Bruny Island is a great location for a short break in Tasmania, only 35 minutes from Hobart it boasts gourmet delights, scenic bushwalking and lots of birds! We hadn’t planned on visiting during our December 2017 trip, but bad weather meant remote hiking opportunities were off the agenda and it was a brilliant fallback option.
After running training, a breakfast treat at Sweet Envy and shopping for provisions in Hobart; we made the noon ferry across to the island. We were pleasantly surprised that it cost a lot less than the Sealink Ferry to Kangaroo Island – a bargain at only $32 dollars return for the car and passengers! Staying in your car, you can’t really see too much but it’s only a short trip across from Kettering. The crossing was so smooth, I didn’t notice that we had set off until we were almost halfway into the journey!
The island has one main road running north-south and as we were driving to our accommodation, we had to stop at the local cheese company. Even though we already had lunch provision,s you always need cheese for later! The cheese was tasty and we were interested to hear they were allowed to produce Australia’s first unpasteurised cheese.
We kept driving, looking for a good picnic spot but in the end we made it to our accommodation. It was a cosy eco cabin, in the grounds of the main property, with a lovely deck area overlooking Sheep Wash Bay. Running on 240 V DC, there was a small fridge, sink, a shower/bath somewhat in the middle of the room and a wood heater which was nice in the evening. Outside there was a BBQ with wok burner for cooking and it was a short walk to a very clean composting toilet. Another attraction was the very friendly dog, who sat on Mark’s feet during lunch on the deck.
After lunch we headed to Adventure Bay to go bushwalking on the Fluted Cape trail, in South Bruny National Park. It was quite overcast but that was why we were on Bruny Island and not hiking on a mountain somewhere! The walk was a 4km loop, with a gentle start as we walked to Grass Point, then a steep uphill section to admire the Fluted Cape. The loop was completed by descending back to Adventure Bay, and through this section of forest we spotted some echidnas foraging for ants and a white Bennet’s wallaby. The scenery was nice, and of course would have been better on a sunnier day, but the actual Fluted Cape was not as spectacular as some of the geological features of the Tasman Peninsula.
We were about to settle into happy hour (with our recently purchased cheese along with some beer and cider), when the owner of our accommodation came home from work – as a brewer and sour dough baker at the Bruny Island Cheese Company! He showed us around the propery including the lush vegetable garden, hot house and chook pen. We were free to collect eggs and fresh veggies, and we took him up on the offer – picking some peas, chives, kale, parsley and lettuce. There was a fantastic sunset, especially from the viewpoint at the top of the paddock, and we ended the night feasting on barbecued lamb.
The next day we slept in a bit later than expected (daylight savings is good for that at least!). We had our Weetbix for fuel and headed off to the south-western end of the island for trail running on the Labillardiere Peninsula. After completing the gruelling (at times) 17 km circuit we decided to visit Cape Bruny lighthouse, seeing as we were already ‘at the end of the island’. There were nice views of the surrounding bays and some more fluted cliff-like formations. We had a late lunch of fresh scrambled eggs, home grown kale and the last of our bread from Pigeonhole in Hobart.
In the afternoon we decided to do less some less active, ‘foodie’ tourism. We headed to the Bruny Island Chocolate Company to sample their yummy fudge, somehow made room in our stomachs for berry pancakes at the Berry Farm (unfortunately there were not enough ripe berries for pick your own) and then headed to Get Shucked. This oyster farm was incredibly busy, with a huge amount of Chinese tour groups including this as an essential stop in their Bruny itineraries. Due to the crowds, we just bought some fresh oysters to take away.
Although we had driven past The Neck a couple of times already, we hadn’t stopped in to check out the Truganini lookout. After climbing the two hundred plus steps, we were rewarded with a great view of the narrow isthmus connecting what is technically two islands. You really couldn’t appreciate the narrowness of this stretch of sand, until observing it from above. As it was late afternoon, and fairly dark, we had a look for fairy penguins on the surrounding beaches, but to no avail.
It was evening by the time we got back to our cabin, and we walked down to Sheep Wash Bay. Sitting on some old driftwood, on our own private beach, we indulged in the best oysters I’d ever eaten! We’d opted to get a variety of sauces with our oysters – but they were so good au natural, that we didn’t use them. We even did a spot of rock pooling – there were heaps of shells and both red and white anemones. It was a lovely end to a great day!
The last day was much sunnier, and after saying goodbye to our cabin and the friendly dog, we headed back to the The Neck to admire the views in brighter conditions! A lot of other tourists had the same idea, and we waited patiently at the lookout to get the iconic ‘down the stairs’ shot without anyone else in the picture!
We did part of the walk to Cape Queen Elizabeth, turning around at the Miles Beach after appreciating the famous arch. Walking through the scrub, to and from the beach, was also good for spotting birds. Just when I thought we would leave Bruny without seeing them – we were rewarded with some lovely Forty Spotted Pardalotes, one of the 12 Tasmanian endemics.
We had some time before the next ferry departed and drove to the very north of the island. It seemed more rural than the south, where a lot of land is national park or nature reserve. I enjoyed browsing (and buying!) at an art shop at Dennes Point, and we had lunch looking towards mainland Tasmania.
We had really enjoyed our stay on Bruny Island – an island, off an island, off an island! It was a great way to start our Tasmanian holiday and helped us get straight into a relaxing holiday frame of mind.