Bruny Island, located off the southeast coast of Tasmania, Australia, is a beautiful and popular destination for tourists. It is renowned for its stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and delicious local cuisine.
As the island’s ferry in Kettering is only located 32 km from Hobart you can visit the island on a daily trip. The ferry trip is only 20 minutes.
There are plenty of outdoor activities on Bruny Island, such as hiking and wildlife spotting. A definite highlight is white wallabies that can be only spotted here.
If you prefer to stay indoors there are many places where you can indulge yourself in the island’s unique food and wine offerings. This is the place where you can taste the best oysters ever!
In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions people have about Bruny Island, including how to get there, what to do, where to eat, and more.
In the end, we share our experience from our daily trip to the island.
History and Geography of Bruny Island
Bruny Island has a rich history dating back thousands of years, with both Aboriginal and European settlements.
- Aboriginal History: Bruny Island is the traditional land of the Nuenonne people, part of the larger Aboriginal group known as the South East tribe. The island was an important source of food and resources for the Nuenonne people, who fished, hunted, and gathered plants and shellfish from the island’s ecosystems.
- European Settlement: The first European settlement on the island occurred in the early 1800s, with the arrival of sealers and whalers. The island was named after French explorer Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, who explored the area in 1792. In the mid-1800s, the island became a hub for the timber industry, with logging and shipbuilding becoming important economic activities.
Today, Bruny Island is a popular tourist destination, known for its unique geography and diverse ecosystems.
- Geography: Bruny Island is located off the southeastern coast of Tasmania, separated from the mainland by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. The island has a rugged coastline, with towering cliffs, sandy beaches, and rocky outcrops. The island’s diverse ecosystems include wetlands, heathlands, forests, and dunes.
- Landmarks: Some of the island’s most iconic landmarks include the Cape Bruny Lighthouse, the Neck Game Reserve, and the Fluted Cape. The island also has several nature reserves and parks, including the South Bruny National Park and the Inala Private Reserve, which protect the island’s unique flora and fauna.
How to Get to Bruny Island
Bruny Island can be accessed by various modes of transportation, including ferries, private boats, and planes.
- Ferry: The Bruny Island Ferry is the most popular mode of transportation for visitors. It operates from the Kettering ferry terminal, located about 35 minutes drive south of Hobart. The ferry ride takes about 15-20 minutes and departs approximately every half-hour. The ferry can transport cars, bicycles, and passengers. The cost of the ferry ticket varies depending on the type of vehicle and number of passengers, ranging from $10 to $40. Check a schedule and book the Bruny Island Ferry.
- Private Boats: Visitors can also choose to access the island by private boats, either by hiring a private boat or bringing their own. The island has several boat ramps and jetties for private boat access. However, visitors must be aware of the weather and tidal conditions and follow the safety guidelines.
- Plane: Visitors can fly to Bruny Island’s airstrip by chartering a small plane or helicopter from Hobart. The airstrip is located near Adventure Bay, and flights take about 15 minutes. This option is more expensive than other modes of transportation, with prices ranging from $150 to $500 per person.
Weather on Bruny Island
Bruny Island has a temperate maritime climate with four distinct seasons. The island’s weather can be unpredictable, with sudden changes in temperature and rain. Bruny Island weather expectation:
- Summer (December to February): The average temperature during summer on the island is around 21°C, with occasional heat waves. The island receives moderate rainfall during this season, and visitors can expect sunny days with occasional showers.
- Autumn (March to May): The average temperature during autumn on the island is around 16°C. The island experiences cooler temperatures during this season, with occasional rain and fog.
- Winter (June to August): The average temperature during winter on Bruny Island is around 11°C, with occasional frosts and snowfall on higher elevations. The island receives the most rainfall during this season, and visitors can expect chilly and wet weather.
- Spring: The average temperature during spring on the island is around 15°C. The island experiences warmer temperatures during this season, with occasional showers and gusty winds.
To pack and dress appropriately for the weather on Bruny Island, you should bring warm layers, waterproof jackets, and comfortable hiking shoes.
It’s also a good idea to bring sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses for sunny days. It’s important to check the weather forecast before planning any outdoor activities and to be prepared for sudden changes in weather.
Things to Do on Bruny Island
Bruny Island offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages and interests. Here are some of the top things to do on the island:
Food and Wine
The island is renowned for its local cuisine, including fresh seafood, cheese, oysters, and wine. You can take food and wine tours, visit local producers, and sample the island’s delicacies at restaurants and cafes.
I think that Bruny Island oysters have to have a special mention as they are simply fresh and delicious.
Bruny Island is home to a variety of wildlife species, including seals, penguins, dolphins, whales, and a range of birdlife.
Remarkably, Bruny Island is the only place in Australia where you can witness the elusive white wallabies in their natural habitat. These rare creatures have managed to survive here as they did not have natural predators like the Tasmanian tiger.
You can take guided wildlife tours, join seal and penguin observation trips, or visit the Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve to spot these animals in their natural habitats.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Cape Bruny Lighthouse is located at the end of a dirt road to Cape Bruny. It is open to visitors for tours and offers stunning views of the island and its surroundings.
During the guided tour you climb the stairs to reach the top of the lighthouse where you can walk around on the balcony and admire the views of Cloudy Bay and the Tasman Sea. If the weather is clear the views are amazing.
Bruny Island is home to several hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the island’s rugged coastline, towering cliffs, and diverse ecosystems.
The most popular trails include the Cape Queen Elizabeth Walk, the Fluted Cape Walk, and the Labillardiere Peninsula Circuit. You should always check the weather conditions and wear appropriate hiking gear.
Bruny Island has several beautiful beaches, including Adventure Bay, Cloudy Bay, and Alonnah Beach. Visitors can swim, surf, fish, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Best Places to Eat on Bruny Island
Bruny Island is a food lover’s paradise, with a range of restaurants, cafes, and local food experiences. Here are some of the top places to eat on the island:
- Bruny Island Cheese Co.: This award-winning cheese maker produces a range of artisanal cheeses, including soft cheeses, cheddar, and blues. Visitors can sample the cheeses and enjoy a cheese platter with local wines at the on-site cafe. The cafe also serves wood-fired pizzas, soups, and sandwiches. Prices for cheese platters start at $20.
- Get Shucked Oysters: the island is renowned for its fresh oysters, and Get Shucked Oysters is the place to go for a true oyster experience. Visitors can enjoy freshly shucked oysters at the on-site bar, with a range of toppings and accompaniments. Prices start at $18 for a dozen oysters.
- The Jetty Cafe: Located in the small township of Alonnah, The Jetty Cafe offers a range of breakfast and lunch options, with a focus on local and organic ingredients. The cafe serves coffee, cakes, sandwiches, and salads, as well as cooked breakfast options. Prices start at $10.
- Bruny Island Premium Wines: This family-owned vineyard produces a range of premium wines, including pinot noir, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc. Visitors can sample the wines and enjoy a platter of local cheeses and cured meats at the on-site cellar door. Prices for wine tastings start at $5.
Wildlife on Bruny Island
Bruny Island is home to a diverse range of wildlife, from seals and penguins to dolphins and whales. Here are some of the top wildlife species to look out for on the island:
- White wallabies: The Bennett’s Wallaby on the island have a genetic defect causing them to be albino. This makes them vulnerable to predators and diseases, but since there are no predators on the island and locals find them cute, they are able to survive. These unique wallabies can only be found on the island. If you have a 4WD car, go for a forest drive and there is a good chance you can spot one.
- Seals: There are two species of seals that can be seen on Bruny Island – the Australian fur seal and the New Zealand fur seal. They can often be seen basking on rocks or swimming in the water around the island. The best places to spot seals on Bruny Island are at the Neck Game Reserve and Adventure Bay.
- Penguins: Little penguins, also known as fairy penguins, can be found on the island. These small, cute birds can be seen waddling along the beaches or nesting in burrows. The best time to see penguins is at dusk when they return from fishing in the ocean to their nesting sites. You can take guided penguin tours or visit the South Bruny National Park to spot them.
- Dolphins: Several species of dolphins can be seen around the island, including bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, and the occasional dusky dolphin. They can often be seen swimming and playing in the waters around the island, especially in Adventure Bay.
- Whales: Bruny Island is a great place for whale watching, with several species of whales passing by during their annual migration. The best time to see whales is between May and October, with humpback and southern right whales being the most commonly spotted species.
Overnight Stays on Bruny Island
Bruny Island offers a range of accommodation options for visitors, from campsites and cabins to lodges and holiday homes.
There are several campsites on the island, including the Cloudy Bay Campground, Adventure Bay Campground, and Jetty Beach Campground.
These campsites offer basic facilities, such as toilets and BBQ areas, and are located in scenic spots around the island. Prices start at around $12 per person per night. Interestingly you don’t have to book your camping spot.
Bruny Island has several cabin and cottage options, such as the Two Tree Point Cottage and the Bruny Island Escapes.
These cabins offer more privacy and comfort than campsites, with kitchen facilities, heating, and sometimes even outdoor hot tubs. Prices start at around $150 per night.
There are several luxury lodge options on the island, such as the Bruny Island Lodge and the Inala Nature Tours. These lodges offer high-end amenities, such as spas, gourmet dining, and guided tours of the island’s natural attractions. Prices for lodges start at around $300 per night.
Some of the best places to stay on the island are Adventure Bay Retreat, Bruny Island Escapes, and the Bruny Island Lodge. These accommodation options offer a range of amenities and locations and are popular among visitors for their comfort and convenience.
Time to Spend on Bruny Island
The amount of time you want to spend on Bruny Island depends on your interests and the activities you want to experience. Here are some suggestions for how much time to spend on the island, based on the highlights and activities:
If you are short on time you can still experience some of the island’s highlights on a day trip.
A day trip allows you to see the island’s stunning scenery, visit Cape Bruny Lighthouse, sample local cuisine, and even spot some wildlife.
The most popular day trip itinerary involves taking the ferry from Kettering in the morning, driving to the island’s attractions, and returning to the mainland in the evening.
Visitors who have 2-3 days to spend on Bruny Island can experience more of the island’s attractions, including hiking trails, wildlife tours, and beach activities.
This duration allows you to take a more leisurely pace and enjoy the island’s laid-back atmosphere.
During your stay can also explore some of the island’s lesser-known attractions, such as the Quarantine Station or the Berry Farm.
Those who have 4-5 days to spend on Bruny Island can truly immerse themselves in the island’s culture, history, and natural beauty.
This duration allows for taking part in more activities, such as guided tours, food and wine experiences, and kayaking or fishing trips.
You can also explore other parts of the island, such as the South Bruny National Park or the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
Bruny Island – Our Experience
What we learn from our visit is the island is still in pristine condition. It is due to the limited development allowed on the island. There are a few established businesses that are the main attraction for tourists.
We really hoped to taste the oysters and compare them with those we eat in Queensland.
The trip lasted around 10 hours, and believe me – we were exhausted.
We were picked up from Tasmanian Travel & Information Centre at 7 am. This pickup can be organised from other locations in Hobart, so it is indeed very convenient for people that don’t have a car.
#1 Bruny Island Ferry at Kettering
Bruny Island Ferry runs every 20 minutes, so theoretically you don’t need to book it. At the ferry, there is a small cafe and it is usually enough time to grab tea or coffee before your 20 minutes trip to the island.
#2 Picking up Fresh Oysters
The good part about this guided trip and something we were really counting on was tasting the fresh, juicy oysters from the oysters’ hatchery.
Our guide, Jeff, stopped at Oystersbay Restaurant to get some for our morning tea.
#3 Picking up Local Produce
Another stop was at the Bruny Island Cheese Company to get us some bread and cheese for our break.
#4 Truganini Lookout at The Neck
The Neck is a narrow strip of land between the northern and southern parts of the island that holds the road and beaches on the west (Isthmus Bay) and east (Adventure Bay).
Right at the northern part of the Neck, there is Truganini Lookout which is located on the hill and accessible by 200 stairs.
What can we say, the views are unbelievable.
#5 Adventure Bay Beach Morning Tea
After walking all the stairs at Truganini Lookout we deserved a nice break and no place could be better than Adventure Bay Beach with crystal clear waters.
Jeff gave us some time to explore the surroundings and after 15 minutes our lunch was ready.
The oysters were amazing: fresh, juicy and full of flavour. Those combined with the bread and different types of the cheese complemented our break nicely.
#6 Searching for White Wallabies
After the morning tea, we went for a short drive to look for white wallabies but unfortunately, we were not lucky.
#7 Cape Bruny Lighthouse
On the way to Cape Bruny Lighthouse, we placed our lunch orders at Bruny Hotel so it will be ready on the way back.
The lighthouse is located and the end of the dirt road at Cape Bruny. The entrance and guided lighthouse tour were already part of our fee, so after a short walk from the car park, we were able to enter the lighthouse and enjoy the views.
At the bottom of the hill, there is a small museum that is full of stories about the three keeper families that were residing there in the old days.
It is also possible to go for a short hike to Lighthouse Bay.
#8 Bruny Hotel Lunch
Our pre-ordered lunch at Bruny Hotel was ready. We had the opportunity to taste a local cider.
Interestingly, some local was enjoying the warm weather and having a swim in Sunset Bay waters. You must know that the waters around Tasmania are very cold – usually not more than 15 degrees. Brave people!
#9 Bruny Island Chocolate Co
On the way back, we stopped at the Chocolate Factory. Jeff prepared some tasting for us and after trying some chocolate, fudges and sweets we headed back to the ferry.
#10 Bruny Island Honey
Truly, this trip has everything in it. This time we stopped to taste some honey at Bruny Island Honey.
At the shop, there is a live bee tunnel where you can see the insides of the honeycomb filled with working bees.
Another attraction was the white honey that we did not see before.
#11 Bruny Island Cheese Company
It is a small restaurant and shop where you can taste and buy different types of Bruny Island cheese. Also, another part of the business is local craft beer.
#12 Getting some cherries
Bruny Island is famous for its cherries. Conveniently there is a small cherry stall just before the ferry where you can get some cherries on the way home.
It was already around 4.30 pm, but that was not even close to the sunset. You must know that sunset in Tasmania during summer time is very late, at around 9 pm.
We arrived in Hobart at 5.30 pm.
Bruny Island Summary
In summary, Bruny Island is a beautiful and unique destination located off the southeastern coast of Tasmania, Australia.
There are so many attractions to explore. During our one-day trip, we visited so many places, and we really regretted we did not have our own car to explore even more.
The island’s diverse ecosystems and rich history make it a fascinating place to explore, with landmarks such as the Cape Bruny Lighthouse and the Truganini Lookout at the Neck Game Reserve.
We really encourage anyone to visit and experience the island’s natural beauty, wildlife, and local culture.
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