Want to have an outstanding 12 hours in Tasmania? Spend them exploring the rocky coastlines and magnificent cuisine of Bruny Island, of course.
If you’re after an unforgettable day trip from Hobart, look no further than Bruny Island, also known as Lunawanna-Alonnah. It might only take an hour to get there, but you couldn’t feel further from the city by the time you’ve caught the 20-minute ferry over the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and begun exploring its rugged landscapes and white sand beaches.
Soak up scenic views on top of Lighthouse Bay. (Image: Adam Gibson)
A day trip to Bruny Island is very doable, due in part to its driveability and short distance from the mainland. But if you want to get the full-blown Bruny experience (relaxation, and time away from the hustle and bustle, included), we’d recommend staying overnight.
But if you’ve only got one day — and would rather DIY than set out on a guided tour (although we’ve rounded up nine of the best tours if you change your mind) — here is the perfect 12-hour itinerary for you.
6:00 am, Hobart
Rise and shine, sleepy heads! You’ll want to get up early to make the most out of a day on Bruny Island. You should have fuelled up the day before as there is only one station where you can get petrol on the island, and you don’t want to waste any time filling up. Hit the road by 6:40 am to make sure you’re at the southern town of Kettering where the ferry leaves from well ahead of time.
7:20 am, Kettering
You’ve arrived at the ferry terminal, with plenty of time to buy a ticket from the kiosk if you didn’t already purchase one online. Once there, an attendant will usher you up to park onboard, for that 7:50 departure across the water. (Check the timetable here.)
If you’re still a bit nervous when it comes to catching the ferry, we’ve got a handy how-to guide here.
Catch the early morning ferry at Kettering Terminal. (Image: Adam Gibson)
8:10 am, Roberts Point on Bruny Island
Arrival at the island. Now your adventure truly starts! If you haven’t had that sweet, sweet caffeine hit yet, grab one now at the cafe here. You’ll be setting off in your car down south next, before heading up again to see the sights.
8:35 am, The Neck Game Reserve and Truganini lookout
Arrive at the Neck Game Reserve, on the thin strip of land that connects the north and south islands. In spring and summer, this is home to the little or fairy penguin, the smallest penguin in the world. Come evening, you might see them walking back to their nests — it’s the loveliest sight.
The Neck connects the north and south islands of Bruny Island. (Image: Jess Bonde)
But you’re here in the day, so make quick sticks and scale the Truganini steps to the lookout, for amazing views of this part of Bruny Island. Named for an Aboriginal woman named Truganini, who was originally from the area, this part of the island has a memorial to the Nuenonne people, the original inhabitants of the island.
Hike to the The Neck Lookout. (Image: Jess Bonde)
10:00 am, Bruny Island Baker, Sheepwash Road
Is that your tummy rumbling that we hear? If you couldn’t face breakfast so early back in Hobart, and you’ve now got a craving for your first taste of fresh Bruny Island produce, head south from the Neck. Next, stop by at the corner of Sheepwash Road and Bruny Island Main Road. Here you’ll be surprised to spot a rather out-of-place retro fridge.
The Bruny Baker offers freshly baked sourdough. (Image: James Vodicka)
But the real shock is when you open it … only to find a stack of fresh loaves. Take what you like, just remember to drop some money in the honesty box, and thank John, the Bruny Island Baker who stocks up here every day, under your breath.
Alternatively, the homey Lunawanna Store serves up a delectable selection of vegetarian pies and coffees. It’ll be a little while till lunch, so no need to hold back when here.
Grab a bite of these delectable muffins. (Image: Tourism Tasmania/Rob Burnett)
11:00 am, Cape Bruny Lighthouse
You’ve arrived at the far south of the island to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse, Australia’s second oldest lighthouse that is still in existence. For $15, book a 30-minute tour of this convict-built wonder, and hear all about the history of the area. And yes — that does include scaling the tower to the top. Head off by 11:45 for your next destination.
The Cape Bruny Lighthouse is a beguiling sight to see. (Image: Tourism Tasmania/Rob Burnett)
12:30 pm, Adventure Bay
While a stop by Adventure Bay does add a bit of time to the trip, it’s well worth it if you have your heart set on seeing one of the island’s famous white wallabies. They are incredibly sweet but surprisingly hard to spot as there are only around 200 of these rare creatures on the island. Still — here is considered the best place to see them.
If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the white wallaby around Adventure Bay.
If you want to get a hike in while searching for the elusive marsupial, we’d recommend Grass Point. At four kilometres return, it is flat and family-friendly and will take you around an hour and a half to complete if you do the whole thing. (Got time for more walks? We’ve lined up some great hikes to do on Bruny Island)
Pack your bags and prepare for a hike. (Image: Tourism Australia/Graham Freeman)
2:20 pm, Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co.
If by now the bread is a distant memory, it’s time to undertake the island’s other great activity — eating! Drive back to the North Island for a well-deserved long lunch at Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co.
Cheese and beer are always a good pair. (Image: Tourism Australia)
They do $5 flights that feature their artisan cheese, which includes aromatic raw milk saffron cheese, oozing, aged ‘Saint’ cheeses and the semi-hard, herb-y ‘Nanna’s Undies’ cheese (maybe ask about the name when you’re there).
They are also collaborating with the island’s beer company, meaning you can enjoy the best of both worlds while sitting out under the trees at their cellar door. And make sure you pay attention to how much beer you try if you’re the deso driver.
Check out their locally produced artisan cheese. (Image: Tourism Australia)
3:55 pm, Get Shucked
You’re now well and truly into the feasting portion of the day (and if you have more than 12 hours here, here are our other top food experiences). Want to take a bit of that Bruny Island taste back to Tassie? Then it’s time for a cheeky drive-through — but something a thousand miles from your average Maccas run, at Get Shucked.
Dive in a bucket full of oysters. (Image: Tourism Tasmania/Rob Burnett)
An oyster restaurant and drive-through where the oysters are so fresh because the bar is, in fact, connected to the farm. Inside the licensed venue, you can order a dozen raw-dressed oysters for $29, as well as cooked options. If you’d rather opt for the ‘to-go’ option, buy shucked or closed and live oysters from the drive-through. They even have shucking knives for a DIY picnic.
Note, Get Shucked closes by 4:30 pm. So if you’re keen, watch the clock in order not to miss out.
Wine is best paired with freshly plated oysters. (Image: Adam Gibson)
4:15 pm, Bruny Island Honey
Still got that sugar craving this long after lunch? If you haven’t been defeated by the cheese, any oysters you might have snaffled, or you’re simply a sucker for dessert, Bruny Island Honey is just a couple of minutes up the road. Home to some veritable busy bees who travel all over the island throughout the year, they produce a range of flavours, like bush honey.
You can see the bees hard at work in their hives, before giving in to the free tastings available at their cafe. Try a bowl of homemade Leatherwood honey ice cream, and take away something from their range of beeswax products for a souvenir.
Bruny Island Honey is a must-try. (Image: Tourism Australia)
5:10 pm, Roberts Point Bruny Island
Sorry folks: it’s time to head home. Clutching your bags of goodies, and making sure those oysters are still well-iced, head back to the ferry and wave goodbye to the island as it departs at 5:30 pm. If you’d like to stay a little longer, get up shop with those shucking knives and have a beachside picnic before the last ferry leaves.