Bruny Island Day Tour – self drive
From Three Beaches at Eggs and Bacon Bay in the Huon Valley, you will be driving north past picturesque Randalls Bay with its sandstone cliffs & pretty boats, up the hill & turning right onto Channel Hwy. This is a lovely scenic coastal drive which will take you past Ninepin Point Beach at Verona Sands which has great views of Bruny Island, Huon Island & the smaller Satellite Island. Dolphins are frequently spotted here. There is a picnic table, parking & BBQ area if you are in the mood to stop. A few minutes on, you will find Ninepin Point Marine Reserve unique because the tree bark tannins from the Huon River mix with the estuary water creating a tea-coloured seawater where a diverse array of animals & plants usually only found in very deep waters, have managed to flourish. This is a great place for rockpool exploration, finding flotsam & jetsam & best for scuba diving to see marine life. Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife recommend a snorkel in the shallows, on high visibility days, will also reveal a diverse range of marine flora & fauna.
Bruny Island Ferry
Park your car on Bruny Island Ferry & stroll for the views - photo credit Adam Gibson
Options on the way to/from The Neck Bruny Island
- Bruny Island House of Whisky – 5 minutes from the ferry drop off, the House of Whisky offers a range of paid whisky, vodka, sherry & gin tastings with gourmet platters while enjoying the water views & a cozy fire in the cooler months. Set in a stone building with well-kept gardens & sculpture. Open 10am – 5.00pm 7 days during the cooler months. Check with them in advance to confirm summer hours which has the business opening longer & with a larger range of food options.
- Get Shucked - About 10 minutes from the ferry terminal you can call in at Get Shucked Oyster Farm & Licensed Oyster Bar. Have an oyster overload while soaking up the water views from this contemporary, nautical styled eatery, with a variety of natural & cooked oysters & even an oyster pate teamed with specially selected Tasmanian spirits, wine, cider & beer to complement. If you don’t feel like oysters, don’t worry, you can have salmon, salad, sourdough bread or chips – all the food groups covered! Tasmanian Valhalla icecream choc tops for sweets, but you will have to move on to the next Bruny Island eatery for coffee. You can have a wander & see the oysters being sorted & shucked. Dashing to make ferry back to Kettering? No worries, Get Shucked boasts the world’s only Oyster Drive Thru selling shucked & live oysters! Open 9.30am – 4.30pm 7 days (except Christmas & Boxing Day)
- Bruny Island Cheese Co – 5 minutes on from Get Shucked is the Bruny Island Cheese (& Beer) Co where you can have a locally made delicious cheese platter & craft beer under the eucalypts or opt for lunch, coffee & cake. You can chat to the cheese & beer makers & get some local knowledge about the area. Open 9am - 5pm 7 days.
After disembarking, take the B66 (Bruny Island Main Road) south to the narrow isthmus of land that joins north and south Bruny Island, known as The Neck. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the ferry if you don’t stop. There are stairs & a tourist viewing platform which provide spectacular views of Bruny Island's Adventure Bay & Mount Wellington in Hobart. Photos don’t do it justice & there are selfie opportunities galore. There are viewing platforms to see the Bruny Island Fairy Penguins who return to their burrows at dusk. In the first half of June, the sun sets around 4.40pm, so the winter months can be ideal to see penguins & still get the last Bruny Island ferry at 7.15pm to be back to Kettering from Bruny Island in one day.
The Neck Bruny Island - superb views & penguins at dusk - photo credit Julia Smith
WHAT TO DO ON BRUNY ISLAND in a day
Bruny Island Day Tour – Huon Valley via d’Entrecasteaux Channel to Bruny Island
Bruny Island is a haven for foodies & popular tourist destination for its pristine scenery, historic quirks & unique wildlife - the world’s only white wallabies are found here. Stunning water views wherever you go are almost mandatory & visitors can find boutique cheeseries (Grandvewe & Bruny Island Cheese Co have some of the best award-winning cheese in the world), oysters, honey, chocolate, beer, wine, whisky & many other delights. Depart early as there is a wealth of things to do & you won't be able to do everything listed here in one day, but you can cherry pick your most desirable experiences or opt to do only a few of the 5 suggested legs of our handy What To Do On Bruny Island Guide below.
TOP TIPS BEFORE YOU GO
You will be visiting Cape Bruny Lighthouse - the scene of the best selling, award winning books The Alphabet of Light and Dark by Tasmanian author Danielle Wood & The Lightkeeper's Wife by Karen Viggers - dive into the Three Beaches copies for inspiration before you depart!
The Friars rocks on Bruny Island - photo credit Bruny Island Cruises
Options on the way to/from Cape Bruny Lighthouse
- Courthouse History Room - run by the volunteer Bruny Island Historical Society, the Courthouse was built in 1938 & used as a Court of Petty Sessions until the 1970's. This small History Room opened in 1997 offering archival records, maps, newspaper clippings, photographs, artefacts & books on Aboriginal, convict & social history, local industry, info on walks & attractions around Bruny Island & more. Entry is free & via the Post Office next door. Open 10am - 3pm, 7 days.
- Hotel Bruny – the Island pub with bistro serving classic pub meals like the chicken parma & lamb roast from locally sourced produce with local beverages to match. Open log fires in winter & great water views of course! Open every day except Christmas 11am until late.
- Bruny Island Premium Wines - a family run enterprise claiming the title of Australia's southernmost vineyard! Featuring pinot noir, chardonnay & cider, there is a good menu with vegetarian options for lunch in winter & lunch/dinner in summer on the scenic property. May - September open 7 days 11am - 4pm, October - April open 7 days 11am - 5pm, Thu - Sat 6 - 9.30pm
From the Neck, it is about 50 minutes to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse & South Bruny National Park via Lighthouse Rd C629 without stops. The lighthouse was first lit in 1838 & is the longest continuously manned lighhouse in Australia. Also the setting of Danielle Wood's 2002 Australian Vogel award winning novel The Alphabet of Light & Dark which explores personal family & Tasmanian colonial past & Karen Vigger's The Lightkeeper's Wife - a 2011 novel of love, loss & the passage of life. Both authors were inspired by the lighthouse's wildness & solitude. Spectacular views from the top of the lighthouse can only be enjoyed by joining a Cape Bruny Lighthouse Tour. The 30-minute tours run approximately every 45 minutes from 10am to 4pm 7 days & cost $15. Sunset tours are available on Fridays & Saturdays & it is best to book in advance. Tourist info & free walks can be enjoyed near the lighthouse where you may see albatross, gannets, short tailed shearwaters, wedge tailed eagles & migrating whales.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse Bruny Island - photo credit Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett
What to do on Bruny Island - Bruny Island Day trip updated September 2019
Adventure Bay was named after Captain Cook’s ship, which landed in 1777, eleven years before Australia was officially colonised by the English. Head back up Lighthouse Rd C629. If you are adventurous, have a 4 wheel drive vehicle & are up for a bush bash, you can choose to turn right at the Lunnawanna junction & go via the C629 which becomes Coolangatta Rd to Adventure Bay. The scenery is beautiful but this is an old forestry road no longer maintained by the Council. It is actually much quicker & safer in a standard hire vehicle to go back the way you came via B66 Bruny Island Main Rd.
White wallabies only on Bruny Island - photo credit Tourism Tasmania & Nick Osborne
Options on the way to the Bruny Island Ferry from Adventure Bay
- Bruny Island Chocolate Company – a sweet little shop with mouth-watering hand-made fudge, truffles & chocolates, souvenirs & gifts including toys for kids. Something for every budget.
- Fairy Penguin viewing at the Neck – this is best done in the cooler months of the year when the sun sets before 5pm, if you want to be sure to catch the last ferry at 7.15pm. It takes approximately 20 minutes to drive to Bruny Island ferry from the Neck, but be sure to arrive in plenty of time to board.
- Get Shucked Oysters - need to get back to the ferry pronto? Get Shucked has Australia's only Oyster Drive Thru selling shucked & live oysters! Open 9.30am – 4.30pm 7 days (except Christmas & Boxing Day). Grab some mouth wateringly fresh oysters to take home for dinner.
Head up Adventure Bay Rd C630 & just after the Bruny Island Chocolate Co, turn right onto B66 Bruny Island Main Rd. It will take around 40 minutes to get back to Roberts Point ferry departure terminal with no stops. Once you disembark from the ferry at Kettering, turn left onto Channel Hwy back the way you came, but this time turn right onto the C627 Woodbridge Hill Rd at Woodbridge (at Woodbridge Village Store). This is a pretty drive which will take you back to Eggs & Bacon Bay in around 20 minutes - turn left back onto Channel Hwy where Woodbridge Hill Rd ends & you will soon ascend to the top of Echo Sugarloaf Mountain & the Randalls Bay Rd turnoff on the right to get to Three Beaches. Take care if driving at dusk to avoid wildlife which likes to roam onto roads after sunset.
Get Shucked Oysters Bruny Island Drive Thru oyster bar - photo credit Adam Gibson
Options on the way to/from Bruny Island ferry
- Sculpture Trail at the Art Farm Birch’s Bay - a pleasant 30-45-minute walk through the farm & bushland featuring sculpture exhibits by local artists. Rest on the carved stone bench at the top of the hill with fabulous water views. Open 9am – 5pm every day
- Brunch or afternoon tea at Grandvewe Sheep Cheesery at Birch's Bay. This working sheep farm has a café showcasing their sheep’s cheeses – you can even get sheep’s milk ice cream, chocolate or a ‘Ewecino’. Soak up some superb views over to Bruny Island & then sample their-award winning sheep’s whey gin, vodka & liqueur. They won the World Gin Awards gold medal in 2018. Browse the gift shop, tour the cheesemaking facilities, have a wander around & pat a sheep! At the right time of year (usually spring) you can bottle feed a lamb & even see lambs being born. Open 10am – 5pm 7 days
- Woodbridge village – first European settlement 1847. Take a stroll on the waterfront walking paths – there is a kids’ playground, public toilets, seating & BBQ facilities plus a general store/cafe, restaurant/bar, art & craft gallery, cute little country post office, church, school & a monthly market in the community hall. Dolphin sightings are not uncommon. Your wander around this small village will reveal some unexpected treasures like the Woodbridge Village Street Library which is like a cross between a dolls' house & a letterbox & is a free public library, modelled on the Woodbridge Community Hall. Book collections are freely donated & collected by locals & visitors. If you have a book you want to donate, just place it in the street library. If you find a book you would like to read, take it with you, then pass it on to someone else or drop it back in the next Street Library you see!
- Woodbridge Village Store – built circa 1910, this is a general store with a nice little café, art, jewellery & souvenirs for sale. Open Mon - Thu 7.30am - 5.30pm, Fri 7.30am - 5pm, Sat 8am - 5pm, Sun 8.30am - 4pm
- Woodbridge Market - held in the community hall monthly, this mostly indoor market is equal parts daggy & gorgeously quaint & attracts a variety of stalls with arts & crafts, live music, books, vintage finds, massage, toys, locally handcrafted body products, plants & seedlings, fresh produce, gourmet treats, souvenirs, coffee & hot food. There is also a kids' play area! Open 10am - 2pm on the second Saturday of every month.
- Peppermint Bay licensed restaurant/café/bar in Woodbridge has a welcoming architectural design showcasing glorious views of its eponymous bay. Visitors are welcome to roam beautiful seaside gardens which also include working vegetable plots furnishing much of the seasonal menu giving diners the highly sought paddock to plate experience. Meat is house cured & bread & pastries are baked onsite daily. The bar has a splendid choice of curated Tasmanian wine, beer, cider, spirits & liqueurs. Great coffee, friendly staff & dolphins appear for the attentive & lucky visitor from time to time. Open 11am – 5pm Sun – Wed, 11am – 9pm Thu – Sat
- Woodbridge Art & Craft Gallery - locally made arts & crafts, featuring oil paintings, sculptures & jewellery made from Tasmanian gemstones. Open 7 days 11.30am – 4pm September through May, Saturdays & Sundays only during winter (June – August). The owners welcome you to visit by appointment at other times, & they have personally told me to let visitors know they can just go around the back & knock on the door to see if they are in!
- The Woodbridge Smokehouse is set in a pretty, organic apple orchard & uses their own apple wood to smoke trout & salmon caught locally in the cleanest water in the world. Have a yarn to the makers of this handcrafted product & take some with you to enjoy later. Open Thursdays & Fridays 10am - 4pm.
At Kettering, turn right onto Ferry Rd & head down to the Bruny Island ferry terminal. At peak times such as public holidays, queues can occasionally be long – luckily Bruny Island Gateway is a great licensed café where you can get refreshments while you wait. Lovely views over the marina & it is fun for kids to watch the Bruny Island ferry depositing their cargo of vehicles. Staff are in sync with the Bruny Island ferry departure schedule & are used to getting you served before departure. There are souvenirs & gifts for sale as well as a Tourist Information Centre.
SPECIAL OFFER - Three Beaches guests get 10% off their meal at Bruny Island Gateway Cafe if you call to let them know you are coming - 61 3 6267 4494.
Open 7am – 5pm 7 days in summer. Closes 3pm in winter June – August.
Established in 1954, the Bruny Island ferry is the only public transport to Bruny Island. Ferries run 6.30am - 7pm daily approximately every hour June - September & approximately every 30 minutes October - May. Arrival to the Bruny Island ferry departure point at least 20 minutes before departure is advised. If you are early, don't worry - after paying for your passage, you are allowed to park your vehicle & visit Bruny Island Gateway, the licensed cafe & takeaway at the ferry terminal, as long as you are back at the vehicle 10 minutes prior to scheduled ferry departure. There are souvenirs & a Tourist Info Centre who can make tour & accommodation bookings on your behalf. Take note of the last Bruny Island to Kettering ferry timetabled departure time because missing it will mean you are spending the night on the island! The ferry takes about 20 minutes to Bruny Island & is a very calm & sheltered journey. Passengers can leave their car & enjoy the views of the Channel & Bruny Island. Check out the Bruny Island Ferry timetable & prices here.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Essential items to pack – apart from your usual essentials like smartphone, bottled water & sunscreen – do make sure you bring clothing for a change of weather PLUS a chiller bag to take superb hand-crafted cheese, smoked salmon, trout, oysters, chocolate, berries & other delicious edible loot back with you.
Bruny Island was one of the first parts of Tasmania to be explored by early seafarers. The Dutch were the first to arrive in 1642 when Abel Tasman sailed into what is now known as Adventure Bay. In 1773 Tobias Furneaux, who was exploring the coastline with Captain James Cook, anchored his vessel, the Adventure (after whom the island's main bay has been named), off the island's coast. Four years later, Cook sailed the Resolution and Discovery into Adventure Bay and stayed for two days. The land was inhabited by the Nuenonne band of the South East tribe of Aborigines. Mangana, father of Truganini – perhaps Australia’s best-known Aboriginal woman - was the chief at that time. Their name for the Island was Alonnah Lunawanna & two of the towns on Bruny Island bear these names today. The island is named after the French explorer Bruni d'Entrecasteaux who explored the Channel region and discovered it to be an island in 1792. It was known as Bruni Island until 1918, when the spelling was changed to Bruny.
Captain William Bligh, of mutiny on the Bounty fame, re-visited Bruny Island in 1788 (on the voyage which later led to the infamous mutiny) & planted apple trees & grapevines at Adventure Bay. The descendants of these apple trees are said to be there today. This apple tree planting was the first known planting in the Huon Valley / Channel region, later developing into southern Tasmania’s famous apple, pear, blueberry, strawberry & cherry fruit growing industry which is still thriving.
Early European settlement commenced with Captain James Kelly's grant of land on North Bruny in 1818, followed closely by shore-based whaling stations in the 1820s. Convict labour was used to establish a pilot station at Variety Bay from 1831 & the Cape Bruny Lighthouse in 1836.
Options to/from Adventure Bay
- Inala Jurassic Garden & Nature Museum - just before you get to Lunawanna, you can take a right where Lighhouse Rd (C629) turns into Cloudy Bay Rd (C644). A 4 minute diversion will take you to Inala Jurassic Garden, highlighting the Gondwanan connections of a range of living plant families whose ancient ancestors thrived in the Jurassic period when the Gondwanan Supercontinent started splitting apart (about 185 million years ago) to form the southern land-masses that we now know as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America and New Caledonia, this garden displays over 600 species. There are strong connections between the Nature Museum and the Jurassic Garden, with many of the ancient fossils on display also featuring as living versions just outside in the Garden. Nature & wildlife tours operate from here or you can do a self-guided tour of the Jurassic Garden & Museum 7 days a week between 9am and 5pm. Adults $10, Children $5 entry fee.
- If you did not get to Bruny Island Premium Wines or Hotel Bruny, this is another opportunity to stop in on your way to Adventure Bay.
Adventure Bay Beach
Adventure Bay beach is long (3km), clean, rated in the least hazardous category by Surf Lifesaving Australia & a top spot to walk, swim or relax on the sand. A popular tourist destination, it has public toilets, parking, BBQ facilities, a general store with takeaway food & drink (the only place to get fuel) & a playground.
Adventure Bay Eateries
- The Penguin & Pardalote Coffee House at Adventure Bay is groovy, licensed & serves meals, crepes, good coffee & is a welcome addition to the eatery options. Open 8.30am – 4pm Thu – Mon.
- Bruny Island Cruises Seafood Restaurant – a clean & contemporary restaurant with your pick of breathtaking ocean views. The visitor centre offers clothing, books, wine and artisan giftware for sale. Restaurant open 9am - 3pm 7 days.
Adventure Bay Culture & History
- The entry to the Bruny Island Cruises Visitor Centre is via a sculptural spiral staircase fusion depicting a whaleboat entwined with a whale rib created from local Tasmanian Oak, Huon Pine, driftwood and brass. Only 2m shorter than historic whaleboats, the sculpture invites the viewer to reflect on human relationships with nature past & present. Open 9am - 4pm 7 days
- The Bruny Island Bligh Museum is privately owned, quaint & worth a visit. Built from recycled 1867 convict made bricks in 1955, it offers a specialised collection about South Pacific exploration. Maps, documents, paintings and other artefacts offer a historical record of visits to Adventure Bay by William Bligh on the infamous mutiny on the Bounty voyage, Abel Tasman, James Cook, Tobias Furneaux, Matthew Flinders, Bruny D'Entrecasteaux & the aboriginal island inhabitants when they arrived. Open 10am – 4pm 7 days (except Christmas & Boxing Day). Admission $4 adults, $2 children
- Adventure Bay is the departure point for one of Australia’s best wilderness & wildlife boat tours. The eco-certified Pennicott’s Bruny Island Cruise is a three-time Australia’s Best Tourist Attraction award winner & takes visitors on a 3-hour tour of breathtaking rugged scenery & sea caves with frequent up close sightings of seals, dolphins, migrating whales and sea birds. Cruises depart at 11 am every day of the year, but if you are visiting in summer (December – April), you can easily catch the 10am or 1.30pm tour & spend the other half of the day exploring Adventure Bay, the Neck & all of the great attractions in between this popular tourist spot & the Bruny Island ferry.
RETURNING BACK TO BRUNY ISLAND FERRY & Three Beaches
White wallabies are Bennett's wallabies (Macropus Rufogriseus) with a rare mutation that gives them their white fur. Some have only the white coat, others are albinos & have a white coat & pink eyes. They are nocturnal & start to venture out of the scrub around dusk to graze on grassy foliage. A wander along Lockleys Rd as the light fades should bring you within cooee of these gentle creatures. Be careful not to miss the last ferry at 7.15pm.
BRUNY ISLAND – GOOD TO KNOW
Adventure Bay General Store is the only place on the island for fuel. It has takeaway coffee, ice creams, food & drinks, grocery items, toiletries & other traveller essentials. It also has an Electric Vehicle charging station. Open 7.30am – 6.30pm 7 days