Bruny Island is a small island off the south east coast of the big Tassie island. Bruny has a bit of “Californication” about it. I’ll call it “Brunyfication”, that’ll do. It has its own state of mind. The troubles of the real world fade into obscurity while I am are there.
Time to get my Bruny on. Seatbelt is on! Leggo!
Catching the 8.30 ferry meant waking up waaaay too early on a Saturday morning, but it’s a dirty job and someone’s gotta do it. My mate Charlie and I make the early morning drive down to the quietness of Kettering, some 40 minutes south of Hobart Town. It’s been a while since two long time friends have done any sort of road tripping together.
Upon reaching the ferry ticket station I pay for the return crossing (you always get the return in your payment) and line up in our designated lane as instructed.
SeaLink Bruny Island operates the MV Mirambeena and the MV Moongalba. There is currently no requirement to book the ferry. I suggest arriving at least 20 minutes prior to departure at Kettering and on Bruny on your return.
Check the ferry crossing prices and timetable here: www.sealinkbrunyisland.com.au/ferry
Crossings take 15-20 minutes. Be prepared to be patient. You may have to wait for a crossing as some time slots are very popular. Sunday afternoon may serve as a case in point as the army ants scurry to get off the island to return to reality of Monday to Friday routine.
There is a good coffee shop at the Kettering terminal called the Gateway Cafe. You can pop in to while you wait for the ferry to begin boarding traffic. If there is chocolate brownie on offer, I advise to accept the offering (if it fits your dietary guidelines). Quite scrumptious.
Ferry boarding time!
I press the ignition button and the Escape Hatch is soon rolling onto the ferry. Bruny Island is a 20 minute ferry ride from Kettering across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
The ferry docks and I again initiate the ignition sequence. 3,2,1… Thunderbirds are go! Our Bruny Weekender Adventure begins. The Escape Hatch shoots off the ferry like a whippet with a bum full of dynamite!
The sweeping road invites you push the accelerator to the floor to get your “Brunyfication” underway.
Moving on we hit some dirt road as we venture to the North part of the island to Dennes Point (the northern tip of Bruny) for no real other reason than to visit the top end of the Island. We do stop in for breakfast at the Jetty Cafe and an all important coffee for me.
Bruny Island Cheese Company
Our first real stop on this adventure is Bruny Island Cheese and we take the short walk down the path to the sliding door entrance.
The cheese counter greets us with its array of cheeses. We get to taste from their selection of soft and harder cheeses. They normally have four available for tasting at any one time.
Having gobbled up the cheese and making the almost obligatory purchase, the fridge and the bar is but a few steps away for some beer tasting and a pot.
When you’re on Bruny, it’s always time for a beer! I had a preconceived idea of which beers I was after. I tested and bought the Farm Ale and the Bruny Black. Also picked up a raspberry jam. Love me some raspberry jam. Check their website for other products.
My Bruny Banquet had begun. 1792 cheese, Bruny Black, Farm Ale and raspberry jam. Score!
Cape Queen Elizabeth Track
The Cape Queen Elizabeth Track extends out to Cape Queen Elizabeth, but we are only aiming to reach The Arch and return. Pro tip, before setting out on your walk, check the tides. Google “Bruny tides”. We arrive a bit early for low tide but took the gamble to go via Miles Beach to The Arch to cut down on time (or 2.5hr walk via Mars Bluff return) up over Mars Bluff. Charlie and I had to get up over the rocks and make some jumps but we got there safely.
For experiences sake we returned via the bluff, but unless you really do have time to spare or really want to get your legs moving, return from whence you came.
Is an impressive rock formation right on the beach. To our surprise, our footprints weren’t the first for the day.
Bruny Island Honey
The sweetest place on all of Bruny. Ha. Sorry.
Tasting the sweet honey is why people visit. Taste their collection of honey and mustard.
Try to spot the Queen Bee in the hive.
While you’re there you can educate yourself on all things bees and honey. Learning and tasting makes a fun combo.
Truganini Lookout at Bruny Neck
Truganini Lookout is a memorial to Truganini, who was regarded as the last full blooded Aboriginal in Tasmania who died in May 1876.
One of the nicest views going around. We are talking Lonely Planet level iconic image here. The current edition of Lonely Planet Tasmania cover.
The road at the Neck is now sealed. The car park has “controversially” been extended and now cuts blatantly into the iconic photo from the lookout and it has ruined the aesthetics of your Insta pic. Solved by shifting that view finder a tad to the left. Points for thinking!
Get yourself up the steps to Truganini Lookout and take in the expanse of picturesque Adventure Bay. To the west (right) you see Simpson’s Bay which opens out to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
Take the time to walk on the soft sand beach. Little penguins have a rookery in the dunes. You will notice the “Wildlife Zone” signs and speed limit reductions on the road – Think of the penguins. Always think of the penguins.
Bruny Island Chocolate Factory
On the road to Adventure Bay check in for some damn fine chocolate fudge to add to your Bruny Banquet at the Bruny Island Chocolate Factory.
Time to head towards the township of Adventure Bay. This is the main base of operations and the busiest place on Bruny. English Captain Tobias Furneaux onboard HMS Adventure, named the bay in 1773.
Quick visit to one of my favourite beaches in Tassie – Adventure Bay.
Bruny Island Cruises
Not many visitors come to Bruny without getting to experience a Bruny Island cruise. One of the best trips going around in my opinion. It was a windy and cold morning as our cruise embarked. We jetted out of Adventure Bay to come up close to towering sea cliffs, and we zoomed past “The Monument” and entered fascinating sea caves. FYI October is a prize month for whale migration and dolphins love a swim along with the boats. Seals and variety of sea birds are seen on the cruise, it is a regular Ark-full of sightings.
Dress warm. It gets cold on the water. Proper cold. You are at the doorstep of the Southern Ocean!
Bligh’s Museum on Adventure Bay Road delves in to maritime, Australian, Van Diemen’s Land, Tasmanian, Bruny and Adventure Bay history.
Oodles of newspapers, books, folders, prints, photos, original illustrations, you name it. I don’t know how you could consume all the information here, but I am sure an avid historian could lose days in here. Like Vegas casinos, there are no windows.
The European explorers Tasman, Furneaux, Cook, Bligh, D’Entrecasteaux, Flinders and Baudin all found their way to Adventure Bay.
Did you know Captain Bligh planted the first apple tree in Tasmania and visited Adventure Bay four times?
As the French were first Europeans to explore many places in Tasmania, they were also the first to name them, and the names, for the most part, have stuck. Bruny Island is named for Bruni D’Entrecasteaux.
So the next time you catch the ferry to Bruny Island in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, you might understand why an Anglo-Saxon colony has so many French names.
See if you get lucky seeing an albino wallaby!
Heading south, past Lunawanna on the west side of the island, the clouds are dark and sinister as the showers drizzle on the Subaru’s windscreen. The rain only gets stronger the further south we go.
Coming in on the road to Cloudy Bay, the rain gives way to windy conditions. The place could be renamed Windy Bay, as it was equally windy as it was cloudy. It was formerly known as Storm Bay.
Cloudy Bay would be a terrific place to stay for a weekend in the depths of winter, with storms raging. I can imagine it’d be a perfect cosy weekend.
Trying to stand firm on the beach without being blown over, I gaze out to the horizon knowing there is just a large mass of water (and ice cold southerly wind) between us and Antarctica.
Bruny Light Station
On to the Cape Bruny Light Station. It’s an important lighthouse in Australian history. At the time it was first put into operation in 1838 it was Tasmania’s third, after the Iron Pot Lighthouse at the entrance to the River Derwent and the Low Head Lighthouse at the entrance to the River Tamar. It was Australia’s fourth lighthouse.
Although no longer in operating capacity, it is the second oldest staffed lighthouse in Australia.
Lighthouse Bay was formally called Bad Bay. Lots of big black rocks protruding from the bays waters indicate why.
At the old lighthouse keepers house there is a basic museum, and on most days there are tours of the lighthouse available for $15 at the lighthouse.
Bruny Island Premium Wines
Australia’s most southern vineyard, Bruny Island Premium Wines.
We stop in for wine and cider tastings and a cheeky purchase or two. I grab a 2018 sauvignon blanc (the cheaper of the two available). That was my preferred wine after the tastings. Tried a sauvignon blanc, and two pinots. The pinots were also very nice.
For a non-cider drinker, I really enjoyed the blapple (blackberry and apple) cider, so I bought a bottle too. Charlie doesn’t partake in any tasting at all!
The Bruny Banquet is getting bigger!
A good lunch location too with all things Bruny. As good as it may be, we didn’t stay for lunch.
For a fine pub meal come here for lunch or dinner. You may need to book, the place gets busy.
Hotel Bruny does a quality pub meal as good as any place in Tassie and their chicken parmi (it is “parmi” BTW) is up there with the best I have had.
An end of Bruny Island staple are Get Shucked’s oysters. On your way back to the ferry get one last taste of Bruny produce. Perfect way to finish of your Bruny culinary experience. Dine in on a sunny afternoon or get oysters to go at the drive thru so you don’t miss your ferry!
Bruny Island House of Whisky
Tassie Whisky has exploded on to the world whisky scene and the Bruny Island House of Whisky has the largest Tasmanian range in the woooorld.
They stock smaller distilleries and as you would expect they know their stuff too.
I opt to try the local distiller Trappers Hut for a tasting flight on four of their drams.
There are over 100 Tassie whiskies here!!! There is also a bunch of gins which many of the distillers have made. The setting is very comfortable and inviting and I really feel like I’d love to get comfy and have a few whiskies, but alas, on this day it is not to be.
Aaaaah, Bruny. It’s time to go home.
Notes from a Small Island
To make a weekend of Bruny, you’re going to need a place to rest your weary head.
Here are a selection of places to check out that may or may not rock your socks off:
This was the extent of my recent Bruny Island Brunyfication. It never seems enough time on Bruny. I’d love to have time to take Bruny at a slower pace.
Until next time…
Thank you for reading.