With such a short ferry ride from mainland Tasmania and proximity to its capital, Hobart, Bruny Island makes for the perfect day trip. The island, split into a north and south side and joined by ‘The Neck’, is a nature lover’s paradise. Penguins, white wallabies and seals are all to be found in this small and picturesque southeast corner of Tasmania. Rugged coastal walks invoke the inner adventurer while secluded beaches invite a moment’s rest in the tranquility of Bruny Island. Oh, and let’s not forget the oysters, cheese, chocolate and beer, because no good day trip is complete without some great fodder.
In this guide, we’ll look at where Bruny Island is before delving into 10 of the best things to do in the island, especially as a day trip. Afterwards, we’ll look at how to get there using the Bruny Island ferry, where to stay should you decide to extend your day trip, as well as what to pack. We’ll even throw in a few bonus tips at the end.
Table of Contents
So, Where Is Bruny Island
Well, Bruny Island is a small island located off the south eatern coast of Tasmania, Australia. The D’Entrecasteaux Channel separates Bruny Island from Tasmania, meaning a short ferry ride between the two is needed to access the island. But, the excellent service means a day trip to Bruny Island is very accessible, if like us you don’t have much more time than that to spare.
On appearance, Bruny Island is actually made up of two small islands. The north and south islands are joined together by a thin isthmus, called ‘The Neck’. The Neck is actually one of the island’s star attractions. The Bruny Island ferry operates between Kettering, Tasmania and Roberts Point on the north island.
10 Incredible Things To Do In Bruny Island Overview
It’s hard to cram the wealth of activities and sights that Bruny Island has to offer into one day trip. However, for most of us that’s all the time we have. Below we’ll detail 10 incredible things to in Bruny to really enjoy this island escape. We’ll include Bruny Island coastal walks, beautiful beaches, hill top lookouts and local produce you MUST sample.
Our Bruny Island day trip was part of a week long adventure exploring Tasmania. We can honestly say the visit was one of our favourite parts. The landscape is truly beautiful, the beaches as good as any you’ll find on mainland Australia. And then, throw into the mix the excellent food produce and well, we can’t think of a better day out.
So, let’s take a look at 10 incredible things to do in Bruny Island, and where to find them.
Bruny Island Map
1. The Neck Bruny Island
If you’ve come across images of Bruny Island before, no doubt The Neck will have been the defining shot. It’s one of the first images I saw and was completely blown away. So, the first of 10 incredible things to do in Bruny Island is this fantastic vantage point.
This thin stretch of land, draped either side in golden sand, and wrapped around in the sapphire blue of the sea looks surely tropical. Like some remote island out in the Pacific. The lush green vegetation that’s threaded through the centre of The Neck, before spanning out into rolling hills in the distance, is teeming with wildlife. Quite frankly, it’s a very special place to stand and take in the moment.
The Neck is an isthmus of land connecting the north and south parts of the island. Since the introduction of an elevated boardwalk, it offers the most stunning 360 views. You should make sure this is your first stop once arriving in Bruny Island from the ferry, it gets quite busy.
At The Neck, you’ll find a decent sized car park, picnic tables and public toilets for your convenience.
2. Bruny Island Walks
This is a wild and beautiful island. There are coastal walks a plenty, but two of our favourites on Bruny Island are the Cape Queen Elizabeth Walk and the Fluted Cape Walk. Both walks offer fine views of Bruny Island and ensure taking a stroll is one of the best things to do on any day trip or longer.
Cape Queen Elizabeth Walk
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 12km
- Time: 3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 340m
- Difficulty: Grade 3
- Trailhead: Car park just off the main road next to the airstrip. Look for road signs.
The Cape Queen Elizabeth Walk is easily one of the best walks to do in Bruny Island. I know it was one of our favourites in Tasmania. The Cape Queen Elizabeth Walk encompasses both beach and bushland, with a visit to its crown jewel – the epic Bruny Island natural rock arch. Found on Miles Beach, this incredibly secluded attraction is a big ticket item. As well as the arch, the Cape Queen Elizabeth Track passes the beautiful Mars Bluff as you make your way to one of the finest viewpoints – Cape Queen Elizabeth.
This 12km Bruny Island walk takes around 3 hours to complete. Of course, if you don’t have 3 hours to spare, it’s possible to just visit the natural arch and Mars Bluff only, which will take a shorter one hour and is around 3km total.
Fluted Cape Walk
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 4km
- Time: 2 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 270m
- Difficulty: Grade 4
- Trailhead: East Cove Car Park
The 4km Fluted Cape Walk begins from East Cove Car Park at the southern end of Adventure Bay. Taking around 2 hours to complete the loop, it’s walked in a clockwise direction only. The walk hugs the Bruny Island coastline as you follow the trail towards Grass Point on the headland. From here you’ll have views across to Penguin Island. The trail ascends sharply as you make your way up to Fluted Cape. Up on the headland, you’ll be met with stunning views back down over Adventure Bay and The Neck to the north. Looking south are incredible views over the South Bruny National Park.
If you’re short on time, a shorter and easier walk would be to Grass Point and back, taking around 1.5 hours to complete.
We actually didn’t have a chance to complete all of this walk during our Bruny Island day trip. Clearly spending too much time devouring cheese and oysters. We regret nothing though. However, it’s a shame to leave a trail unfinished.
3. Oysters Bruny Island
Oysters are a must and easily one of the best things to do in Bruny Island. Because let’s face it, if there’s one thing Bruny Island knows how to do, it’s fresh seafood. Get Shucked is the best place to experience the freshest oysters. Whether drizzled in lemon or cooked in an array of flavours, they must be tried during your trip. This stalwart oyster bar farms and serves up their own oysters – you really couldn’t ask for better. Such is the popularity of Get Shucked, you may be struggling for a seat at lunchtime. The bar is open from 9.30 am-4.30 pm with prices ranging from $2AUD ($1.20USD) for a single naked oyster to $17AUD ($11USD) for a more elaborate half a dozen Asian styled.
This was my first time trying an oyster, and so, if you’re an oyster novice like myself, you couldn’t be in better hands. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly to seafood lovers), my first naked oyster was much nicer than I was anticipating. I put that down in part to Get Shucked serving up such fresh oysters, that are expertly crafted straight to the plate. We highly recommend a quick pit stop here with an order of Mother-in-laws Kilpatrick – now these I could get on board with.
You could easily get carried away splashing the cash at Get Shucked. Oysters do not come cheaply. In fact, we saw many patrons doing just such. I guess if you want to enjoy the best oysters though, you’d be hard pushed to find better elsewhere.
4. Bruny Island Cheese
Whilst we’re on the food trail, let’s talk about Bruny Island Cheese Company – because who doesn’t like cheese. This small scale business farms their own organic cows to produce the milk that goes into their cheese. Love and care from start to finish. The Bruny Island Cheese Company also brew their own beer! So, with that in mind, visiting their cellar door and sampling the self-guided cheese board and beer paddle is an absolute must and just why we think it’s one of the best things to do in Bruny Island.
The plates come hand in hand with a menu of your selection, with information and recommendations on which beers you should drink with each cheese. All very fun and tasty, especially if you’re not designated driver for the day! Plus, after the walk to Cape Queen Elizabeth and/or the Fluted Cape in Bruny Island, you’ll certainly be ready for a light snack and well, cheese and beer works perfectly.
The food tasting at Get Shucked and The Bruny Island Cheese Co. is where you can really relax. It’s popular too. All those people missing from the walking trail, yeah, you’ll find them here. Again, it can be quite busy over the lunchtime period, and so finding a spot inside, or outside if the weather permits, might be tricky. But it’s worth the wait. Your tasting plate is also refunded if you purchase a block of cheese from the shop.
5. Bruny Island Honey Company
Rounding off the culinary delights of Bruny Island is the The Honey Pot. The Honey Pot is the shopfront for Tasiliquid Gold, an apiary business that’s been beekeeping on Bruny Island for over 25 years. You can find the Bruny Island Honey Company on the island main road from the ferry terminal heading toward The Neck.
I think reboarding the Bruny Island ferry with a stash of cheese and honey and a full belly of oysters signals the end of a very good day indeed.
6. Bruny Island Chocolate
If you’ve a sweet tooth (who doesn’t), then you’ll probably want to know about the Bruny Island Chocolate Company. This little roadside shop can be found at Adventure Bay and sells the most delicious chocolate and fudge selection, made on the premises. The stash of Bruny Island goods just grew a little for that ferry ride back to mainland Tasmania, eh!
7. Bruny Island Lighthouse
Moving on from food, next up is the Cape Bruny Lighthouse, which is located at the southernmost tip of Bruny Island. It’s Australia’s second oldest surviving lighthouse and the tower now sits proudly as part of the South Bruny National Park. It’s towering white facade stands clearly on the headland, having spent almost 200 years as an essential part of this coastline. And what a coastline it is too. The rugged clifftops are sublime, shaped and battered over time by the turbulent Southern Ocean. If you’re lucky, you may spot migrating whales out there.
On site you’ll also find a bijoux museum housed in an old workman’s cottage with a brief history on the lighthouse – it’s interesting and worth a quick read. A mix up from the food trail and coastal walks, the Cape Bruny Island Lighthouse is a worthy addition to the best things to do list.
The Bruny Island Lighthouse is one of the top places to visit on the island and so consequently, parking can be a bit of an issue given the minimal number of spaces. Don’t be surprised if you end up parking back down on the roadside. Luckily, the turnaround of visitors seems fairly quick. For more information on the National Park, be sure to visit Parks Tas.
See More of South Bruny National Park
South Bruny National Park encompasses most of the southern island. It has numerous gems worth checking out too should you have time. Cloudy Bay is a popular surf beach as well as being known as an excellent Bruny Island walk. Adjacent to this, separated by a thin stretch of land, sits Cloudy Bay Lagoon. And, should you decide to stay longer than a day, or skip our other recommendations listed, then you can, of course, complete the six hour walking circuit on Labillardiere Peninsula.
8. Adventure Bay Tasmania
Another excellent thing to do in Bruny Island is stop in at Adventure Bay – a big hub of the south island. Over on the east side, this expansive bay lies just before crossing back over The Neck to the north. We actually made this our last stop before heading back to catch the Bruny Island ferry. The area holds great historical significance as it was the first bay to be sighted by European explorers and consequently is named after one of the first ships to anchor here – ‘The Adventure’.
Adventure Bay is relatively sheltered and so excellent for swimming and general relaxing water activities. As one of the main hubs, you’ll find Adventure Bay to be busy with tourists. It feels more built up too, with numerous caravan sites and holiday villages skirting the coastline.
Another popular spot to photograph at Adventure Bay is Two Tree Point. This picturesque outlook sits at the end of Resolution Creek at the northern end of Adventure Bay. A monument stands to mark the 1777 landing of Captain Cook. If you enjoy the outdoors AND history, this is the place for you.
9. Bruny Island Wildlife
There’s so much wildlife activity on Bruny Island, especially around dusk and dawn. Even if you’re only visiting Bruny Island as a day trip, if you catch an early ferry, you’ll still likely catch sight of a few native residents. Notably, its Fairy Penguins and the illusive White Wallaby.
Bruny Island Penguins
At The Neck, you’ll find there’s much more to this spectacular lookout then just the views over Bruny Island. The Neck also supports the habitat of some of the native wildlife – in particular, Fairy Penguins (or Little Penguins). The boardwalk helps to protect the ground and consequently preserves the burrows. Sometimes, at dusk, it’s possible to see the penguins returning to their homes after a day out at sea. Quite the spectacle and easily a highlight of all the top things to do in Bruny Island! However, if you visit Bruny Island for a day trip, you may be unlikely to see the penguins due to the ferry times heading to and from mainland Tasmania.
The Neck is also home to short-tailed shearwaters, Australia’s most common seabird. They’ll gather on the islands in the Bass Strait to breed, with Bruny Island being a prime residence. Septemeber–February are the best months for viewing both of these birds.
If you love Little Penguins, then you should consider a visit to Phillip Island, Victoria, which is home to a huge colony. It’s one of our favourite wildlife moments whilst travelling around Australia.
Incredibly, Bruny Island has wildlife not found anywhere else – namely the White Wallaby. But, you’ll have to be fairly lucky to see one…unless, of course, one decides to jump out into the road 20m ahead of you like it did for us. Drive carefully guys. Seeing a White Wallaby was easily a highlight for us as we made our way back to the Bruny Island ferry. We hope you’re as lucky.
White Wallabies are also known as Bennett Wallabies. A rare genetic mutation means that their fur is completely white. Some are albino, presenting pink eyes, ears and noses. Others just have white fur. You’ll likely spot them more easily around wooded areas.
Other wildlife you might spot on Bruny Island includes Echidnas, Elephant and Fur Seals, Dusky Antechinus, Albatross and Falcons. You’ll also spot plenty of Superb Fairy-Wrens, which I loved due to their vivid blue colour.
10. Bruny Island Cruises & Tours
Lastly, you might consider a Bruny Island sea cruise to enjoy this pretty island. There’s plenty of options to consider, with a cruise lasting up to 3 hours. It’s a popular way to explore the island, with many visitors arguing it’s one of the best things to do in Bruny Island. We didn’t get chance for a boat cruise, but we would certainly consider it if we were ever to return.
How to Get to Bruny Island
Bruny Island does not have bus links or taxis, so you’ll need to hire a car to explore the island to its fullest. We rented from Bargain Cars Rental via RentalCars.com at Hobart International Airport for our weeks stay in Tasmania.
If needing to hire a car, we always get the ball rolling with a search on RentalCars.com. Booking a car with RentalCars.com is easy and stress-free, plus they offer an unbeatable free cancellation policy too.
Hobart to Bruny Island
From Hobart, you will need to drive to Kettering, where the Bruny Island ferry leaves from. The drive to Kettering from Hobart takes around 40 minutes, and from here you’ll board the Sealink ferry to Bruny Island. Try to arrive at least 20 minutes before the departure time of the Bruny Island ferry you wish to catch. This is especially important during peak season.
Fares are paid as you board and automatically cover a return journey. Passengers travel free, with the fare covering the vehicle. We travelled in January 2020 and the price for the car was $38AUD ($24USD). The journey time of the ferry from Kettering to Bruny Island is around 30 minutes.
Return to Kettering on the Bruny Island Ferry
Don’t leave the return ferry from Bruny Island to Kettering too late…like for real: At around 4.30pm we were ready to head back to Hobart, hoping to either make the 5pm ferry or at the very worst 5.30pm. However, it turned out neither was going to be for us. We cannot stress enough how long the queue for the ferry gets. In all, we had to wait for 1.5 hrs and board the 6.30pm ferry. Although we have no idea whether all the cars behind us (and there were many) made it onto the 7.15pm and final ferry of the day, we can only suggest not leaving your departure too late.
That being said, to pass the time, we had many sellers hawking up and down the ferry access road flogging delicious cherries. More tasty treats to add to the Bruny Island ferry trip. Don’t mind if we do!
When Is the Best Time to Visit Bruny Island?
A visit to Bruny Island is beautiful anytime of year. Of course, a visit during the summer months brings a greater chance of enjoying a swim in the sea and a bathe on the beautiful beaches. Summer also sees the busiest months for tourists, so you can expect to see a lot more people and of course, experience the inevitable price hikes.
Bruny Island in winter is a great option to avoid the crowds and still enjoy all the beauty of a coastal walk and hopefully still spot some wildlife. Of course, spring is a great time of year for flora and fauna, and can still be relatively quiet.
We found Bruny Island to still be a relative hidden gem when it comes to beautiful destinations in Tasmania and wider Australia, and we loved how quiet many areas can be.
Bruny Island Weather
You can check the weather for Bruny Island using the Bureau of Meteorology website here.
How Long to Spend on Bruny Island?
As you can see from reading this guide, Dan and I had just one day trip on Bruny Island. It was an incredible day and we thoroughly enjoyed packing it out with all the wonderfully different things to do in Bruny Island listed above. Catching the ferry to and from Bruny Island is very straightforward, and providing you time the ferries well, very doable. Below is map illustrating our itinerary for the day.
But, if you can spare longer than a day trip in Bruny Island, then you absolutely should! There’s so much more of this island we didn’t get to explore. Plus, you’ll find your days a little more leisurely if not trying to pack everything out in one day. To that end, we reckon a trip with an overnight stay would be the ideal way to see all the incredible things Bruney Island has to offer.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best accommodation options should you decide to extend a day trip.
Bruny Island Accommodation
Below, we’ll look at some of the top-rated accommodation options in Bruny Island for all budgets, including, lodges, hotels and camping options.
Bruny Island Escapes and Hotel Bruny
There’s an accommodation option for everyone at the Bruny Island Escapes and Hotel Bruny. Whether it’s a motel-style stay, hotel or holiday cottage, Island Escapes have you covered. Prices are reasonable in the summer, but you’ll find much better bang for your buck if you visit in the shoulder season or winter.
Adventure Bay Retreat Bruny Island
Nestled in the popular Adventure Bay is the fantastic Adventure Bay Retreat Bruny Island. The accommodation features a hot tub, an open fireplace and views across Adventure Bay. It’s easily one of the most relaxing places to unwind after seeing some of the excellent things to do in Bruny Island.
Free Spirit Pods
Up on the north island of Bruny and not far from the ferry is Free Spirit Pods. The secluded tree house comes with a small kitchen, bi-fold doors onto a huge deck and exceptional views across Barnes Bay.
Bruny Island Camping
Of course, a much more budget-friendly and still fun way to stay here is to camp! Parks Tas operates a few picturesque campsites on the south of the island, including at The Neck. You can find more information on pricing and permits here.
Five Day Trip Essentials For Bruny Island
These are our five day trip essentials for Bruny Island. For a more comprehensive packing list, please check out the Ultimate Packing Checklist. It’s a great general summary of everything you’d need for a trip. For even more information check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. We go in-depth into what travel, hiking and camping gear we use. There, you’ll find specific recommendations for all the products we love.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
- Arrive early at ‘The Neck’: a popular part of any Bruny Island day trip, head here first if you want uninterrupted views of the coastline and boardwalk before it gets too busy.
- Smart packing: if, like us, you’re trying to fit as much into your day trip as possible, you may not allocate much time to sit and soak up the beach life. However, we took a quick 20 minute pit stop at the Arch and found our microfibre towels worked a treat as we’re always keen to pack as lightly as possible.
- Fuel: there’s only one fuel station on Bruny Island, located at Adventure Bay General Store.
- Local supplies: you’ll find groceries can be bought from the Adventure Bay, Alonnah and Oyster Cove general stores.
- Drive carefully: it’s imperative, especially between dusk and dawn, to drive carefully and responsibly. Animals are not in the habit of stopping and checking for cars before they dart across the road – which sadly is very common.
Liked this post? Bookmark it and let us know in the comments below how you got on.