Less than an hour from Hobart lies a wild, ravishingly beautiful island. Accessed by a small ferry from Kettering, it is, in fact, two islands – North Bruny and South Bruny – joined by The Neck, a narrow isthmus.
With a population of just 600, Bruny was not so long ago one of Tasmania’s best-kept secrets and a weekend escape for a handful of Hobartians. Now it is a wonderful addition to a Tasmanian Odyssey.
In recent years Bruny’s popularity has shot up thanks in part to the success of local cruise operator, fisherman and conservationist, Rob Pennicott and his Wilderness Journeys. While many visitors now choose to include a day trip to Bruny Island, this is really doing it a disservice; for Bruny is some 70 km in length, with only a few roads, mostly unsealed, and far more to see and do than can possibly be experienced in one day.
Day visitors beware - you can find themselves caught up in lengthy ferry queues at peak times.
If you only have a day to spare, do yourself a favour and take one of the guided day trips or invest in a private guided tour for the day; you won’t regret it. While it is fabulous for walking and surfing, with a huge diversity of landscapes and flora, Bruny Island is most famous for its birdlife. All 12 endemic birds can be found here including the endangered Forty Spotted Pardalote, and South Bruny is home to one of Australia’s leading birding retreats, a 1500 acre property.
It also has Australia’s only wild white wallabies which must have caught onto the fact that Bruny is known as Tasmania’s very own natural larder. The poorly sighted White Wallabies enjoy a predator-free existence and can be easily seen at dusk by those who know where to look. Tasmanian Odyssey guests can also expect to see the highly elusive Quoll, Poteroo and Echidna.
For an exhilarating half-day adventure, take a daily eco-cruise along the highest cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere to the edge of the Great Southern Ocean to spot albatross, dolphin, fur seals - and even whales from May to November.
Bruny’s reputation for epicurean delights is also well deserved, with an excellent winery, cheesery, oyster farm, olive Farm, a berry farm and smokehouse among other gourmet treats, all of which can be enjoyed independently or through a guided day trip, although dining out by night is still very limited.
Accommodation is still not plentiful despite its popularity, so advance booking is essential. Opt for a three-day gourmet guided walking tour which slows the pace right down and allows visitors to give it the time this beautiful island retreat deserves.