Bruny is big – about 50 kilometres long. There’s a lot to explore and discover, no matter how well you think you know the island.
Day 1: Hobart to Bruny Island
At Great Bay, about 15min drive south of the ferry terminal, pull over for tastings at the Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co. Chat with the brewer making “slow beer” and watch the cheesemakers working on artisanal cheeses with distinctively Tasmanian characters and names.
Among the island’s gems is South Bruny National Park, flanked by cliffs with dramatic views over long sandy beaches, coastal heath and eucalypt forests, and gardens of kelp offshore. Abundant wildlife includes several threatened bird species, among them ground and swift parrots and the forty-spotted pardalote, as well as penguins, echidnas, pademelons and a small population of rare white Bennett’s wallabies. The park is threaded with walks, from easy strolls to challenging climbs. Options include the 12km East Cloudy Head walk, half of it along the white sand of Cloudy Bay Beach.
For even more spectacular coastal views mixed with fascinating history, book ahead for daily tours of the Cape Bruny Lighthouse with Bruny Island Safaris. The lighthouse was first lit in 1838 with sperm whale oil. Climb the cast-iron spiral stairs to the balcony for panoramic views, and learn about life as a keeper at Australia’s third-oldest lighthouse.
Drop by the cellar door at family-run Bruny Island Premium Wines for tastings of its cool-climate wines, or linger for lunch and Saturday-night dinner.
Overnight options include a seafood dinner and stay at Hotel Bruny at Alonnah, and a range of cottages and lodges across the island managed by Bruny Island Coastal Retreats, including secluded Cloudy Bay Villa.
Day 2: Bruny Island
Before departing for Adventure Bay, delve into deep botanical history while wandering in the Inala Jurassic Garden, full of Gondwanan species and interpretation panels, and explore the adjacent nature museum, where shells, gemstones and fossils continue stories of the links between past and present.
See Bruny by sea. Join a 3hr eco-cruise with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys for a 50km exploration of sea stacks, sea caves, remote inlets and a good chance of seeing wildlife, including dolphins, seals, scores of sea birds and migrating whales in season. Follow up with a seafood lunch at Pennicott’s HQ at picturesque Adventure Bay.
Back on land, at the eastern end of Adventure Bay, the Fluted Cape circuit is a scenic walk (3hr, 6km return) rising to the cape summit and the top of some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs. A shorter 1hr return walk to Grass Point along the coast suits families – don’t miss seeing the remains of a whaling station.
Stay overnight at Adventure Bay, where options include Adventure Bay Retreat and 43 Degrees Bruny Island.
Day 3: Bruny Island
Head north, and fill your picnic hamper on the way. Meet the makers at the likes of the Bruny Island Chocolate Co. (just south of The Neck) and Bruny Island Honey (just north).
An essential Bruny experience is to stand atop The Neck, an isthmus connecting the islands of North and South Bruny. From the car park, take the steps (some 270 of them, but who’s counting) to Truganini Lookout. The isthmus is important habitat for wildlife, including short-tailed shearwaters and little penguins.
There are great views of The Neck and Adventure Bay from the Cape Queen Elizabeth Track, a scenic walk (3hr, 12km) combining beach and bush. Highlights include remote Miles Beach, a rocky archway in the sand at Mars Bluff, and the chance to spot the rare forty-spotted pardalote.
Day 4: Bruny Island
North Bruny is great for fishing. Pick a beach or jetty and try your luck.
At the Bruny Island Quarantine Station near Barnes Bay, take a self-guided walk and learn some of its remarkable stories: of early occupation by Tasmanian Aboriginal people, as a defence against infectious diseases in the 1880s, an internment camp for German nationals in World War I, and a quarantine post for returning soldiers during the 1919 influenza pandemic.
Book ahead for a meal or sourdough class at Bruny Island Wild Jetty Café, at Dennes Point, with views of the channel and hills.
Not far from the ferry terminal, enjoy a wee dram at the Bruny Island House of Whisky, specialising in Tasmanian single malts.
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