Cruise to seal colonies, explore cliff-top trails and sample gourmet produce on Tasmania's wild Bruny Island.
By Jennifer Ennion
Bruny Island is essentially two islands off the coast of Hobart, joined by a narrow isthmus known as The Neck. Popular as a weekend destination for beach goers and foodies, it is also home to a rugged, relatively untouched landscape that is both dramatic and beautiful. Explore it all with great walking tracks and pristine swimming, surfing and fishing beaches; be sure to take advantage of the island's flourishing fine food and wine industry.
- Views of The Neck from Truganini Lookout
- Searching for fur seals on an eco cruise
- Sampling island cheese and berries
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Top things to do on Bruny Island
Dine on fabulous food and wine
Bruny Island has a thriving culture of home-grown food and wine. Visit Bruny Island Cheese Co. at Great Bay, to sample traditional European cow's and goat's milk cheeses. Call into Australia’s southernmost vineyard, Bruny Island Premium Wines, at Lunawanna, for a glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay with lunch. Or make yourself a picnic by calling into Bruny Island Berry Farm, at Adventure Bay on South Bruny Island. At the farm you can pick your own strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, enjoy berry-flavoured ice-cream and take home a souvenir pot of berry jam. If you want to try a bit of everything, join a sightseeing and gourmet food tour. Bruny Island Traveller offers a six-course, full-day island tour, while Bruny Island Safaris blends a jaunt that includes nature, heritage and food.
A fascinating history
Learn about the Aboriginal people, the sailors, the whalers and explorers who played a major role in Bruny Island's history at The Bligh Museum of Pacific Exploration. The privately-run museum at Adventure Bay tells the story of the island's namesake, Captain Joseph Bruni D'Entrecasteaux, as well as the history of South Pacific exploration. Built in 1954 from thousands of convict-made bricks, the museum features maps, documents, paintings and artefacts from explorers including Captain William Bligh, Captain James Cook and Matthew Flinders. Another fascinating historical attraction is Cape Bruny Lighthouse in the island's south. The lighthouse, built with convict labour in the 1830s, is open to the public, with tours leading visitors up the spiral staircase to the balcony. It is easily reached along the one road leading into South Bruny National Park.
Explore on foot
The most photographed view of Bruny Island is from a lookout above The Neck, the strip of sand that links north and south. The 360-degree views from Truganini Lookout are unrivalled on the island, and it's a quick ascent up a timber staircase to reach it. Hiking trails are plentiful across Bruny and it is easy to explore them independently. However, if you prefer to have a guide, short walks are included in general island tours. If you are happy to go it alone, check out the great full-day Labillardiere Peninsula Walk, in South Bruny National Park. It's a moderate trek that takes you through coastal heathland and dry sclerophyll forests.
Mix with the locals
Get up close to the island's wildlife on an eco cruise or guided nature tour. Award-winning Pennicott Wilderness Journeys runs three-hour wilderness cruises that venture close to Bruny Island's rugged coastline and into deep sea caves as you search for Australian fur seals, dolphins, migrating whales and sea birds. Watch little penguins and short-tailed shearwaters return to their burrows from the ocean after dusk on an evening tour with Inala Nature Tours. Other fauna you can expect to see while visiting includes Bennetts wallabies, pademelons, echidnas and wombats. Don't forget to keep your eyes on the ocean for resident dolphins and migrating whales.
Walk the island
Take a multi-day guided walk around Bruny Island hosted by an experienced guide from the Bruny Island Long Weekend tour company. Over three days you'll spot wildlife, sample local produce and sleep in luxury tented accommodation after exploring the island on foot. This all-inclusive guided experience is a great way to sample the best of Bruny's offerings in a relaxed, friendly environment.
Stay the night
After a long day exploring the island you can retire to a bed and breakfast, an intimate cottage, a solar-powered apartment or a rainforest lodge. Soak in the views of Cloudy Bay and the Southern Ocean from a wood-fired hot tub on your private deck at Hundred Acre Hideaway, luxurious, solar-powered accommodation at Lunawanna. Or perhaps you would prefer a taste of country life at Parnella Adventure Bay, a secluded two-bedroom cottage a short stroll to Adventure Bay Beach. If you have simpler tastes, check out Captain Cook Holiday Park, with direct access to Adventure Bay Beach. There you have a choice between self-contained family cabins, one-bedroom villas and camping or caravan sites.
How to get there
Bruny Island sits in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, off the southeast coast of Tasmania - just near the Hobart coastline. It is reached by vehicular ferry which departs regularly from the town of Kettering, about a 40 minute drive south of Hobart. The ferry crossing takes about 20 minutes.