It’s got deserted beaches, magical walks and some of Tasmania’s best local produce in spades. If you haven’t seen Bruny Island, consider this epic list of things to do as your sign to get here ASAP.
Bruny Island – the traditional lands of the Nuenonne people – lies south of Hobart, separated from the rest of Tassie by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. More like a set of twins than a single child, Lunawanna-Allonah (as Bruny Island is known in the local Aboriginal language) has a north and south island, joined in the middle by a narrow strip of land called ‘The Neck’.
Bruny Island is joined by a narrow strip of land called The Neck. (Image: Jess Bonde)
Today, Bruny Island only has roughly a thousand residents. But despite the small numbers, you better believe there are plenty of things to do here (but you can stuff a fair few of them into a day trip if you absolutely have to). So what do you need to know about going to Bruny? Never fear. Before you hop onto that ferry, we’ve laid out the best things to do on Bruny Island below.
1. Eat oysters at Get Shucked Bruny Island
Devour oysters just across the road from the ocean they came from at this locally owned oyster farm and restaurant. It’s as fresh as they come at this oyster bar, so stop off for lunch on a day trip for a delectable plate of cheap, plump, Bruny Island oysters. In a rush? Get Shucked has a handy drive-through too (making it that little bit easier to make your way through the list of top restaurants and foodie experiences on the island).
No time to stop? No worries. (Image: Adam Gibson)
2. Devour a platter at Bruny Island Cheese Company
Calling all platter fans. Whether you’re just after coffee and cake or wine paired with cheese, Bruny Island Cheese Company is the place for you.
Indulge in a platter at Bruny Island Cheese Co. (Image: Adam Gibson)
Specialising in tasting boards from just $5 for a board of artisanal cheeses like the oozy ‘Saint’ cheese or nutty raw milk cheese, as well as locally brewed beers, the Bruny Island Cheese Company is a must for turophiles (AKA cheese lovers). Bonus points: the cafe is dog-friendly, with delightful outdoor seating under the trees.
Let the afternoon unfold slowly in the outdoor area at Bruny Island Cheese Co. (Image: Tourism Australia)
3. Visit the Bruny Island Raspberry Farm
Pick ripe, delicious berries down at Bruny Island Raspberry Farm in Adventure Bay! While fruit picking is only available at certain times of the year (keep your eye out for the picking season dates), you and the family can also stop by their cafe for sweet treats like sticky jam, fresh raspberry crepes and homemade sauces.
Devour raspberries in a variety of delicious forms on Bruny Island.
4. Treat yourself to Bruny Island Honey (and chocolate)
Along with berries, honey and chocolate are the sweet treats of choice on the Tasmanian Island. Stop by Bruny Island Honey for a taste of the sweet life that goes beyond your wildest imaginings, like honeycombs, bush and floral honey.
Sample the goods at Bruny Island Honey. (Image: Tourism Australia)
The bees themselves travel around the island, following the nectar of various flowers, and even pollinating a local cherry orchard. Watch them hard at work as you devour a bowl of honey ice cream. More of a chocolate fan? Bruny Island Chocolate Company has your back.
Stock up on quality chocolate at Bruny Island Chocolate Company. (Image: Tourism Australia)
6. Stop by The Bruny Island Bread Fridge
The Bruny Island Bread Fridge is literally just that. A retro fridge loaded up with fresh hot bread straight from the ovens of the Bruny Baker, down on Sheepwash Road. The only thing you need to complete a beachside picnic? A few coins in the honesty box next to it, and some raspberry jam.
Get your fresh hot bread straight from the ovens of the Bruny Baker in the roadside fridge. (Image: James Vodicka)
7. Take a Bruny Island food tour
There are all kinds of tours to try on Bruny Island but if you want to experience much of the above with a local, then Bruny Island Safari Tours offers the full package with their Bruny Island Foods, Sightseeing and Lighthouse Tour.
Starting from Hobart, not only will you explore the Mount Mangana rainforests looking for the elusive white wallaby and scale the stairs of the Bruny Island Lighthouse, but you’ll also dine on oysters, cheese, salmon, whiskey … and all the other culinary treats that Bruny Island is famous for.
Dine on fresh oysters while on a Bruny Island food tour. (Image: Tourism Australia)
8. A tasting at Bruny Island House of Whisky
In a state famous for its craft whisky industry, stop by the Bruny Island House of Whisky for a dram or two. With over 150 Tasmanian single malts to try, sip on yours by the property’s open fire.
Stop by the Bruny Island House of Whisky for a dram or two. (Image: Adam Gibson)
9. Take a Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise
Wrap up warm to travel the Tasman Sea around Bruny Island with Bruny Island Wilderness Cruises by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. Departing Adventure Bay, over three hours you’ll gaze up at towering stacks, explore sea caves and spot marine life that includes frolicking fur seals, sea birds like shearwaters and migrating whales.
Travel the Tasman Sea onboard a cruise with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. (Image: Seam Scott)
10. Tour Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Built back in 1836, the Bruny Island Lighthouse is the only one you can tour in southern Tasmania. Overlooking Cape Bruny and the churning waters below, it was manned for over 150 years before being decommissioned in the nineties. Today, pay a small fee to ascend the cast iron stairs with Cape Bruny Lighthouse Tours to hear its long history.
Take in the views over Cape Bruny from the lighthouse. (Image: Tourism Australia)
11. Educate yourself at Bruny Island Quarantine Station
Back when people around the world would undertake immensely long journeys to get to Australia, humans had a fear of pandemics that we may now recognise today. This resulted in the creation of quarantine stations for the Australian states, and Tasmania was no different.
Throughout the years, the Bruny Island Quarantine Station at Barnes Bay has been used as a state quarantine against infectious diseases like typhoid, an internment camp during the world wars and even as a quarantine for plants. Visit today to learn more.
12. Look for the white wallaby at Adventure Bay
While it’s calm and sheltered for swimming, a lot of people you see at Adventure Bay are in fact on the lookout for the wild white wallaby. Named for the genetic mutation that has turned its fur white, they are surprisingly hard to spot due to their small numbers. But you’ll have fun trying with the family!
If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the white wallaby around Adventure Bay.
13. Surfing at Cloudy Bay
Home to the Bruny Island Surf Classic, Cloudy Bay is your one-stop shop for surfing while on Bruny Island. Catch a wave of the northern end, or, if you would prefer a more sedate swim, head to its southern end. If you’re staying the night, there are two campsites to choose from.
Cloudy Bay is a superb beach for a surf or swim. (Image: Jess Bonde)
14. Camping on Bruny Island
Speaking of picking a place to sling your swag, Bruny Island has plenty of camping spots to choose from, particularly in the South Bruny National Park. As well as Cloudy Bay, there are sites at Jetty Beach and The Neck. Got your woofer with you? Try Captain Cook Caravan Park, which is dog-friendly.
Cloudy Bay has some great camping spots. (Image: Jess Bonde)
15. Jump on a Bruny Island Scenic Flight
Why get a ferry when you can take to the skies? Soar over the magnificent beaches, bushland, the Bruny Island lighthouse and the slender Neck when you book in with Island Scenic Flights. If you want to take things up a notch you can also arrange a flight by Mt Wellington and Hobart or even a flight over the Southern Wilderness Area, afterwards.
16. Truganini Memorial and The Neck Lookout hike
You won’t be short on stunning hikes to choose from on Bruny Island, but exploring The Neck by foot is something extra special. This short 0.3-kilometre return track is moderate in nature and 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, the Indigenous clan originally from Bruny Island.
Hike to The Neck Lookout. (Image: Jess Bonde)
There is also a game reserve here, which is home to short-tailed shearwaters and little ‘fairy’ penguins. If you’re lucky enough to be here between September and February, come here at dusk to watch them toddle back to their homes.
17. Grass Point and Fluted Cape hike
The easy hike Grass Point Walk is the shorter version of the longer, more challenging Fluted Cape Walk. If your pick is the family-friendly Grass Point (4-kilometre return, and a reasonably flat track), start by heading over to South Bruny National Park, before embarking from Adventure Bay. Keep your eye out for the elusive white wallaby, as well as southern right whales when the season is right.
Pass by Adventure Bay while on the Grass Point hike. (Image: Tourism Australia)
Feeling more ambitious? The Fluted Cape track (6.3-kilometre) involves climbing the gulch, up to Fluted Cape, for jaw-dropping clifftop lookouts over the water.
18. Join a guided walking tour
Rather be guided through the wilderness? Bruny Island Safaris offers a day tour, overnight experience, bushwalking tour and lighthouse tour, and The Tasmanian Walking Company have a luxurious three-day and 35-km Bruny Island Long Weekend Walk on offer.
Challenge yourself on the 35-km Bruny Island Long Weekend Walk. (Image: Tourism Australia)