Your Guide to Bruny Island, Tasmania

Bruny Island is beautiful.  It is wild and free.  

Bruny Island gives new meaning to ‘remote’ and ‘off the grid’.  It’s rustic yet stunning at every turn.  If I wanted to escape the world and just hide for weeks on end, Bruny would be the perfect place to do that.

I love hiking in deep, lush forest areas. I love being near the water. When I have a camera in my hand, I will happily spend an hour (or two) trying to capture a sky, a cloud formation, waterfalls…

Bruny Island was all that and more.

Brung Island Beaches | Curvaceous Traveller

Bruny Island island is well known for its cheese, it’s fudge and it even has a whisky stop. When I first visited Bruny Island, I didn’t stop for any of these things.

Shame on me.

For my first adventure to Bruny Island, I was too eager for the wilderness but I have visited them all since that initial trip – and they are all magnificent!

If I wanted to escape the world and just hide for weeks on end – and believe me there are days – Bruny Island would be the perfect place to do that.

Beautiful Bruny Island | Curvaceous Traveller
Views from the Neck Lookout | Photo Credit: Tara Marlow

So Remote

I have to admit, as we made our way deeper into the lush bush, I wondered for a second –  and only a second –  how many of these locals who lived here were running from the law, or were at some point? (My writer imagination sometimes gets the best of me.) But, when I mentioned this to my partner, how Bruny Island would be the perfect place to bury a body and that I had wondered how many murder mystery novels had been set on Bruny Island, he (thankfully) laughed. Bruny has that kind of remoteness. It’s the stuff novels are made of.

When we got to the end of the road, we came upon some surfers hanging out, laid back and reading books, while they waited for their next set. They had come some distance for a surf, so I hope it was worth it!

The place was pretty magical.

Bruny Island Inlet | Photo Credit:  Tara Marlow
Bruny Island Inlet | Photo Credit: Tara Marlow

How Far is Bruny Island from Hobart?

Driving to Bruny Island takes about 1.5 hours one way. You have to coordinate with the ferry which can only only a certain number of cars, so during high season (December – January), it can take a long longer than that, just waiting in line for the ferry.

Is Is Better to Drive or Take a Tour?

You can do either and both are great options. If you have longer than a day, I would suggest staying at least a night on Bruny Island, but if you only have a day and want to see the most of Bruny, then a Tour is a great option.

I have information further along in this post for driving to and on Bruny Island.

Bruny Island | Your Guide to this AMAZING place in southern Tasmania | Curvaceous Traveller
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What Tours Are Recommended?

Bruny Island Cruise

One adventure I regret not doing was the Bruny Island Cruise because of all of the fabulous things I’ve heard about it – it’s on my personal list, that’s for sure!

I’ve heard the cruise around Bruny shows off the rawness of the Island and its wildlife in unforgettable ways.

I’ve also been told it can get pretty rough, so be sure to pack seasickness pills or bands (whether you get seasick normally or not).

Highlights:

  • Cruise by some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs and drift up close to listen to the awesome Breathing Rock. Enter deep sea caves, pass through the narrow gap between the coast and The Monument and feel the power of nature where the Tasman Sea meets the might of the Southern Ocean.
  • On this 3-hour activity you’ll search for wildlife such as seals, dolphins, migrating whales and sea birds with an interpretive guide. At the Friars, you’ll drift quietly past rare nesting seabirds and a large haul-out home to thousands of seals.
  • The custom-built yellow boats feature open-air tiered seating providing excellent all-round views. After the cruise, you’ll have time to explore Bruny Island.

Note: This tour leaves from Adventure Bay ON Bruny Island. So you have to make your own way to Bruny Island and then you will meet the cruise at Adventure Bay. This is a good tour to ADD on to a day to Bruny Island.

Bruny Island: Full-Day Food and Wine Tour from Hobart

If you’re a foodie, this is the tour I recommend Bruny Island has some delectable offerings. Everything from cheese to whisky. Yeah, book this one and let me know what you think.

Highlights:

  • Transportation by bus
  • Bruny Island ferry crossing
  • Morning teaCellar door lunch
  • Wine tasting at Australia’s southernmost vineyard
  • National Parks entry pass
  • Hotel drop off at Hobart CBD accommodations
  • Morning hotel pick-up
  • Half a dozen fresh oysters, hand made fudge and local honey
  • World class whisky
  • Cheese and hand crafted ale at Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co.

Bruny Island: Full-Day Food, Lighthouse & Sightseeing Tour

If you want the most bang for your buck and you only have a day to explore Bruny Island and would rather not do a self-drive, this is the tour that would give you that.

Highlights:

  • Pick-up and drop off from select locations
  • Round-trip transport from Hobart
  • Return ferry fare
  • Park entry fees
  • Cape Bruny Lighthouse Tour
  • Lunch (featuring local produce)
  • Bruny Island produce tastings (including cheese ‘picnic-style’)
  • Chocolate shop and tasting
  • Cheese and Oyster producer visit
  • Oyster farm and tasting
  • Honey tasting
  • Cider tasting
  • Morning tea (Bruny Island cheeses, Fresh shucked island oysters and wood oven breads)

If I Drive, How Do I Get To Bruny Island?

Getting to Bruny Island is pretty straightforward. It is 30 minutes to Kettering, taking the Channel Highway toward Kingston, then onwards to the ferry port. The ferry crossing is what can be tricky. On a good day, it can be half an hour, driving right on to the ferry, but I would say that’s only during low season. With waiting times factored in, it would take about an hour. Ultimately, it will take you around 1.5 hours from drive from Hobart to Bruny Island.

Upon at the ferry port, drive your car into one of three queues, waiting to be told which section of the ferry you need to be on.  Then you board, slowly, stacking up bumper and bumper. You’re required to stay in the vehicle while the ferry undocks, but then you can walk around for the 15 minute journey before disembarking.

The posted ferry schedule is strictly adhered to.

The first ferry of the day departs Kettering at 6.35am (although not on Sunday, where the first ferry is at 7.45am) and the last ferry, leaving Bruny is at 6.30 pm (or 7.50 pm on Friday nights).  A round trip ferry ride will set you back $30 per vehicle.  Seniors can snag a pensioners discount.

Ferry journey to Bruny Island | Curvaceous Traveller
Ferry journey to Bruny Island

Are There Any Concerns Driving on Bruny Island?

Being rustic, there are a lot of dirt roads on Bruny Island. Many take you to seemingly remote areas.

Hours can be spent navigating the rutted roads, trying to avoid paint chip damage on the rental car! If you plan on exploring off the sealed roads, I would definitely recommend you rent a 4WD or a sturdy SUV. Your journey on Bruny will be much more enjoyable.

Expect unsealed roads for much of Bruny, seriously unsealed.
Bruny Island Dirt Roads | Curvaceous Traveller
Unsealed roads on Bruny Island

Where to Go on Bruny Island:

The Neck

Once you leave the ferry, making your way southwards toward Adventure Bay, you will pass through The Neck. The Neck itself is incredible. It is a nesting area for fairy penguins and if you’re lucky enough to be staying overnight on Bruny Island, this is a must see.

If you are day tripping on Bruny Island, not all is lost. Stop at the parking lot at The Neck and walk up to the top of the lookout. Yes, the stairs are brutal, but the views are totally worth the climb. You can see both sides of Bruny Island from the very top, so keep slugging your way up. Stop, turn around and admire the views as you go – a good excuse to catch your breath!

The Stairs at The Lookout, Bruny Island | Curvaceous Traveller
The Stairs at The Lookout, Bruny Island, but the views are worth the climb! | Photo Credit: Tara Marlow

Adventure Bay

Adventure Bay is about 35 minutes drive once you arrive by ferry to Bruny Island. It is on the eastern side of the island and the beach is both accessible to the road and offers pristine sand for kilometres. Adventure Bay is also a small village with a well stocked shop and a number of varied accommodation options, including camping and self-contained options.

Adventure Bay is a great spot to stop and have a picnic. Maybe you’ve picked up some delectables you’ve bought along the way, including cheese, bread and chocolate.

At the northern end of the beach is ‘Two Tree point’. Information below is taken from the information board in Adventure Bay:

Listed on the Tasmanian Herritage Register, Two Tree Point, at the mouth of Resolution Creek, has historic and cultural significance as it is able to demonstrate an important aspect of Tasmania’s history. The area has changed little since 1792, and is evocative of the landscape that would have been experienced by 18th century European explorers.

Known as ‘Watering Place’ on the charts of Captain Tobias Furneaux (Adventure, 1773) and Captain James Cook (Resolution, 1777), this waterway, from which early explorers replenished their supplies of fresh water was later named Resolution River by Captain William Bligh during his visit on the Bounty in 1778. Bligh had been Sailing Master on Cook’s ship in 1777.

Accompanying Captain Bligh was Lieutanant George Tobin, the expedition’s principal artist. Of the seven paintings executed by Tobin in Adventure Bay, one depicted the area now known as Two Tree Point. It is thought these trees depicted by Tobin (both of which are Eucalyptus Globulus), are still standing today, making them at least 250 years of age.

A further painting of an Aboriginal bark shelter, was also sighted in the area, and Tobin’s journal provides information on the diet of the indigenous inhabitants and their shelter construction.  Aboriginal artefacts have been found in this area.

The first visit was Abel Tasman in 1642. After a weathering a raging gale, he named the wider bay Storm Bay.

Adventure Bay, Bruny Island | Curvaceous Traveller
Adventure Bay, Bruny Island | Photo Credit: Tara Marlow

Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co.

The Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co. is a great place to stop for lunch. They specialise on using locally sourced products and deliver artisan-quality offerings, such has handmade cheese and bread, and brewed beer.

From their website:

Our cheeses are all made and matured using traditional techniques and are highly regarded as being some of the finest artisan cheeses made in Australia. We want our cheeses to reflect the seasonal nature of our Huon Valley farm and our herd of rare breed cows. We want our cheeses to show a distinctly Tasmanian character.

I highly recommend the “George” and “1792.

There are other offerings, such as wood-fired pizza and a good cup of Aussie-style coffees.

As for the beers at the Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co, I also recommended a brew over lunch.

From their website:

The brewery was built behind the cheesery in Great Bay, Bruny Island and our first beer was released in February 2016.

…We practise a simple approach to brewing – one that harks back to older methods of making and maturing beer.  We brew slow beer in small batches, and lift, tip and stir everything by hand, knowing that quality is only attainable through determination and hard work.

I highly recommend their Farm Ale.

Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co.
Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co.

Bruny Island Lighthouse

The Cape Bruny Lighthouse is a dominant landmark on Bruny Island. Built around 1836 the lighthouse is the southernmost lighthouse tour in Australia. It sits on the sea-cliff tops in the South Bruny National Park, at the southern top of Bruny Island.

To reach Bruny Island Lighthouse, you will be driving on dirt road to reach it. The roads on Bruny Island can be rutted and rough.

You do have to pay to enter the Bruny Island National Park and there is a price for the Lighthouse Tour but you can just wander the area without taking the tour. But what fun is that?

NOTE: This is a major stop for the tours, mentioned above. I do recommend this tour for seeing the best of the Bruny Island Lighthouse:

Bruny Island Honey

While just a farm stand, Bruny Island Honey is worth a stop. Bruny Island Honey is a family-run business offering a variety of beautiful honey sourced from bee hives around Bruny Island and surrounds. Free tastings, small and large pots are available.

Bruny Island Honey
Bruny Island Honey

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Bruny Island | Your Guide to this AMAZING place in southern Tasmania |  Curvaceous Traveller

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2 Comments

  1. Lisa
    August 12, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    I did the Bruny Island cruise. 3 hours zooming around in the Southern ocean – seriously cold and that was in November! The operators were very accommodating and expert. It was an exhilarating way to spend a morning and set us up for a great day. The only thing we missed on Bruny Island was visiting the Cheese Company for a taste of their scrumptious cheese. Something to go back for!

    • Tara Marlow
      August 21, 2015 / 10:16 am

      I don’t think it matters when you go on that cruise – it’s always going to be chilly. But that’s why we love Tasmania! Let us know how you like the cheese. In the meantime, it’s always at Woolies. =-)

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