I had travelled to Tasmania before my cruising holiday a couple of weeks ago, so spending a port day travelling vegan in Hobart was still exciting. Port days are fun in the sense that you can get a taste of a destination while exploring by foot or bus.
What I love about Hobart on the ‘Apple Isle’ is that vegan eating spots are mostly within walking distance of the central business district. Though, you do need to take transport to other spots involving art or animals, and the like. Luckily for me, the scheduled port day in Hobart was met with clear skies and sunny early-Autumn weather.
Meeting the Local Wildlife at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Cruise companies organise shore excursions on port days so Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary was one excursion I wanted to experience. A lazy, winding drive through Hobart’s suburbs led us to Bonorong which is only about 30 minutes from port. The reason why I was looking forward to this shore excursion was that I could take a glimpse of the endangered marsupial – the Tasmanian Devil.
It’s said that Tasmania is the last stop before reaching the edge of the Earth, and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is, in effect, the last stop for many native animals who find themselves injured, orphaned or living in endangered habitats. Some Tasmanian Devils have nowhere else to go because they don’t exist anywhere on the planet. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is owned and managed by Greg Irons and his passion for animals and conservation. He actually visited the sanctuary for his seventh birthday, when he declared that he would “own this place one day”.
Nowadays he is helping those animals that exist in Tasmania’s fragile ecology. Visitors to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary can take a tour of the grounds to meet those animals who now either call this place home, or are being rehabilitated to be released back into the wild. On any given day, you can view the beautiful native animals here, such as cute wombats and koalas, kangaroos, native birds like cockatoos, parrots and emus, vulnerable quolls, and reptiles. The guides at Bonorong are knowledgeable and compassionate, walking us through a trail of the many beings that have found safety from the dangerous threats beyond the grounds. Those threats are, sadly, traffic, habitat degradation and disease. The Tasmanian Devil, in particular, is under threat by facial tumour disease; an aggressive cancer that researchers are still trying to control.
One Tasmanian Devil at Bonorong calls the sanctuary home because he was hit by a car. While recovered now, the accident rendered the poor being brain-damaged and he now spends his days in the safety of his enclosure. This one individual brings home the reality of the impact humans have on wildlife, and the tireless work Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary commits to Tasmania’s dwindling wildlife populations. There are opportunities to witness feedings of the animals, and those on the tour can opt to help feed some of the animals or give them a pat. This is by choice, though I decided not to participate in even though these patting opportunities are at the discretion of staff. Animals are not forced to be pat or fed by visitors.
Still, Bonorong is a peaceful, natural spot to meet these gorgeous animals while tour fees help to keep the sanctuary going for years to come. Another bonus for vegans is that there’s a small tuckshop selling snacks with vegan options and hot and cold drinks including coffees with soy milk. The gift store also stocks The Cashew Creamery icecreams.
Eating a Delicious Vegan Lunch at Veg Bar
After spending such an inspiring and energetic morning with Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Hobart, it’s only fitting to match the experience with an equally fuelling vegan lunch. Once I was dropped off at the port, the warm weather needed to be taken advantage of with a walk to Veg Bar.
According to Veg Bar, lunch really is an important meal especially when you need to replenish those energy levels. The ultra-modern, industrial style interior at Veg Bar helps to energise said levels. From street art on the walls, sun streaming through the windows to shine on fluorescent light fittings, to the plant-based organic menu using local ingredients, Veg Bar is promising to vegans needing a meal.
My visit was on a weekday which meant Veg Bar was quiet and the ability to grab a table was easy. To kick-start the body, a Tree Hugger smoothie was an obvious choice. This blend of kale, spinach, pineapple, coconut water, avocado and spirulina was both replenishing and refreshing. Even the top of the drink gave me an extra boost – mounds of shredded coconut and goji berries.
By the time I reached the bottom of the glass the main meal arrived. It’s not often you find jackfruit in Australia, used as a meat substitute, so it was only rhetoric to order Veg Bar’s Massaman Curry. A creamy, thick curry of potato, pumpkin, stringy jackfruit, peas and chickpeas was just what I needed to make a fulfilling lunch choice. Together with brown rice, this dish was a found surprise in the vegan travels available in Hobart. The only thing that was left to end this vegan port day was to choose a slice of raw berry ‘cheese’ cake from the cake cabinet. As Veg Bar attests, the “things that sprout from the ground and grow from branches are actually pretty awesome.”
Visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary which is open daily from 9.00am to 5.00pm including weekends and public holidays. 593 Briggs Road Brighton Tasmania 7030 Australia. Phone: +613 6268 1184 or [email protected] General admission and tours are available upon booking. Prices can be found on the website.
While in Hobart, grab a vegan meal at Veg Bar, 346 Elizabeth Street North Hobart 7000 Tasmania Australia. Phone: +613 6231 1593 or [email protected] Open 11.30am to 9.00pm seven days a week.
Have you been to Hobart? What are the vegan finds did you found there? Or, have you explored a new destination on a port day while travelling on a cruise? What vegan finds did you uncover? I’d love to hear about your travels in the comments below.