The Best Things to do on Bruny Island!
Bruny Island, it’s a place of bountiful produce, rare wildlife, rainforest and windswept beaches. The extraordinary beauty of the island has attracted a unique band of artisans who use Bruny Island’s pure environment to craft and grow some of Tasmania’s finest foods. With a population of just 700 permanent residents, Bruny Island was, for many years, Tasmania’s best-kept secrets. Putting together a list of the best things to do on Bruny Island is a difficult task and this list is by no means exhaustive but here are a few of the best things to do on Bruny Island...
Getting To Bruny Island
Although the northern tip of Bruny Island is only about 20km down the river from Hobart and you could paddle a kayak across the narrow d'Entrecasteaux (less than 2km in many places) pretty comfortably, exploring Bruny Island does take a little planning. There is no public transport so you will need to bring your own vehicle or join a tour. It's worth checking with your hire car company as not all companies allow travel to Bruny Island due to the ferry crossing and gravel roads. If you are planning on bringing your own car, you first need to find your way to Kettering, which is about a 40-minute drive south of Hobart.
The Bruny Island Ferry operates about every hour in winter (April - September) and half-hourly in summer. The ferry can be extremely busy, with delays of several hours at peak times. A new operator has taken over the service and a booking system is being slowly introduced. If you are stuck for conversation with a local, ask their opinion on the new ferry service. It has been a source of heated debate as this ferry is Bruny Island's only link to the mainland and an important part of the local way of life.
We suggest allowing a couple of days to truly explore Bruny Island. Enabling you to travel outside of peak times and slow to the Bruny way of life. If you do want to skip the queue, we offer small group island walking and food experiences, which includes using our own private boat and enjoying a spectacular 45-minute journey from the Hobart waterfront to Bruny Island.
Where to Eat
Bruny’s local produce is exceptional. The cool, clean waters that surround Bruny island support an abundance of life including crayfish, abalone, salmon and oysters. On land there are a number of well-known producers making cheese, growing wine, olives and berries, making fudge and farming pigs, goats, sheep and wallabies. One of the best things to do on Bruny Island is to grab a hamper full of local produce and have a picnic. Here are few places you should not miss:
Get Shucked Oyster Farm: Stop in and see the team and try some of Bruny Island's famous oysters. The cute little caravan that served up their oysters is now gone and in its place is a brand-new oyster bar. You can sit and have a glass of sparkling as you eat oysters that were pulled out of the water in front of you and processed in the shed behind you
Bruny Island Cheese Company: This little artisan cheese company has really helped put Bruny on the map. The cheeses are all made and matured using traditional techniques and are some of the finest artisan cheeses made in Australia. If you can't make it to Bruny Island, get on board cheese club and have it sent to you wherever you are. In 2016 they started brewing beer in a brewery they built directly behind the cheesery. You may never want to leave this property
The Jetty Café: If you are looking for the best coffee on the island, you will have to journey north, in fact as far north as you can possibly go on this island to the sleepy little community of Dennes Point. Kris is a wizard on the coffee machine and Ray is a genius in the kitchen. A passionate duo! Make sure you check out the attached gallery while you are there called Art at the Point which features predominately Bruny Island artists.
Bruny Island Premium Wines: With all the good food on Bruny Island, it would be a shame if there were no wine to enjoy it with. Being the most southerly vineyard in Australia means a long, slow ripening season and fruit that is bursting with flavour. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the specialities here so either grab a bottle to take with you or stay and enjoy a fantastic lunch. We recommend booking in the summer season, they sure are popular
Bruny Island Berry Farm: Tucked away in a corner of Adventure Bay on a 12-hectare property is a berry farm with a gift shop and cafe featuring all things berries. After overindulging on their range of sweets and coffee, take a stroll on the lovely little beach just in front
Bruny Island House of Whisky: Whisky lovers, look no further, it's all here. Just a couple of minutes after you drive off the ferry it will appear on your right-hand side. It's unlikely you will visit all of the Tasmanian distilleries but don't worry, you will find the best representation of Tassie Whisky under one roof here including the rare ‘Trappers Hut’ 15-year-old, Limited Single Cask Release
Hotel Bruny: Hotel Bruny can pretty confidently lay claim to being the best pub on Bruny but this is anything but your average pub. A great range of food and drinks to be enjoyed in front of the log fire in the winter or on the deck in summer with views across the d'Entrecasteaux channel. They have a range of accommodation as well
Where to stay
There is a huge variety of accommodation on Bruny Island. Far too many to list here. There are guest houses, camping spots and AirBnBs but no hotel chains! If you are looking for something a little bit fancy, check out the spectacular range of options from our friends at Bruny Island Coastal Retreats. They are a great organisation, committed to preserving and giving back to Bruny Island.
Our own little patch of paradise is 100 acres a little haven that represents the perfect place to retreat. Surrounded by towering Eucalypts and blackwood trees, our private reserve supports an abundance of endemic Tasmanian birdlife and marsupials. With most of our days spent in wild, powerful, coastal places, our camp is a sanctuary we can return to at the end of each day, as we change to a more introspective focus gathering around the fire in the dining room and sharing food and stories from the day. Although the camp has been built completely ‘off the grid’, we are not without our creature comforts. Each tent contains a king-size bed with quality linen and the highlight, for many guests, is our hot outdoor shower, tucked away on one of the most beautiful parts of the property
You could spend a week on Bruny Island ticking off all the walks and still have places left to explore. There are walks to cater to all abilities, which will take you through varied terrain including beaches, rocky headlands, bush trails and rainforest. Here are a few of our favourites:
- East Cloudy Head: 4-6 hours return. Walk the length of Cloudy Bay beach before climbing onto the headland for spectacular views of South Bruny and The Friars.
- Mavista Falls track: 30 minutes return. If you only have a short amount of time, this little walk is one of the best things to do on Bruny Island. A gentle stroll through mixed forest where you can see many of Tasmania's rainforest species including sassafras, mrytle and celery top pine. Don't get your hopes up for a waterfall though, it\'s more of a \"cascade\". A great little walk for finding a few of the more elusive Tasmanian endemic birds
- Fluted Cape: 3 hours return. Wander out to Penguin Island and explore the site of an old whaling station before climbing to the top of Fluted Cape. Beware of the 272m drop to the water below
- Mt Mangana: 1-2 hours return. For the peak baggers, this is a must. An easy walk to the highest point on Bruny Island (571m). Dont be disheartened when you reach the top, there is a spectacular view but you will have to do some searching to find the opening through the scrub. A great walk if you are keen on your flora
- Slide Track: 3-4 hours one way. Not for the fainthearted. This walk follows an abandoned tramway used to transport logs to the old mill site in Adventure Bay. The rewards are there but if there has been any rain, be prepared for leaches
If you would like to be guided by a local and find all the secret spots consider checking out our Bruny Island Long Weekend
We would argue that Bruny Island is the best place in Tasmania for birdwatching and so a worthy inclusion amongst the best things to do on Bruny Island. There are 12 species that are endemic to Tasmania (found nowhere else on earth) and all 12 of these species can be found on Bruny Island. The rarest of these is the 40 spotted pardalote. This tiny little bird is restricted to just 7 colonies in eastern Tasmania with the largest of these colonies being on Bruny Island. In addition to the endemics, Over 140 species of bird either live or visit the island. Grab some binoculars and go for a walk or board a boat and head into the Southern Ocean to search for albatross and mutton birds. Hardcore bird watchers need to get in touch with Inala Nature Tours for personalised, expert bird watching tours of Bruny Island.
Bruny Island has almost 300km of coastline with numerous beaches and points that can be surfed. The western side of Bruny Island is relatively sheltered as it faces the d'Entrecasteaux channel, while it\'s southern and eastern side are exposed to the Tasman Sea and The Southern Ocean. In the right conditions, one of the best things to do on Bruny Island is to sit back and watch a big swell roll in from Antarctica to the south and crash ashore at Cape Bruny. Pick of the spots are Cloudy Bay, Mabel Bay and Coal Point
Bruny Island Cruise
This is another amazing local business that has put Bruny Island on the map. You’ll journey below some of the highest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere while keeping an eye out for migrating whales, playful dolphins and the ever-present colonies of lively fur seals. There is simply not enough space to list all their awards and achievements here but they include winning the best tourist attraction in Australia last year
The Bruny Island Long Weekend
The Bruny Island Long Weekend is a luxury three-day guided walking tour which takes you from Tasmania’s capital city Hobart, via private boat to Bruny Island. A maximum of 8 guests are treated to coastal walks, produce directly from the source, luxury camping and exquisite meals