the day – Bay of Fires.  For those unfamiliar with this natural phenomenon, it’s a ~30km stretch of beach covered in orange-hued granite made from lichen, that makes the bay look like it’s on fire.  It was a quick 15 min drive to Binalong Bay.  It’s a little unclear where exactly the best spot for (safe) photos.  I recommend staying on Binalong Bay Road until it becomes Main Rd and the bay appears on the left.  Park in the lot near the playground and walk down, to the left of the tennis court, to access some of the better rock views - and a good swim too, if it’s warm enough.

Once you leave, I also recommend turning left out of the parking lot (if you are in an SUV) and continuing along Skeleton Bay Road (dirt) for a fun scenic drive through the bush that with a close eye on Google Maps will bring you back to Binalong Bay Road.

It was a gorgeous day, and the next day was meant to bring rain, so we decided to book it down to Freycinet National Park to hike the famous Wineglass Bay.  Suggestion here – search “Freycinet Visitor Center” in Google Maps rather than “Freycinet National Park” just to ensure you get to the actual trail-head.

We bumped a bunch of Griz songs as we drove south along the coast.  The chain of lagoons and Douglas River area before Bicheno looked amazing.  ARG Australia – why must you always be so big and beautiful.  I never have enough time to see it all!
If you haven’t noticed a theme yet… we stopped at the Bicheno IGA for picnic items, because we knew we’d be hungry and there doesn’t look to be too much near the national park.

Two hours after leaving Binalong Bay, we arrived at the visitor center.  The park pass was $22 each.  If you need to use the restroom – now is the time!  Another 40 minutes of fast-paced walking and we were looking out over Wineglass Bay.  The view was nice, but the bay is so far away, it’s hard to really enjoy the full beauty of it.  I thought Bay of Fires was better.  You can hike to Hazard’s Beach on the other side if you’ve got the time – perhaps those views are better?

To be honest, it wasn’t until we were driving out of the park that we found the most beautiful spot on the whole trip – Honeymoon Bay.  WOW.  I think the photos say enough.  Great spot for a picnic and leisure day laying out and swimming in the clear, warm water.

We drove back to Bicheno and stopped at tourist center to find out about seeing beach penguins and Tasmanian Devils. Both are night tours and cost $30 and $50 respectively, which didn’t seem worth it to me, especially because you can’t take pictures and during other times of the year you can just see penguins on the beach for free.

Instead, we checked into Seaview Holiday Park.  Another learning – Easter is apparently a VERY popular time to visit Tasmania.  We were lucky to get the last non-powered campsite.  Apparently some people book a year in advance, so I highly recommend booking all accommodation in advance.  The lady at the front desk was such a legend!

It was a cute campsite with friendly, yet respectful, neighbors – felt really safe which was nice for two girls.  After a hilarious attempt to pitch the tent, we pour wine into some water bottles and decided to enjoy a sunset beach walk.  Turns out there are red rocks here too! 
After some lovely sunset photos and singing stupidly to the Creed song, ‘With Arms Wide Open” (why? I have no idea) we decided to stop at Sails Restaurant for some prosecco and ice cream.  We got a beach view table, but unfortunately the windows were so dirty, we couldn’t see outside.  Filled to the brim with sugar, we walked back to camp.

Sunday, April 2, 2018

Woke up early for sunrise and then decided what to do next over a yum camp breakfast.  We’d originally planned to stay in Bicheno for two nights but had already seen Freycinet, and Bicheno town doesn’t have a ton going on, so we decided to move on.  We’d heard Bruny Island was beautiful, and near Hobart, so after a warm, delicious cup-a-joe at Pasini, we hit the road again thinking we’d spend the night on the island.

It was another gorgeous drive, this time through lush green farmland.  We stopped at Devil’s Corner for some wine-tasting - the view was great; the wine so-so.  We then stopped at Triabunna for another bathroom break and saw signs for Maria Island – apparently covered in adorable animals like kangaroos, wombats, etc.  Our original plan went out the window and next thing we knew we were on a midday ferry to the island ($50 per person). 

Tasmania is just full of surprises.  Every excursion proved to be better than the last and Maria Island was the new favorite.  We rented bikes for $33 and biked all over the island.  You can go anywhere you want.  Some areas are huge cliffs looking out over the ocean, other areas have beaches and dense forest.  Warning there are some pretty big hills so need to be in somewhat good shape!  There were kangaroos and wombats everywhere – we got up close and personal with one of the wombats.  I want one!!!  Apparently, there are Tassie devils at night if you camp (just watch out for your shoes!!)

We started off biking along the beach to the right of the ferry (facing the ocean) to Fossil Cliff.  Make sure you walk to the far end of the quarry for a spectacular view of high cliffs in the distance.  Then take the inland track back and you enter a cool forest before coming out behind the little village of Darlington - they sell delicious fudge by the way.

But the best part of the whole island is the Painted Cliffs.  You want to arrive here around 3pm, when the tide is out, so that you can walk along these amazing cliffs.  It was my second favorite thing about Tasmania, after Honeymoon Bay.  We couldn’t spend too much time there because we needed to get the last 5pm ferry back, but I got fantastic pictures!

By the time we got back to Hobart it was dark and I was very over driving (Bicheno to Hobart is 2.5 hours).  Once again everything was closed, because it was Easter Sunday, but we managed to sneak a spot at Peacock & Jones because someone was late for their reservation!  I was so tired I could barely stay awake, but the restaurant was lovely – I had the wallaby which was pretty good but maybe a bit “one-tone” in taste.

While in the car, we decided to “go big” on the holiday and still see Bruny Island.  We booked an Airbnb room in Snug, just outside Kettering and Bruny Island. It was a little frustrating to pay for another night when we’d bothered to bring all this camping gear but $73 seemed reasonable for a soft bed and shower.  Also it was a weird, yet adorable little cabin.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Another early morning catching the Bruny Island car ferry at 10am.  Thirty minutes later and we’d arrived and drove straight to the famous “Neck” (the thinnest, highest point of the island) to battle a bunch of other tourists to get that perfect Instagram shot.  Another “meh” in my opinion…right up there with Wineglass Bay.  I’ve been far more impressed with the remote, random places in Tasmania so far.

Next we drove to Adventure Bay on a quest to see a white wallaby.  If I were to stay on Bruny Island, I’d stay here.  It’s beautiful.  We sadly didn’t see any of the evasive white wallabies, but we did get in a nice beachfront walk. 

It was on this walk, that I started to feel really apprehensive.  The last ferry of the day is at 4/5pm and they are first-come first-serve and our flight out the next morning was first thing so I was a bit panicked about getting off the island.  I’d definitely recommend staying at least one night on the island so that you feel less rushed.

Needless to say, we took our time heading back to the ferry stop.  I bought some chocolate licorice from the Bruny Island Chocolate Co. and had a delicious lunch of pizza, cheese and beers at Bruny Island Cheese & Beer Co.  They make a lot of stuff on this island!  The lunch stop had a great atmosphere – outdoor picnic tables in a lush green garden area.

We arrived at the ferry stop and spent the next 2 hours waiting – we decided to hangout on the side of the road and have a picnic “second lunch.”  It at least made the waiting a bit better.  If you find yourself in that same line with no snacks you can walk down to the ferry station. In general, you should stay the next and leave on the first ferry out.

Back on the mainland, we completed our final drive to Hobart, had a good sleep and then headed out on our 10am flight the next morning.

As I write this blog post over a year after visiting, I’m contemplating a visit back, but unfortunately, it’s October and it will just be too cold.  I loved this trip so much, even with the 10 hours of driving over 3 full days and waiting 2 hours for the Bruny Island ferry (680 km/422 miles).  I was so impressed with the kind, relaxed nature of the people, the weird art at MONA, the world-class food in Hobart and the incredible beach and forest landscapes of Binalong Bay, Freycinet, Maria Island and Bruny Island.  It’s such a beautiful place with so few people that you kind of feel like you are the only people in existence which adds something to the experience.  I cannot wait to visit again, and to think I only did the east coast of the island.  There is so much more Tasmania has to offer!