When it comes to Tasmania, it’s hard for me not to get lost in superlatives… The most beautiful, the best, the wildest… But it’s true, Tasmania is all these things, which is why I keep going back. My exploration of Tasmania has taken many places and recently, I discovered the wild and wonderful Bruny Island attractions. While I was there, I discovered there are many things to do on Bruny Island.
I have many favourites in Tasmania but a road trip on Bruny Island is now at the top. In this Bruny Island itinerary, you will see that the place is wild, beautiful, diverse and exciting.
For more road trip itineraries, try this one in New Zealand.
The Best Things to do on Bruny Island
Bruny Island is one of Tasmania’s southernmost islands. It’s only 45 minutes from Hobart to Bruny Island, it’s a popular destination for day trips, but there are so many things to do on Bruny Island, we dedicated 4 days to it and you could easily spend up to a week.
Bruny Island is really made of two landmasses, connected by an isthmus called the Neck. How to get to Bruny Island is easily done on the ferry.
The length of Bruny Island is about 100 km so it’s quite significant so you really need a vehicle to get around. Its size and location at the south-east tip of Tasmania, as well as its proximity to the Southern Ocean, have made Bruny Island an important landmark for seafarers and explorers.
In fact, Bruny Island bears the legacy of many historical explorers of Australia. The island was named after French explorer Bruni d’Entrecasteaux. Abel Tasman tried to land there in 1642 and Tobias Furneaux was the first European to land on Bruny Island.
Furthermore, the township of Adventure Bay was named after his ship. In 1777, Captain Cook landed there and even carved his name into a tree trunk, which was lost in a bushfire in 1905. Finally, William Bligh and Matthew Flinders also visited the island.
The north and south of Bruny Island are quite different, which is what makes this destination so diverse. The north is rural, with pastures and farms. On the other hand, the south is wild, covered in eucalyptus forests and rugged coastline.
Where to Stay in Bruny Island
Whilst a lot of people only do a Bruny Island day trip, I do recommend staying several days if you have time. Distances are fairly significant on Bruny Island and there is plenty to experience.
Bruny Island accommodation is fairly spread out and you can expect to stay away from the main townships. On our Bruny Island trip, we stayed in Alonnah.
Bruny Island Ferry
Getting to Bruny Island only takes half an hour by ferry, leaving from Kettering, only 45 minutes from Hobart. Leaving every half hour, the ferry to Bruny Island is an easy crossing to Dennes Point.
The ferry ride is only 15-20 mins. The standard Bruny Island ferry cost is for a vehicle and driver is $38. There is a slightly cheaper fare for certain crossings.
The Neck, Bruny Island
The Neck is the isthmus that links the north and the south of the island, and it’s probably the most iconic view when you visit Bruny Island. There is a car park at the foothill, and you can climb the wooden steps to the Neck Lookout, also known as Truganini Lookout.
Truganini deserves a mention as she was considered one of the last full-blooded Tasmanian Aboriginals. She and her family also suffered terrible cruelty at the hands of colonial settlers.
The Neck is a spectacular lookout, offering 360-degree views over Bruny Island. It is especially beautiful during sunset.
Bruny Island Penguins
If you are fond of wildlife and wondering what to do in Bruny Island, you will soon find out that there are plenty of opportunities to observe animals. There is a small penguin colony at Bruny Island and the boardwalk at the Neck extends into a viewing platform so you can watch the parade of the charming little creatures coming back onshore to nest at sundown.
The penguins come out of the surf at sundown, there is really no action until it’s quite dark. The deck is quite close to the beach and the penguin burrows are visible along the sides.
The ranger gives a talk on penguins and mutton birds.
Unlike the penguin parade at Phillip Island in Victoria, this one is much smaller. Photography is allowed with certain conditions. Indeed, it’s important to disable your flash or use the red plastic sheets handed down by the ranger.
This ensures that the penguins are not disoriented by any kind of white, harsh light. If you have a torch, which is quite a good idea because it’s quite dark by the time the penguins appear, you will need to cover it with the red plastic.
It seemed to me that the penguin colony was a lot smaller than Phillip Island but I was only there one night. The good thing is that photography is allowed, but I found it difficult to get good photos of the penguins. Also, there is no bus parking at the Neck, so you are not overwhelmed by large groups and the viewing from the deck is for a relatively small group.
The penguin rookery is not a commercial operation, it’s only the local ranger giving a talk. However, I didn’t find the experience enthralling. Maybe trying to view little penguins in the dark is a little too hard… Nonetheless, the ones you do get to see are adorable…
The Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise
The Wilderness Cruise is one of the best things to do when you visit Bruny Island. As a Bruny Island day tour, it really captures the sense of adventure and remoteness of the place. I took the tour as a paying customer and I can thoroughly recommend it.
The Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise is very popular with visitors and it’s important to book ahead. The high powered speedboats take you south of the island, around Fluted Cape and Boreel Head.
There are a number of things to see along the way, including seal colonies and various sea birds. In my opinion, the most incredible experience is to venture into the Southern Ocean. So here is how it goes to go on the Bruny Island cruises.
The boats depart from Adventure Bay. Three or four boats may depart at the same time. As this is a speed boat ride, you need to be dressed comfortably and warmly. There is no meal included in the cruise but you can purchase something at the café before or after.
There is a thorough yet brief security brief when you get on board. Also, they hand out big red ponchos to protect you from the spray. Yes, you do get wet on this cruise but not too much. Finally, the crew offers ginger pills in order to avoid seasickness but that’s totally up to you.
Where to sit on the boat?
The boat fills the front first but I don’t think that’s where the best seats are, as you get quite wet. I was sitting on the “aisle” seat which was really handy when the boat stopped. I could get out of my seat and take photos quite freely.
The cliffs around Fluted Cape are very impressive, falling vertically in the ocean. The perfection of the rocks is fascinating and a rare phenomenon. Interestingly, the cliffs only stretch for 8 meters under the ocean surface, which is quite a unique geological feature.
Boreel Head & the Seal Colonies
Around Boreel Head, there are some colonies of Australian seals and New Zealand fur seals. The boat gets quite close to the rocks so you can observe them well.
The seals sit on the rocks to avoid predators. Typically, a colony is made of one male, several females and a number of pups.
When a large male holds his head straight up, he has
The Southern Ocean
My favourite part of the cruise was to enter the Southern Ocean. I found it fascinating to experience the Roaring Forties: the swell is broader, the wind is stronger and most of all, the noise is louder.
The conditions were really choppy but it was fantastic to experience the Southern Ocean.
The Way Back
On the way back, the boats really powered up all the way to Adventure Bay, without stopping. We saw some common dolphins on the way and they did engage with the boats a little bit, but they are really difficult to photograph properly.
It is possible to see whales occasionally however the Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise doesn’t make a point of seeking them out.
The birdlife is quite plentiful around these waters. We saw some albatross, Southern Ocean petrels and shearwaters.
Book your Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise
Overall, I thought the Wilderness Cruise was one of the best Bruny Island tours. It’s a fun and interesting experience and will no doubt be one of your Bruny Island highlights.
If you are interested in booking the Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise, check out the additional information and current tour prices.
The Fluted Cape Walk
Bruny Island is a great place for a bushwalk. We chose to do the Fluted Cape Walk but there are many other Bruny Island walks.
The road to Adventure Bay is enjoyable, with various viewpoints by the side of the road. We parked near the beach and started walking on the sand. Then there was a gentle climb through the woods.
There was lots of birdlife in the woods: blue wrens, kookaburras…
The path takes you through the location of the former whaling station. There isn’t much left to see, apart from a plaque.
We then took a left turn towards Fluted Cape and enjoyed the beautiful smells of the eucalyptus forest. Then, the climb gets pretty steep through the dry forest or Oceanic scrub.
At times, the path is very close to the cliff edge and it’s not always obvious, so I recommend extreme caution. I actually thought this walk wouldn’t be suitable for young children. The view from the cliffs is stunning though.
We saw a very precarious looking rockpile off the edge of the cliff, with little rocks on its ledges, seemingly thrown by hikers.
After you get the top, the trail meanders down through the forest, which gradually changes. The descent is less steep, through long grass.
The Painted Wallaby
One of the very unique Bruny Island things to do is to try and spot a white wallaby. The end section of the Fluted Cape Walk is where you are pretty much guaranteed to find one. The painted wallaby is also known as Bennett’s Wallaby and a rare genetic mutation gives it its white fur.
We weren’t really looking for them and stumbled upon one on the footpath. We approached very gently and quietly. The wallaby didn’t move and we were able to get really close. The white fur is quite striking compared to the colours of the forest and other wallabies around.
Eventually, as we progressed very gently along the path, he hopped away… But what a lovely Bruny Island wildlife encounter!
Bruny Island Walks
You have many options for Bruny Island walks and I really recommend spending some time in nature…
- Mavista Nature Walk – 45
- Grass Point –
1 hourreturn LuggaboineCircuit – 1.5 hourcircuit
- Mount Mangana – 1.5 hours return
- Cape Queen Elizabeth – 2.5 hours return
- East Cloudy Head – 4 hours return
- Labillardiere Peninsula –
- Slide Track – 3.5 hours one way
- Alonnah Sheepwash Track –
Those walks are great Bruny Island escapes.
Bruny Island Beaches
In Tasmania, the sky is often “angry”, with grey clouds and rain not far away… However, if you get a sunny day and can brave the cold water temperatures, why not take a break at the beach?
I can imagine what a Bruny Island long weekend would feel with a few hours relaxing on this beach.
Visit the Cape Bruny Lighthouse
With no less than 100km to travel from north to south, the distances on Bruny Island are quite significant. However, travelling all the way to the South Bruny National Park is well worth it. In my view, the cape and the lighthouse is one of the best things to see on Bruny Island.
It is a long drive to the cape, partially on a dirt road but there are some lookouts along the way.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse
The Bruny Island lighthouse was built in 1836, after a series of devastating shipwrecks and first lit in 1838. The build took eighteen months, with twelve convicts doing the work.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse in Australia and lightkeepers led an isolated and hard life on the rugged cliffs of Tasmania.
The lighthouse was boarded up until recently when a local tour company decided to run tours of the lighthouse.
Light Keepers Quarters
There are three buildings near the lighthouse, all for light keeper use. Indeed, there had to be three keepers on-site at any time: the lighthouse keeper, an assistant and a relief keeper.
One of the lightkeepers quarters is now a museum with some artefacts, machinery, marine flags, as well as some information on the local flora and fauna.
Bruny Island Lighthouse Tours
The company that operates the lighthouse tours is owned by the son of one of the last light keepers at Cape Bruny Lighthouse. Therefore, there are lots of stories and small details being told in the visit, which makes it really fun.
For example, a telephone line was first installed in 1902. The old phone on the wall inside the lighthouse is circa 1911 and the line is still connected!
If it’s not too windy, the guide might take you onto the outside balcony and you can look over to Antarctica… Isn’t that a romantic idea?
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse and, for a small price, I was more than happy to contribute to the upkeep of such an interesting piece of history.
If you are interested in booking the Lighthouse tour, check out the additional information and current tour prices.
The Convict Garden & Cemetery
The Bruny Island lighthouse walk wouldn’t be complete without visiting the convict garden and cemetery, there is a path descending towards the beach, in the low coastal shrub.
This is where you will find the tombs of two young children who died at the lighthouse and the location of the convict garden.
This is a little sad but the convict period holds a place of importance in Tasmania, especially in Port Arthur, which you can visit from Hobart.
Bruny Island Food & Drink
True to the tradition of Tasmania, Bruny Island is a fantastic repository of delicious locally sourced food and drink. Most of the food places are on North Bruny and you can stock up on supplies before crossing the isthmus. However, even if you are staying on South Bruny, I recommend dedicating a day to the wonderful Bruny Island food and drink.
You can combine the Lighthouse tour and a gourmet food tour in one day. If you are interested in booking this tour, check out the additional information and current tour prices.
Bruny Island oysters are delicious and I recommend visiting the oyster farm. If you love oysters, you will be in heaven! You can dine on-site in the licensed cafe otherwise, you can drive through and take away oysters, including ones to shuck yourself.
Bruny Island Cheese Co
The Bruny Island Cheese Company is another stop on the Bruny Island food trail. The cheese selection is fairly limited but good quality. The cheese-making process is visible through the windows and they also have a selection of locally crafted beers.
You can enjoy cheese plates and a beer selection on the tables outside.
Bruny Island Chocolate Factory
The Bruny Island Chocolate Factory is in South Bruny, close to Adventure Bay. The chocolates are nice however they are not made on-site, so the term “factory” is a little misleading.
Bruny Island Berry Farm
The Bruny Island Berry Farm is a small operation with nice views over Adventure Bay. The range of products is limited but you can wander around the berry farm.
Hotel Bruny is in Alonnah and the official Bruny Island pub. We stayed in Alonnah almost within walking distance of the pub so we had to try it!
The food is quite decent and there is a very good selection of wines and beers. As this is the only restaurant in Alonnah, the crowd was quite diverse but overall it was quite a family atmosphere.
Bruny Island Café
The Bruny Island Café has some basic food options available and limited drinks however, the view over the rolling hills is very beautiful.
Bruny Island Premium Wines
In Lunawanna, on South Bruny, lies a very bucolic landscape, with rolling fields and farm animals. The Bruny Island winery has a restaurant that offers the best food on Bruny Island, which you can enjoy while overlooking the vineyards.
There is also a cellar door. There is a very good but limited selection of wines however, the prices are quite high.
Bruny Island House of Whisky
This could be your first stop after the ferry terminal at
Tasmania makes some very good whisky, some of them have quite a unique taste and one was even voted the best whisky in the world. You can buy a selected tasting and enjoy a fine drop with water views.
If you are interested in buying whisky, there is plenty to choose from, however, the prices start at around $200-300 for a bottle. The reason for this is that the taxes are very high (twice as much as they are in Scotland) and the production isn’t large enough to spread the cost.
Where Else in Tasmania?
Now that you know what to see on Bruny Island, I hope it is firmly on your bucket list. For more destination ideas, I have a comprehensive list of places to visit in Tasmania to inspire you and also more detail on Tasmania’s East Coast and Maria Island. Also, I recommend Cradle Mountain as a hiking destination.
Tasmania is often combined with a visit
Things to do in Bruny Island, Tasmania
Maria Island Day Trip
Port Arthur Tours
Has this list of things to do on Bruny Island managed to tempt you to visit? Tell me about your plans in the comments below!
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40 thoughts on “The Best Things to do on Bruny Island”
I have explored Tasmania pretty extensively but Bruny Island is still on the to do list and the photos here have made me move it up quite a few spots. I had no idea there was so much to do there. Would you recommend staying a few days?
Hi Paula, thank you, I’m pleased that you like my photos, Bruny Island is a very spectacular place for photographers… The only problem is that the sky is often grey and angry due to the southern latitude… We were there for 4 days and could have stayed more. The distances are quite big so I wouldn’t hesitate staying a week!
I’ve been in Tasmania a very long time ago, now I wish I’ve heard about Bruny Island. It looks gorgeous with so many things to do! Going to dave this one for the next time I am in the neighborhood!
Hi Maya, Bruny Island is a very well preserved gem and because it’s tucked away in the south of Tasmania, it’s not obvious straight away. Do visit if you have a chance to make it back to Tasmania, it’s only an hour’s drive from Hobart!
We ran out of time during our Australia trip to visit Tasmania and I’d never even heard of Bruny so this is just another excuse to return – especially to see those cute wee penguins!!
Hi Lauren, I went to Tasmania several times before I discovered Bruny Island, so I understand it’s not necessarily a discovery for first timers… There are so many beautiful places in Tasmania! However, it is absolutely going back to Tasmania to explore Bruny Island for a few days…
It looks beautiful! Would love to visit Tasmania one day.
Hi Alma, Bruny Island is stunning, which is an achievement is beautiful Tasmania! I loved the diversity of landscapes and the locals were really welcoming.
Great post on Bruny Island, a place which you have brought to my attention. Looks like a lovely place.
Hi Hazel, I am pleased that you enjoyed this post. Bruny Island is indeed a gem in the Tasmanian beautiful landscape and should feature in any travel itinerary.
Those cliffs look like the Wall in Game of Thrones (RIP). It all looks stunning and the little penguin pictures are adorable. I also now really need to see a white wallaby. So cute. those children’s graves are spooky – any idea what happened? I guess it wasn’t the easiest place to get medical treatment.
Thanks Helen, the cliffs were pretty spectacular, I agree… The white wallaby is surprisingly easy to spot, obviously being white in the middle of the forest! As for the children at the lighthouse, I assume it must have been a kind of fever, term used to describe pretty much any kind of illness in those days… Not many convict sites in Australia are particularly cheery, are they?
My daughter lives in Melbourne and we have done most of the day trips from there. But not Tasmania yet. It is due. And so is Bruny Island! Especially the neck and the penguins.
Hi Carol, Tasmania is really easy to get to from Melbourne, there are regular flights to Hobart and Launceston. I recommend at least a week, maybe two to tour Tasmania, the distances are bigger than they look! As for Bruny Island, we did in 4 days, which was good, but you could comfortably spend a week there and have a great time!
So many awesome places! The painted wallaby is so cute! I’ve always wanted to visit Tasmania – hopefully someday!
Hi Grace, Tasmania can feel like a long way from wherever you are but it is absolutely worth it. And I’m sure you’ll take some beautiful photos when you do visit!
Bruny Island sounds magnificent. I would absolutely love to see the penguins come out or find a painted wallaby. They are both so adorable. I made it as far south as Sidney but it sounds like I need to come back and keep heading down to Tasmania.
I was a little disappointed by the penguins, there weren’t many of them and it was really hard to see in the dark. The painted wallaby however, was awesome. It’s really cute and I could get fairly close. I was also really surprised at how easy it was to find one on our walk!
Now I know again why I dream of flying around the world and discovering Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. The landscape and nature are simply indescribably beautiful. I think on this island I could stand it for a while and would constantly pinch with enthusiasm and hope that this is not a dream.
Hi Susanne, I completely agree with your assessment. Tasmania is one of these places where you pinch yourself and wonder if you’re dreaming… There are so many places stunningly beautiful and you can just collect those on a road trip around the island! I hope you get a chance to visit, you will love it!
This looks like a slice of heaven: unspoiled beaches, white wallabies, seal colonies, a lighthouse and breathtaking scenery. Bruny Island looks and sounds magnificent. Thank you for making me aware that it exists!
Hi Alison, Bruny Island is absolutely a slice of heaven. I’m very pleased I finally went there and I will definitely be back!
Tasmania is on my wish list and now I’ll have to add Bruny Island to it as well. To be honest, I’d never heard of the island before, or of white wallabies either. I would love to see the view at sunset from the Neck and the Bruny Island Wilderness cruise sounds fun. The fact that it has champagne, and cheese and chocolate shops sealed the deal!
Hi Cindy, thank you for visiting my blog, I believe we are connected on Instagram already! It’s true that Bruny Island has a lot going for it… I was pleased with all these things: scenery, wildlife, food and adventure. I do hope you get to Tasmania someday and of course, to Bruny Island, it’s really a wonderful place!
So much beauty in Tasmania. I really love the rock formations in some of the locations. I would love to visit Bruny Island. Being able to see penguins in their natural habitat is so exciting. I’ll definitely have my night photography equipment ready for their arrival 🙂
Hi Candy, the cliffs of Bruny Island are quite stunning and a unique geological phenomenon. Bruny Island is a wonderful place to get close to Australian wildlife too. I hope you get a chance to visit, you will make unique memories!
Wow. Stunning photography, a very thorough post, and an amazing look at some of the things that can be found in Tasmania! Everything from the penguins to those stunning rock formations makes me want to hop on a plane right now and head down there. Thank you for sharing and putting this beautiful destination on my radar!
Hi Kevin, I’m very pleased to have added a new destination to your bucket list. If you do get to visit Australia someday, I do hope you include Tasmania, you certainly won’t regret it!
I never knew about Bruny island before reading your post. But I loved the rolling fields of Bruny Island. The neck looks stunning.
Hi yukti, thank you for dropping by, I’m pleased you enjoyed this post, I hope it inspired you to visit Tasmania.
I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever seen pictures of Tasmania. Wow, what a lovely place! Thanks so much for sharing. It all looks so interesting (especially the water adventures) but the painted wallaby…now that is a real treat! What a cutie.
Hi Melody, I’m pleased that my post inspired you to dream of Tasmania! It’s true that Bruny Island has a lot going for it. I also agree that the painted wallaby are absolutely adorable!
You discovered my favourite Australian Island. We only had time for a day trip but loved it – especially the white wallabies.
Hi Lyn, I absolutely loved Bruny Island! It’s beautiful and diverse and the wildlife is amazing, especially those little white wallabies!
I love the beaches on Bruny Island! I would love to visit. I was just in New Zealand and Australia for the first time. Hoping to go back soon. This is on my list now.
Hi Dana, there are some really nice beaches on Bruny Island. The weather wasn’t the best when we visited Cloudy Bay but I always love an Australian beach!
I went to Bruny island years ago! It looks like I need to do a return trip. So much to do on such a tiny island
Bruny Island is not that small! it takes a couple of hours to drive from one end to the other. This means that it’s quite diverse and there are plenty of things to do: hiking, fishing, cruising and of course eating and drinking!
The island of Bruni is also very attractive to me, but I did not have the opportunity to visit there. It’s great that you shared your journey. I am intrigued and definitely want to be there!
Hi Tori, I hope you get a chance to visit Bruny Island sometime, it’s an awesome place