Bruny Island is a place that draws you back. On my first trip to the island I felt as if I had hardly explored. So when my parents booked tickets to visit me in Tasmania and asked for advice on a place to stay for one night, with access to beaches, walks and good food, Bruny Island was number one on my list.
A quick google provides information on the usual things to do – Bruny Island Cheese Co., Get Shucked and a few places that offer a plethora of treats for the sweet tooth, but this limited selection of activities does not do the island justice.
We decided to head to Bruny on a Sunday, spend the night and make our way back to Hobart on the Monday. Our first stop was Farmgate Market in Hobart where we stocked up on fresh fish, vegetables and whatever else we needed. Afterward we headed straight to Kettering and caught the ferry across to Bruny. As peak season is starting to kick off, the ferry operates pretty regularly, usually every half hour during the day, and every hour at later times.
We arrived for the ferry quite early (a decent twenty mins), which really worked in our favour as there were at least 30+ vehicles already waiting to board.
I’m not going to detail the actual ferry trip across, because, well, do I even need to explain why?
Once we landed we headed north with no real plans. We ended up at the Quarantine Station, a little park with a lot of history. During WWI the site was used to house returned soldiers in need of quarantining. In the years that followed it served a number of purposes including use as a plant quarantine centre in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.
We explored one end of the park and discovered a dead-end road with a beautiful pier surrounded by oysters, mussels and creatures I can only describe as sea bugs. Before coming to Tasmania mum had never had an oyster in her life and, after some effort, was able to crack one open. After seeing it’s mucous-like appearance any desire to eat oysters completely evaporated and me being me decided it was a waste of a dodgy looking oyster. I had a nibble before completely bailing on the idea and was unable to convince anyone else on giving it a try.
We moved on from the pier and made our way to the main area of Quarantine Station where we were informed by the caretakers (Ron and Glenda) that it was highly unadvisable to eat the oysters at the pier.
From the Quarantine Station we made our way around the northern part of the island and found a few fantastic spots to take photographs of the breathtaking views Bruny Island has to offer.
After a slow drove around the north we stopped in at Get Shucked for some healthy looking oysters and managed to convince mum to try one. While she wasn’t at all impressed with oysters and will most likely never eat one again she did agree the location and chilled vibes of Get Shucked make for a nice pitstop.
At this point I’d recovered from my dodgy oyster at Quarantine Station and managed to gulp down three oysters. Delicious.
We hightailed to our accommodation at Adventure Bay, missing out on a few stops with the intention of visiting them on our way back to the ferry the following day.
Once we made it to Adventure Bay our accommodation was relatively easy to find. We’d decided upon 43 Degrees, online the cabins looked gorgeous with great views and a good set-up. Ahead of our arrival the owners had texted through details of our cabin, it’s location and all the information we would need to access the cabin. After a brief mix up (there are two 43 Degree locations!) we were able to access our cabin with ease. The cabin was amazing! It felt like the owners really cared and their efforts during our stay proved this. They dropped by while we were down the beach to make sure we’d arrived safely and came by later in the afternoon to let us know breakfast would be delivered in the morning.
The location of the cabins was perfect for our stay. We had beautiful views and access to walks along Adventure Bay. We opted for a short 1.5 hour walk that took us to Penguin Island; this left just enough time to explore the rocky coast before heading back for a home cooked dinner and complimentary bottle of wine, care of our hosts at 43 degrees.
After a quick dip the next morning and a tasty complimentary breakfast (seriously, I’m not being paid, they were just that awesome) we hightailed to Bruny Island lighthouse. The drive itself is quite short but the dirt road is bumpy (note: hella corrugated), winding and dotted with trucks/cars and people who think it’s okay to park in the middle of the road to take pictures of birds. In our little hatchback it took us longer than average to reach the lighthouse and on the way we saw a truck that had flipped. There were a number of workman sitting around said flipped truck nonchalantly eating sandwiches and sipping tea.
We eventually made it to the lighthouse. There are caretakers there (currently Leonie and Graham) who were more than happy to have a chat about the building and it’s history. We decided against the optional tour of the inside of the lighthouse (it cost an extra $15 per person, which seemed like a rip) and inspected the outside of the building, free museum and information stations available to all visitors.
Lighthouse: check, bad oyster: check, good oysters: check, bush walks: check, swimming: check, friendly locals: check.
Bruny Island was seriously delivering.
We left the lighthouse after a decent 30 – 40 minutes of exploring and headed back to Alonnah. A township located approximately 30 km’s from the lighthouse.
On our drive through town we spotted Hotel Bruny and stopped in for a bite. I was desperate for some fish and chips and, at this point, would’ve eaten even if I wasn’t hungry (note: I wasn’t hungry). We stopped in and ordered locally caught fish, chowder and a few beers. Given the size of Bruny Island and the amount of tourists the island receives I was a little worried the food would be absolutely terrible/overpriced. While it was on the expensive side ($26 for fish and chips) it was delicious and fresh. It is also worth mentioning the outside of the building (a dusty car park) does not do the place justice.
Our last stop on the island was Truganini’s lookout, a must-do for anyone visiting Bruny. I’ve been to the look-out before and felt the place was too special for mum and dad to miss…
All in all an overnight stay on Bruny Island means you get to visit all the recommended places, along with those overlooked, at ease.
- Stay overnight, this way you can visit all the spots and still have time to spare. It also means you can eat more of everything.
- If you’re a first time visitor do stop at Get Shucked and the Bruny Island Cheese Company. The cheese platter is a good introduction to what Bruny Island Cheese Company offer.
- You have to visit Truganini’s lookout, no excuses. I’d also recommend reading the information stations available at the site, there is information on the traditional owners of the land and Tasmania’s violent history.
- Make time for a good walk, Adventure Bay offers 1.5 and 2.5 hour walks with great views and lovely quiet spots.
- Don’t drive at dusk! The wallabies are absolutely everywhere at this time of day/night.