March 10, 2023
6 mins Read
It might once have been one of Tasmania’s long-held best-kept secrets, but today, travelling to Bruny Island is incredibly easy. Lunawanna-Alonnah (as it is known in the local Aboriginal language), juts out on the southeast coast of Tasmania and is just a 40-minute drive and a short ferry ride from the capital of Hobart.
This makes it a popular holiday escape for any rambler who wants to spend a day or two exploring the towering dolerite cliffs, magnificent coastline, foodie haunts and unique wildlife found here. So strap on your gaiters: here are the best walks to be found on the twin island.
Distance: 2.1-kilometre return
Starting at the Mavista Picnic area, this well-maintained track takes you into the heart of the Tasmanian rainforest, via a path that follows Waterfall Creek. Hike past trees like blackwoods and stringybarks, and the verdant ferns that spring up along the pathway.
The gully can be particularly wet (particularly after rainfall), so wear sealed boots and keep an eye out for pesky leeches and parts of the track that are unsealed. It is advised not to go beyond the main trail and onwards to the waterfall, due to the comparative difficulty.
Distance: 3.5 kilometres (or seven-kilometre return)
Your starting point for this coastal bushland hike will be the Alonnah Jetty, a common spot for keen fishers dangling a line for flathead.
From there, it is a flat 3.5-kilometre walk along to the Sheepwash Bay outlook, taking old settlement tracks past banksia, towering eucalyptus trees and boobialla, as well as an old sawyers camp at the creek. This is approximately a one- to two-hour walk.
Distance: 0.3 kilometres
Named after an Aboriginal woman who was local to the Bruny Island area, the Truganini Memorial is a lookout and memorial to the Nuenonne people, an Indigenous clan originally from Bruny Island. It is located on the lookout point on the Bruny Island Neck.
Elsewhere, the Neck is home to a game reserve, where you might spot little (also known as a fairy) penguins at dusk returning home, particularly from September to February.
The walk itself is only 300 metres there and back but involves a 279-step climb. Keep an eye out for short-tailed shearwaters, who also call this ‘neck of the woods’ home.
Distance: four-kilometre return
Head to South Bruny National Park for this coastal walk that takes in some of the island’s best views over 1.5 hours. Often touted as the easier route than the longer Fluted Cape Walk, the Grass Point hike starts at Adventure Bay.
Take a long look around at Adventure Bay for the elusive Bruny Island white wallaby, before setting out on the flat, family-friendly walk (which you’re advised to take in an anticlockwise direction). Don’t forget to keep an eye out for southern right whales off the coast during migration season, too!
Distance: 6.3-kilometre return
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Alternatively, you can take the more challenging Fluted Cape Walk, which has steep, trickier sections over the 2.5 hours it takes to traverse it. But if you can manage it, those cliff-top lookouts over the water make it well worth it.
Like Grass Point, the walk also starts at Adventure Bay. Once you’re past Grass Point, climb the gulch up to Fluted Cape for the jaw-dropping views. Take note that the loop can be rather slippery after rain – so pack good shoes, and take care.
Rather go with the professionals? Pennicott Journeys offers a walking tour from Hobart, which includes the ferry crossing and morning tea.
Distance: 35 kilometres
If you want to do a walk with all the trimmings, we have to suggest The Bruny Island Long Weekend Walk. The Tasmanian Walking Company will guide you 35 kilometres over three days, taking in capes, beaches and the ancient Gondwanan rainforest.
But believe us: it’s not rough going. From shucking Tasmanian oysters in water to other stand-outs that make for the best of Tasmanian food, and nightly glamping on a retreat, this is a luxe Tassie wilderness experience to a tee.
If you want some history with your strolling, mosey around the grounds of the Cape Bruny Lighthouse in the southwest of the island. Built in 1836, this lighthouse is the only one you can tour in southern Tasmania.
So get your cardio in, and climb up the tower with your guide. There you will hear about the fascinating history of the lighthouse keepers, shipwrecks and convict life, before taking the short track down to the beach. You’ll pass two unknown grave sites on the way, as well as a stone wall that demarcates an old vegetable patch.
Distance: 12.6-kilometre return
While this Great Bay walk might seem long, it often only takes people three hours to complete. Start at the Bruny Island airstrip, before heading down to the coast. The path from there is flat but can be a bit overgrown, and long pants are recommended. However, the views over the Neck and the rock formations at Mars Bluff are well worth it.
There during low tide? You can go via the coast below Mars Bluff to Miles Beach to snap a photo of the magnificent stone arch down there. Just make sure to check the time of the tides first!
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