Tue, 7 May, 2019
Bruny Island gourmet destination
Just a short drive and ferry ride from Hobart, beautiful Bruny Island is the same size as Singapore, but has a population of just 650 rather than 4.5 million. There are no traffic lights, no fast food joints and just one pub and one petrol station.
Many people visit for the abundant wildlife, including rare Bennet’s white wallabies, but there are also plenty of gourmet attractions and a new art gallery – At the Point.
Check out smoked fish and delicious dips from the Bruny Island Smokehouse, a selection of artisan cheeses and wood-fired breads from Bruny Island Cheese, fresh oysters from Get Shucked and wine tastings at Bruny Island Premium Wines, Australia’s southernmost vineyard.
In summer, pick up fresh berries from the Bruny Island Berry Farm – or pick your own if you enjoy working for your supper. Quench your thirst with an island-brewed beer or cider, or feast on home-made fudge and chocolate.
Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, peace and quiet or fishing, Bruny has plenty of slow-paced attractions. Accommodation here is in tents, cottages or bed and breakfasts, rather than chain hotels. Rise when you like, go to bed when it suits you.
White wallabies are usually extremely vulnerable but have no natural predators on Bruny, where they have thrived. Also look out for nocturnal creatures like quolls and pademelons, a colony of fairy penguins and all manner of birds. Fur seals inhabit rocky outcrops and can be seen on adventure cruises operated by Rob Pennicott’s Bruny Island Cruises, the island’s major tourism operator.
Also keep a keen eye out for sea eagles, albatrosses and – during the season – dolphins and whales. Fresh from their summer holidays down south, Southern Right and Humpback whales are regularly spotted making their way north to breeding grounds during winter.
You may have to slow your car to allow an echidna to cross the road. Getting to Bruny is an adventure on its own. Drive to Kettering, south of Hobart, and then take a 15-minute car ferry ride on the Mirambeena. Bruny is close to 100 kilometres from tip to tail and can be almost deserted midweek, making it the perfect escape from city hustle and bustle with its limited mobile reception, beautiful beaches (Adventure Bay has been named among the best in Australia), dramatic scenery and striking lighthouse.
There is also a fascinating history to discover. Bruny Island was first sighted by Abel Tasman in 1642 and named after Rear Admiral Bruny d’Entrecasteaux, who visited the island in 1792-93. Captains Furneaux, Flinders, Cook and Bligh all anchored in Adventure Bay, which takes its name from Furneaux’s ship. The tiny Bligh Museum of Pacific Exploration at Adventure Bay and the Courthouse History Rooms at Alonnah are both fascinating. There are handful of cafes from which to choose, along with the iconic Hotel Bruny, and picnics featuring local produce are also very popular. Just pick your beach, flop and drop.
Written by Winsor Dobbin. Republished with permission