A sure-fire way to embark on an adventure is to grab a map of Australia, close your eyes, then randomly reach out for a destination.
After doing this dozens of times and having the lifelong memories, scars and friendships to show for it, I finally land on Bruny Island — located two hours’ drive south of the Tasmanian capital Hobart. I begin to envisage a modern-day Robinson Crusoe scenario; of having to survive adrenalin-fuelled challenges in one of our most southern wildernesses. Fortunately, it turns out that British and French explorers have previously charted the landscape, and paved the way for modern adventurers like me.
Here’s a guide to some of the top things to do on Bruny Island.
Taking the short car-ferry ride from Hobart, we arrive near ‘The Neck’ isthmus, which joins North and South Bruny. The Neck is the best place to begin hiking through the rainforest and along the beaches on South Bruny. There are few places in the world where you can walk with the ocean gently lapping toward your left and right simultaneously. Our shoes softly thud on the timber steps leading to Truganini Lookout. Reaching the peak we’re serenaded by singing fairy penguins as we gaze over the 360° views of Adventure Bay and Fluted Cape.
A short drive on unsealed roads takes us south to the start of Luggaboine Circuit. It’s 90 minutes of easy hiking through the South Bruny National Park. The landscape continually changes, from tight hinterland to towering cliffs, broad heathland and sweeping beaches. The circuit is one of many walking trails on the island, so we often have the views to ourselves. It’s here we encounter more of the island’s residents — including sea snakes tamely slithering under a toppled tree after sunning themselves on the warm sand.
We’re starving by the time we reach Hotel Bruny for a late lunch. The menu is filled with tasty pub grub using fresh local produce. I tuck into the Bruny Island salmon with smashed pink eye potatoes, greens and salsa verde. The scotch fillet steak with Huon Valley mushrooms becomes another reason for a return visit.
Eager to see the sun set without the wind chill, we decide to make Cape Bruny Lighthouse our final stop. Footsteps echoing over the wrought-iron spiral steps, we reach the top and enjoy our second 360° view of the day. With the vista stretching to the horizon from this 180-year-old monument, we catch sight of more eagles majestically carried by the roaring winds, screaming at the rare blue whales playing in the bay.
Darkening skies and heavy Tasman waves crashing against the island’s steep cliffs urge us to the last ferry for the day. We wave to the lighthouse keeper as the tower fades into darkness; a modern solar powered lamp nearby now lights the way for passing ships.
Do you have any tips for top things to do on Bruny Island? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Additional images: Bigstock
Barry Johnson is a freelance writer living in Sydney, but with a trail of Aussie souvenirs scattered throughout previous homes in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East. Barry believes travelling is an adventure where the highlights push you onto the next trip and the lowlights can be laughed at with hindsight. Without a passport, he’d have missed getting lost in the Californian forest a week after the Blair Witch Project went viral, building a giant Buddha on a Cambodian mountain, camel racing in an Egyptian desert and teaching English to Peruvian children as they taught him Quechuan — the language of the Incas.