Hobart Day Trips – Caves and Bruny Island

With roughly 3 weeks in Hobart, we had a lot of time to do day trips and be a tourist. I like being a tourist. I often wonder what the tourists on the coast get up to when they’re not riding mopeds around Surfers or partying. Are there cool day trips that we could be doing on weekends? Is Byron a day trip they would do? I digress. Anyway, our good friends Jane and Sam were also in Hobart at the same time as us, so we caught up with them for some day-trip fun!

Sam is from Tassie, so he knows all of the tourist hot-spots. That’s why he took us to some hidden caves a few hours from Hobart (Hastings caves). We pretended we were nature gurus and made some hilarious videos about stalactites and stalagmites before Sam pretended to do a cave-cable (that big of rock actually looked like a poo, and someone in the tour group had just bombed out the cave, so we had a good laugh about cave-cables). Probably had to be there. One highlight was definitely the eccentric American who took the opportunity to sing for the tour-group deep in the natural amphitheater of the cave.  That was just after he interrupted one of our silly videos to force us all into a group shot.  He was hilarious.  U.S.A. U.S.A!  We also explored a natural spring that was actually just an in-ground swimming pool in the forest and played with a dead snake on the way home.  Crickey! Much fun was had.

Sam also invited Jas and I to spend some time on Bruny Island with his family between Boxing Day and New Years.  Let me firstly say Sam’s family is awesome, and secondly, Bruny Island is awesome!  What more could you ask for – one of the most beautiful locations in the world, some amazing company, heaps of alcohol and an assortment of different activities.  We went walking, almost died kayaking, ate some delicious, locally produced cheese, waited for penguins to run up the beach and watched shearwaters land, saw the Sydney to Hobart boats go past and laughed a lot with Sam’s hilarious family.  And there was even a little pug running around!  I miss that place.

This photo could well have been Jas and my last photo. We zipped up our wetties and planned to kayak around the rocky headland to snorkel and play in the sea. I took off from the beach in my dodgy, old Kayak with Jas behind me. Both of us struggled to paddle straight, and not because we were particularly useless. We spent a little bit of time getting used to the old, adventure-style kayaks before aiming our sights for the rocky point. I was bouncing around a little as I hit the waves head on, but I was in control.  Water came into my kayak each time I bounced the nose into the on-coming wave.  It was when I turned side-on to the waves that I really began to struggle.  But we slowly paddled for the point.

After about 5 minutes of paddling, I heard Jas shout out behind me – I knew she had fallen in. I waited a while before paddling back to her to help her get back into the kayak – I thought she’d be fine to get back in.  I made it to her safely, but I struggled to be of much help. She had water in her kayak and could not flip it over and empty it properly, so I offered to jump out and help. She declined a few times, but I couldn’t watch her struggle any longer, so I decided to jump out of mine.  For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to slide out gracefully by sitting on the top of my kayak, however, in the process of doing that, I put too much pressure on one side and I flipped my kayak too. The water was freezing. Even with a wetsuit on I was instantly so cold that I could not feel my face or hands.  I found my footing on the sharp, shell-covered rocks though I struggled to flip both of our kayaks and drain them – I could get one, but not the other. The waves started to pummel us and they were constantly filling the kayaks with water. I soon became exhausted and anxious as I struggled to keep both kayaks empty. We started to talk about turning back, and before long, we were considering just ditching the kayaks as the waves were relentless. I decided that we should don the snorkel and goggles so that we could navigate over the rocks under our feet without slicing our skin to bits and slowly walk the kayaks to land. When I put my head under water to navigate the rocks, the bouncing of my head and lack of horizon line, coupled with the freezing water set off my Caloric reflex and my head was spinning.  I was stressed and could feel my heart pumping in my chest.  I gave Jas the floating kayak to swim around the rocky point to safety.  I dragged a fully submerged kayak behind me while I swam as best I could in the freezing, dizzying water.

After a long struggle, I was relieved to be able to touch the ground (and feel sand).  I pulled my kayak out before helping Jas pull hers to safety. We sat on a large stump on the beach and I struggled to unzip my wetsuit to suck down some huge breaths. I was so exhausted and had so much adrenaline running through me that I felt sick. We eventually walked the kayaks home and had a warm shower before sitting on the deck and enjoying the afternoon from land, where we should have stayed!  It was nice to know after we were back on land that there are some monster sharks that cruise between the islands.
This is my last post from Hobart.  It’s good to finally have my blog posts online!


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