It is easy for day trippers to find themselves trapped overnight on Bruny Island – unless they have their own boat – which, if we’re being honest, isn’t altogether a bad thing.
Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, wildlife or gourmet goodies, a trip from Hobart to Bruny Island places you in the ideal environment to kick back – but you will need to take a SeaLink car ferry there and back, and you’ll do well to remember that the ferry services end at dusk.
That means a few too many photos at one of the beautiful beaches, an unexpected flat tyre on one of the dirt roads or an additional drink at the Hotel Bruny can leave visitors needing somewhere to stay.
Not that overnighting would be any hardship.
Why should travellers make the trip from Hobart to Bruny?
The first thing that hits you about Bruny Island is the silence.
Bruny is the same size as Singapore but has a permanent population of a couple of thousand rather than 5.5 million.
Tasmania’s fourth-largest island is just a 30-minute drive and 15-minute car ferry ride from Hobart, a service which operates year-round.
The island is 67 kilometres from tip to tail and can be almost deserted midweek, making it the perfect escape from city hustle and bustle, with limited mobile reception, a choice of deserted beaches and dramatic scenery.
Wildlife on Bruny Island, Tasmania
Then there are the local critters. From white wallabies to quolls and pademelons, a colony of fairy penguins and all manner of birds, from parrots to myriad sea birds, the island is alive with them.
Fur seals inhabit rocky outcrops and can be seen on adventure sea cruises operated by Rob Pennicott’s Bruny Island Cruises. These three-hour wilderness journeys are not to be missed.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse dates back to 1836 and is open for guided tours.
Also keep an eye out for sea eagles, albatrosses and – during the season – dolphins and whales. If you are lucky you might spot an echidna.
Bruny Island history
Bruny Island was first sighted by Abel Tasman in 1642 and named after French Rear Admiral Bruny d’Entrecasteaux, who visited the island in 1792-93.
Captains Furneaux, Flinders, Cook and Bligh all anchored in Adventure Bay, which takes its name from Furneaux’s ship. The tiny Bligh Museum of Pacific Exploration at Adventure Bay and the Alonnah History Rooms are both open to the public.
Cheese, chocolate and gourmet goods
There are a handful of cafes on what are effectively two islands joined by a narrow isthmus and gourmets will be in their element here with a selection of artisan cheeses and wood-fired breads from Bruny Island Cheese, fresh oysters from Get Shucked and wine tastings at Bruny Island Premium Wines, Australia’s southern-most vineyard.
The Bruny Island Chocolate Company offers a range of sweet treats made on-site, while the House of Whisky offers tastings from several of Tasmania’s independent distillers.
In summer, enjoy fresh berries from the Bruny Island Berry Farm – pick your own if you enjoy working for your supper. Also check out the local chocolate factory and sample some of the island’s smoked goods.
Overlooking the water at Alonnah, the quirky Hotel Bruny is open for lunches and dinners seven days a week.
There is just the one pub on the island, and only one petrol station, so it pays to plan ahead if you need a beer, or to fill the tank.
Bruny Island accommodation
Most of the accommodation here is self-catering, or camping. There are no five-star resorts or big brand hotels.
The best choices include two eco-luxe pods – Free Spirit Pods – that overlook beautiful Quarantine Bay. Suitable for two or four people, they are a perfect escape from the everyday grind.
The luxury pods – Blue Wren and Flying Duck – were handcrafted from sustainable Tasmania timbers and fitted out with quality inclusions on eight acres of waterfront bushland that comes alive with wildlife at night.
Get Shucked Oyster Bar and the Bruny Island Cheesery are just a short drive away and there is a two-seater kayak and fishing rods available for guests. It’s well worth taking the trip from Hobart to Bruny Island just to visit the renowned oyster shack and slurp a slippery morsel straight out of its shell.
While you are miles from anywhere, the pods offer all modern luxuries including Smeg appliances, a De Longhi cooktop, free wifi, Netflix and Bose sound system, along with gourmet treats left by the owners.
There are little luxuries like heated bathroom floors and surprises in the fridge that make this somewhere special to stay. Throw in spectacular views from the deck and the fact it is just a short stroll to the beach.
Each pod has a queen-sized bed with a view, as well as a sofa bed to accommodate children if required.
Bifold glass doors open onto a large private timber deck with barbecue, providing an al fresco dining option.
The Pods feature an equipped kitchenette with gas cooktop, microwave and refrigerator; en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower, ceiling fans and free-standing cosy pellet heaters.
There are several other holiday homes available for rent, as well as accommodation at the Hotel Bruny. Travellers will also find camping and glamping on the border of a national park and the Captain Cook Holiday Park with villas, cabins, camping sites and camping areas.
Should you be seeking a luxury experience, you can arrange to fly in from Hobart by seaplane with Above & Beyond.
The spectacular beaches and cliffs of Bruny Island can be explored from above with leisure flights from Island Scenic Flights. Inala Nature Tours offers bird lovers personalised wildlife tours.
A good excuse to make the trip from Hobart to Bruny Island is for the Bruny Island Long Weekend – a three-day gourmet walking experience featuring luxury camping and local foods.