Bruny Island makes a wonderful adventure. Catch the ferry across from Kettering (a 35-minute drive south from Hobart) and visit all of your favourite island places. If you stay a little longer and look a little deeper, you might just unearth some hidden gems. We’ve listed six things to do on Bruny Island that are slightly off the beaten track.
1. Bird watching
Bird enthusiasts will have a fantastic time spotting and photographing Bruny Island’s abundant birdlife, including 12 species endemic to Tasmania. If you’re keen to benefit from a specialist guide, Inala Nature Tours have a passionate team of birding, wildlife and conservation enthusiasts on hand. Keep an ear out for the next Bruny Island Bird Festival (date to be advised, but estimating late 2020), which features guided tours, walks, workshops, and other interactive events.
One particularly special experience is watching the little penguins and short-tailed shearwaters make their way up the beach at the Neck to their nests in the dunes (September—April). It is important to read the Penguin Watching Guidelines before you go, so that you know what to do to protect and respect them. Sometimes there will also be a ranger on site who can answer any questions. Once you’re up to speed, wait patiently on the viewing platforms at dusk and watch the little penguins scurry adorably up the beach.
2. Walk the Dennes Point Heritage Trail
Discover why Dennes Point is an area of outstanding heritage significance on the Dennes Point Heritage Trail (1.5 km / 45 minutes return). The level, grassy track starts from the Jetty Cafe & Gallery and leads to Kelly’s Point, the northern-most tip of Bruny Island, with beautiful views out across the Channel. Read the 15 interpretation panels along the walk to learn about the region’s heritage values, including: the natural history of Dennes Point; Aboriginal presence at the site, including early contact with French explorers; and early colonial life, including farming and whaling. Dogs are allowed on-lead.
3. Explore the Bruny Island Quarantine Station
The Bruny Island Quarantine Station at Barnes Bay is a rare Tasmanian example of a late 19th century quarantine station, offering an insight into institutional attitudes towards social class and health. The maritime quarantine station was established in 1884 as a defence against infectious diseases. At the beginning of World War I, the site interned German nationals; at the end of the war it quarantined soldiers returning during the 1919 Influenza Pandemic.
Today, the site is managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service and is open from Thursday—Monday between 10am and 4pm. Visitors are welcome to explore on foot and learn about the site’s history along the Heritage Interpretive Walk. We recommend picking up some tasty island goodies on the way and enjoying a picnic lunch onsite.
4. Find the natural archway at Mars Bluff
There are many hidden gems to unearth on Bruny Island. At a certain point along the Cape Queen Elizabeth Track, you’ll happen upon an intriguing natural archway in the sand. The archway frames the view perfectly, and we feel very strongly that if you walk through it, you should make a wish. If you’d like a guide to Mars Bluff to enrich your experience, Bruny Island Safaris offer an amazing nature and bushwalking tour—with delicious local food involved!
5. Sail around the island
Feel the wind in your hair and enjoy the freedom of being out on the water on a North Bruny Day Sail with SailTas. Learn a thing or two about how to sail or just sit back and relax. Along the way, stop at some of the quiet bays and inlets to enjoy the serenity. Take in the beautiful scenery and keep an eye out for playful dolphins, seals, and whales (in season). Anchor in a sheltered bay for a delicious lunch of Tasmanian produce, then cool off with a swim or stay dry and do some sightseeing ashore.
6. Camp under the stars
Come down for air and spend a few dreamily slow nights under the stars (and maybe the Aurora Australis if you get super lucky). Camping is available at The Neck, Cloudy Corner, The Pines, and Jetty Beach (please check fees and purchase a Parks Pass when entering Tasmania’s national parks). There is also the Captain Cook Holiday Park at Adventure Bay (keep an eye out for white wallabies near the Adventure Bay entrance to the South Bruny National Park). If you’d prefer to stay somewhere a little more luxurious with such delights as solid walls and a roof, check out our full range of accommodation listings.
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