Bruny Island, located off Tasmania’s south-eastern coast, is a popular tourist spot and natural attraction.
The island is made of two landmasses connected by a long, narrow isthmus stretching 100 kilometres.
Tourism has been the primary industry there for several years.
You’ll find untouched natural surrounds, large wildlife populations, and a burgeoning artisan food culture.
You can also relax on beaches, explore the island’s history, sample the local delicacies, or go one of the many bush walks.
How to get to Bruny Island
You can rent a car from Hobart to get to Bruny Island.
Drive to Kettering which is about 30 kilometres away, and then catch a ferry across to the island.
Although, make sure you plan properly and check maps so you don’t get lost!
Ideally, join a tour if this is your first time visiting Bruny Island.
The most popular and easiest way to visit Bruny Island is on a guided tour.
We recommend Tassie Tours since they are highly rated on Tripadvisor and have received hundreds of positive reviews.
More importantly, their experienced guides know all the highlights of Bruny Island to ensure you have the best day trip to Bruny Island.
A pickup can be arranged around 7:30am from Hobart CBD.
What can you see on Bruny Island?
There are two places where you can learn about Bruny Island.
First, the History Room covers both the early and recent history of the island.
It includes a number of artefacts, including photos, documents and newspaper clippings donated by Bruny Island residents.
The second place worth visiting is the Bligh Museum.
It contains artefacts related to early Bruny Island history and the first explorers in the region.
Bruny Island is a haven for birdwatchers.
It has the largest global population of the endangered species forty-spotted pardalote.
Bruny Island also has a third of the world’s population of Swift Parrots.
You’ll also see 13 of Tasmania’s 14 native bird species and as many as 240,000 breeding pairs of the short-tailed shearwater.
Other animals found on the Island include wallabies, spotted quolls, golden brush tail possum and fairy penguins.
Try not to disturb or stress the animals, particularly with the use of bright camera flashes.
Food and Wine
In the last several years, Bruny Island has developed a reputation for being a food and wine hub.
Take the time to enjoy some of the local delicacies, or even join one of the island’s food tours.
Alternatively, head over to the Bruny Island Cheese Company to taste the best cheeses in Tasmania.
For a plate of fresh oysters visit Get Shucked Oyster Farm.
Lastly, you can pick your own delicious berries at Bruny Island Berry Farm.
Those looking for wines will find them at the Bruny Island Premium Wines, Australia’s southern-most winery, known for producing some of Tasmania’s finest vintages.
South Bruny National Park
The natural attractions of Bruny Island are embodied in the South Bruny National Park.
It is a park of around 50 square kilometres located on the southern park of Bruny Island.
Here, you’ll find the Cape Bruny Lighthouse which is Australia’s second oldest lighthouse.
It was first lit in March of 1838 following a series of shipwrecks and mishaps in the south of the island.
Today, the lighthouse offers stunning views of the surrounds.
You will find a wide range of activities on Bruny Island.
Off the island, tour companies run eco cruises to give visitors a chance to see the spectacular sea cliffs that the island is known for.
You’ll also see some of the ocean’s wildlife such as seals.
Closer to the island, water activities are still popular.
You can go surfing, fishing or just relax on the beach.
Beyond that, you can spend a portion of your time on Bruny Island exploring the area’s stunning bushwalks, which vary from 30 minute wanders to full day treks.
How long should you stay?
Bruny Island is much bigger than visitors often first assume, making it a challenge to see everything on offer in just one day.
Those on tours may find the schedule makes the visit easier.
However, there are hotels available so you can stay a night and increase your chances of seeing more of the island.
Before Europeans arrived in the area, Bruny Island was inhabited by Aboriginal people, the descendants of whom remain today.
The European arrival officially occurred in 1773 when Tobias Furneaux landed in a place he named Adventure Bay.
Then, on the 26th of January 1777 James Cook’s ships the Resolutions and the Discovery stayed in the area for several days.
The site was visited a number of other times, by William Bligh and Matthew Flinders.
However, the island is named for French explorer Bruni d’Entrecasteaux who explored the Chanel and discovered that it was actually an island, not connected to the mainland.
The original spelling was in place until 1918, after which is was changed to Bruny.
Settlement on the island was driven by the timber industry, with almost all of the South Bruny settlements being originally timber ports.
A number of the settlements now serve as shack towns, or holiday locations.
Tourism on Bruny Island really began around the 1920s when it became known as a surfing destination.
Later on, the island’s reputation grew thanks to its interesting historical sites, and beautiful national parks.
Currently, tourism is the biggest income earner on Bruny Island, with around 75,000 visitors attending each year.