A Bruny Island Adventure

After hanging out with my Coastie friends at some must-see tourist attractions around Hobart, Tasmania, there was little time left before the USCGC Polar Star headed south for its mission in Antarctica. We had just enough time for a quick visit to Bruny Island.

Bruny Island is directly south of the capitol of Hobart in the south-southeast of Tasmania, and the only practical way to get there is by ferry. The ferry terminal is about an hour from Hobart, and the ferry ride takes just under a half-hour. So, I picked up my friend Kara at the dock and off we went.

Bruny Island is home to the beautiful South Bruny National Park, a great spot for wilderness bushwalks (hikes) and other adventures. It’s also where you’ll find fur seals, fairy penguins, and if you’re really lucky, the shy and elusive white wallaby.

Breakfast of Champions, Bruny Island, Tasmania

Breakfast of Champions, Bruny Island, Tasmania – Photo courtesy of Kara Burns

It’s also a great foodie destination. Bruny Island is known for their locally produced food and premium quality wine, and this is where you’ll find Australia’s southern-most vineyard. You’ll also find hand-made fudge, chocolate, truffles, berries, cheese, and my favorite, delicious fresh oysters.

There are some excellent restaurants and cafés scattered across the island. Unfortunately, none are open for breakfast, so we ended up at a small grocery store where we scored the delicious items shown in the photo – mocha lattes, raisin bread, and cream cheese. And not just any raisin bread – this was Rich Cinnamon & Port Raisin Bread! Oh well, it would get better.

Fluted Cape Walk, Bruny Island, Tasmania

Fluted Cape Walk, Bruny Island, Tasmania – Map courtesy of Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service

Next we drove as far as we could along Adventure Bay to the trailhead for the Fluted Cape Walk. This is one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, many of which I had already done on this trip. The Fluted Cape Walk is a circuit (round-trip) walk that starts out along the East Cove of Adventure Bay at Grass Point and heads up the coast to the end of the bay, where the trail turns southeast and heads back down to Fluted Cape before returning to the trailhead.

The trail first passes through open grassland where structures that are the visible remains of the bay whaling industry can be seen. Southern Right Whales now return to Adventure Bay during their annual migration.

Albino Bennett’s Wallaby, South Bruny National Park, Tasmania

A rare treat for any visitor to Bruny Island in Tasmania is a glimpse at an elusive albino wallaby, in South Bruny National Park, Tasmania, Australia.

After this the trail climbs steeply from near sea level up to the top of cliffs that tower high above the water below. While I’m busy photographing the cliff faces from the edge of the trail, Kara spots one of the rare albino wallabies that live here. She whispers to me to come take a look, so I quickly swap out my wide angle zoom for a telephoto and follow her to the spot of the sighting. Sure enough the wallaby is still there, quite a bit off the trail and hiding back in the forest. I’m able to very quietly get off only two shots before it disappears deep into the forest. We both feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity. We spotted other wallabies along the trail, but no more albinos.

We were tired and hungry after the hike, so we started looking at our restaurant options. We decided to try Bruny Island Premium Wines Bar and Grill for a late lunch, which turned out to be an excellent choice! We sat out on the deck overlooking the vineyard, and I started the meal in the usual way for this trip – with delicious raw Tasmanian oysters!

Ed and Kara, Bruny Island Premium Wines Bar and Grill, Tasmania,

Ed and Kara enjoy glasses of Pinot Noir with lunch, at the Bruny Island Premium Wines Bar and Grill on Bruny Island, in Tasmania, Australia.

Then it was time for a wallaby burger. Hey, what can I say, it’s Tasmania and they’re everywhere! And of course the wine was excellent. They grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes here, and their two-hectare block of vines has to be protected by an encircling electric fence – it turns out that wallabies and possums love the grapes as much as we love the wine! I didn’t ask if the wallaby for my wallaby burger was caught in the electric fence or run over on the road.

As we were leaving the winery grounds we saw some emergency vehicles heading off down the road in a big hurry. We were heading the same way to look for a lighthouse, and so we eventually caught up with them. They were at the scene of a puzzling one-car accident. There, sitting in the middle of a perfectly straight and beautifully maintained unsealed (gravel) road was what had previously been a perfectly good SUV – lying on its head. My first thought was: tourists! Next, I’m thinking I wouldn’t want to have to explain that one to the rental car agency.

Cape Bruny Lighthouse, South Bruny National Park, Tasmania, Australia

The Cape Bruny LIghthouse, built in 1838, is the longest continually staffed remaining lighthouse in Australia, in South Bruny National Park, Tasmania, Australia.

So we kept going about as far southwest as you can go on the island to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse. The area was famous for a series of mishaps and shipwrecks south of Bruny Island, including the catastrophic wreck of the convict transport, George III. Remember the convicts from Let’s Go To Prison!? So in 1835, Governor George Arthur agreed to erect a lighthouse to guide vessels. It became Tasmania’s third and Australia’s fourth lighthouse when it opened in 1838. It is now Australia’s second oldest and longest continually staffed remaining lighthouse.

After this it was time to head back to the ferry terminal. We timed our arrival there so we could catch the second-to-last ferry of the day, just in case other folks had the same idea. It seems that accommodation on the island is rather limited, and this being the high season, we didn’t fancy sleeping in the car that night. It turns out that our fears were unwarranted. At the end of the day, the ferry operators throw out the schedule and just do round-trips until the last car in line is safely off the island, but we didn’t know that. Better safe than sorry. (Did I really just say that?)

Two days later, the Polar Star left Hobart on its way across the Southern Ocean to Antarctica. The crew completed their mission successfully and everyone is now home with their families, awaiting the next adventure – as am I!

Coastline along the Fluted Cape Walk, Bruny Island National Park

Turquoise waters line the coastline below the Fluted Cape Walk, in Bruny Island National Park, Tasmania, Australia.

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2 Responses to “A Bruny Island Adventure”

  1. Max Pillie says:

    Hi Ed,
    Nice article. What does Wallaby taste like?