Just past Tasmania’s southeastern coast lies Bruny Island, a rugged wonderland where verdant pastures meet pristine coastlines, and gourmet cheese and oysters reign supreme.
Visiting Bruny Island is a must when in Southern Tasmania, whether you're out to explore for a day or a long weekend. Filled with awe-inspiring landscapes, sprawling farmland, and epic stretches of coastline, this remote haven is just teeming with wildlife and the freshest of local produce. Sandwiched between D’Entrecasteaux Channel and the Tasman Sea, Bruny Island is a mere ferry ride from the sleepy coastal town of Kettering. Start your day with breakfast in Hobart and a scenic half-hour drive down the Channel Highway to the ferry terminal and you’re well on your way.
Read on for a taste of top-rated Bruny experiences that mustn’t be missed.
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Sample Great Bay oysters at Get Shucked
Upon disembarking from the Bruny Island Ferry, your chance to try locally grown oysters is just a 15-minute drive away. At Get Shucked the oysters – farmed down in Great Bay, quite literally a stone's throw from the venue – couldn’t be fresher. Call into the Oyster Bar and have them plated your way, whether that's au natural, Kilpatrick or panko-crumbed over a zesty noodle salad. Still can’t decide? Order a platter and sample them all.
Indulge at Bruny Island Cheese Company
Call into Bruny Island Cheese Company next – its cellar door is only a couple minutes more down the road. Set amidst eucalypt trees and native shrubs, here you can taste an imaginative range of cheeses, which change seasonally, all made with C2 milk sourced directly from the Company’s own Glen Huon dairy farm. Try pinot noir-washed OEN, or a wedge of the soft-ripened and oozy Saint, coupled with fresh sourdough baked onsite and a range of sister venture Bruny Island Beer Company’s rich, naturally-fermented ales, crafted from unusual grains like spelt and quinoa.
Hike on the Cape Queen Elizabeth Track
Want to earn lunch? Opposite Bruny Island Honey (did someone say free honey tasting?) is the car park to the Cape Queen Elizabeth Track. You’ll want to set aside three hours to complete this beginner-grade hike. Head out on a sandy trail, wrapped in the rich aroma of eucalypts, as you cut your way through native shrubs and pass skinny Neck Beach and Blighs Rocks. Be sure to time yourself with low tide so that you can walk around the foreshore and snap a picture beneath the Mars Bluff Arch, though there is an alternate path. Continue on past squeaky-clean Miles Beach to eventually reach the craggy headland of Cape Queen Elizabeth, one of Bruny’s most rewarding viewpoints.
Admire the view at Neck Game Reserve Lookout
Linking the north and south of Bruny Island is the Neck, a thin strip of land just wide enough to accommodate the island’s main road, a seaside beach, and a timber walkway. The lookout here boasts panoramic views of the sea and slopes beyond. Stop by at sunset and you may just be able to spot some Little Penguins, who make their homes on these shores in warmer months.
Cruise with Pennicott Wilderness Journey
Departing from Adventure Bay, a cruise with Pennicott Wilderness Journey will show you the island from a different perspective. In the hands of a knowledgeable captain and guide, you’ll tour past some of Australia’s most imposing sea cliffs, entering deep sea caves and spotting seals, dolphins and migratory whales as you go. Discover ‘The Monument,’ a fascinating piece of art carved by Mother Nature and Father Time, then hear the ocean breathe as you get up close and navigate the treacherous craggs around ‘Breathing Rock.’
Taste Bruny Island Premium Wines
Here on Bruny's south side, Bruny Island Premium Wines is Australia’s southernmost vineyard and the first to be established on Bruny. Vintners produce cool climate wines on an idyllic site of sloping pastures with truly spectacular views and the cellar door is open for lunch and for tastings seven days a week. You’ll have your choice of classic varietals – this winery bottles chardonnay and pinot noir aplenty – but for those looking to try something a bit different, request a glass of the buttery fumé blanc or a decadent and floral schönburger.
Uncover Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Pass by Cloudy Bay, admiring the incredible surf as you go, and arrive in Cape Bruny on the southwestern tip of the island. The majestic white lighthouse here stands in stark contrast to the rugged, wild coast and remarkable seascape. This heritage-listed structure has led sailors safely ashore for nearly 200 years, and if stepping back through that time intrigues you, tours are offered here every half hour. Follow a knowledgeable Bruny local as they show you the lighthouse’s nooks and crannies and teach you about the island’s hardy history dating back to its European settlement.
Sip a tot at Bruny Island House of Whiskey
Winding your way back to the ferry terminal, you’ll want to pause at the Bruny Island House of Whiskey. The bar here pours the most extensive range of purely Tasmanian single malts in the world, along with its own cheeky collection of premium, bespoke gins. Why not end your fascinating journey to Bruny Island with a warming whiskey flight or glass of mystically golden Saffron Limited Release Seclusion Gin in hand while sitting on the veranda overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel?
Relax in luxury accommodation
Bruny Island is so compact that you can see the most standout sites in a single day, but should you prefer a more leisurely pace, do stay the night. Otherwise, hop on the ferry back to Hobart. The newly opened Novotel Devonport offers incredible views of the Mersey River and Bass Strait. Or if you’re looking for something cosy and chic, look no further than Moss Hotel, a beautiful block of restored warehouses just off iconic Salamanca Place, complete with rooms featuring plush velvet cushions and artfully exposed brick walls.
Words by Thomas Atkinson.
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Looking for more inspiration? Check out Australia’s Best Long Weekend Escapes.