Bruny Island, Tasmania
20 Nov 20 · 4 mins read
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Located on the south-eastern coast of Tasmania, just off the Tasmanian mainland, Bruny island is a popular travel destination for visitors to Tasmania, being an ideal spot for a day trip from Hobart, or for an extended stay in its unspoiled wilderness. Characterised by its towering dolerite cliffs in some parts, and by its pristine white sand beaches in others, Bruny Island‘s diverse landscape is an impressive spectacle for visitors, and features a rich natural ecosystem home to a large variety of Tasmania‘s endemic wildlife. Spanning approximately 50km along its length, Bruny Island is technically two separate islands joined along the centre by a narrow isthmus known as ‘the neck’, with the larger South Bruny being home to the island‘s main town Alonnah. Bruny Island is also well known for its local produce, being home to its own cheeses and wine, making a perfect treat for lunch or afternoon tea, and a must see stop on a Tasmania tour. Bruny’s location away from the lights of the larger towns also makes it a perfect location to observe the Aurora Australis, that is if you’re lucky enough to catch it.
Originally inhabited by Tasmania‘s aboriginal population, the island was first sighted by European explorers around the year 1642 by Dutch Explorer Abel Tasman, for whom the island of Tasmania gained its namesake. Despite being first sighted in the 17th century, Europeans never set foot on this island until the year 1773, when British Captain Tobias Furneaux made landfall on its eastern coast, naming it ‘Adventure Bay‘ after his ship. Several years later Captain James Cook also made landfall, carving his initials into a tree to mark the way of his passage. The namesake of Bruny Island, however, comes from a French explorer Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, who was the first to sail along the islands western approach, confirming it as a distinct island rather than part of the Tasmanian mainland. Throughout much of its history post European settlement, Bruny Island operated as a small outpost for the lumber, and whaling industries, with only a small local population. However, as the 20th century came around, the island came to be associated mainly with its beaches and national parks, becoming a popular destination for travellers and local surfers, drawn to the islands’ natural beauty.
Bruny Island is home to some of Tasmania‘s most rare and unique wildlife, being particularly noted for its bird-life, some of which, like the forty-spotted pardalotte, are found only in southeast Tasmania. As well as the abundance of endemic Tasmanian bird life, Bruny Island is also home to a large population of fur seals, which can often be found along its rocky shores, as well as elephant seals, fairy penguins, dolphins, and even the occasional whale. Further inland you can find other Australian natives such as the platypus and echidna, as well as a population of white wallabies, which due to a rare genetic mutation have distinctive white fur.
Travelling to Bruny Island
Bruny Island‘s proximity to Hobart, Tasmania‘s capital city, makes it a popular destination for visitors, with plenty of ways to make your way there and enjoy what Bruny Island has to offer. For those going by car, you can make your way from Hobart and take the ferry over to North Bruny, these ferries come regularly and are a great way to expedite your trip for those coming by wheels. Alternatively, you can make your way to Bruny Island via boat, this is an equally popular way to visit Bruny Island, particularly for those on a day trip, with cruises operating frequently throughout the area. On a tour of Bruny Island, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes for stunning natural landscapes, whether you’re going around the island on a cruise, or sticking to the mainland. This having been said there are a few choice spots that you won’t want to miss on a Bruny Island tour. The first, and easily the most recognisable of these spots would be the Truganini lookout. The lookout sits along the isthmus between North and South Bruny, with an incredible view over the ‘neck’ which connects the two, with beaches stretching along both sides. Truganini lookout is one of Bruny’s most iconic spots and is perfect for photo opportunities, so be sure to bring your camera.
Just south of the isthmus you can find Adventure bay, the place where Europeans first landed on Bruny Island. Here at Adventure bay you can find a long sandy beach, with fantastic views over the ocean, making it an ideal place to stop for morning tea or lunch, or for those looking for a retreat. Near the southernmost tip of the island you can find the historic Cape Bruny Lighthouse, first lit in 1838, the lighthouse is one of the oldest in Australia, as well as the longest operating, continuously operating all the way up until 1996. Cape Bruny Lighthouse is a fantastic spot to visit on a tour to Bruny Island, with the figure of the historic lighthouse enhancing the dramatic vista overlooking the tall sea cliffs and great southern ocean. Bruny Island isn’t just known for its natural attractions, its also a hotspot for those looking for a culinary experience. While on a day tour, you’ll want to make time for cheese tasting, wine tasting, as well as some freshly shucked oysters, all of which are wholly native to the island. ‘Bruny Island Cheese‘, as well as ‘Get Shucked’, one of Bruny’s best spots for oysters, are both found just north of the neck on North Bruny, and are some of the highlights of Bruny Island food. One of the best way to experience what Bruny Island has to offer is with a small group tour. Odyssey specialises in this kind of tour, offering an engaged and intimate tour of Bruny Island ideal for seniors, solo travellers and couples heading to Australia and Tasmania.
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