Bruny Island Road Trip – Tasmania’s ultimate hidden gem

Are you visiting Tasmania and considering a Bruny Island Road Trip?  This island off an island off an island is a popular spot for visitors to Tasmania.  Bruny Island has beautiful coastal scenery, fantastic short walks and is renowned for its oysters, cheese and wines. 

Bruny Island is just a short distance from Hobart making it perfect for a day trip.  However, there are so many things to do on Bruny Island, we recommend spending a couple of days over here.

We recently spent three nights on Bruny island and this is our comprehensive guide on all the best things to do on Bruny Island. 

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Bruny Island Road Trip Map, map of Bruny Island
Click here to open this Bruny Island Road Trip Map in Google Maps

Getting There

You get to Bruny island by vehicle ferry from Kettering, which is around 40 minutes drive south of Hobart.  The ferry is operated by Sealink Ferries and runs continuously throughout the day from around 6am to 7pm.  The journey takes around 20 minutes to travel from Kettering to Roberts Point.

The Bruny Island ferry costs $50.60 for cars, $86.50 for vehicles 6m-10m and $120 for vehicles over 10m (which includes cars towing trailers or caravans). Passengers are included in the vehicle price. 

 While you can purchase your ticket online, you can’t reserve a spot, so if there’s a line in front of you, you still need to wait. Check the Sealink Ferries website for up to date information on the Bruny Island Ferry cost.

Getting Around

You will need a vehicle to get around Bruny Island, unless you are doing a day tour from Hobart.   You can hire a car or campervan in Hobart.  There are several great campgrounds here, so a campervan is perfect for a Bruny Island road trip.

If you have limited time, we suggest a Bruny Island Day Trip from Hobart.  

Best time for a Bruny Island Road Trip

Bruny Island is at the far south of Tasmania, so the temperatures can be lower than the rest of the state.  Like all of Tasmania, the weather can be unpredictable, and quite changeable throughout the day.

Summertime can be mild and pleasant on Bruny Island, although there can be strong winds.  We had two beautiful days, and the third day it began to rain.

Bruny Island can get very busy in holiday periods.  We came off Bruny Island on Australia Day (Friday) morning, and the line up for people waiting to get onto the ferry to Bruny extended back several kilometres!

Man on rock pillar at Fluted Cape, Bruny Island, Tasmania

How long do you need for Bruny Island?

It’s definitely possible to do a Bruny Island Day Trip from Hobart, but if you want to do some of the walks, and see the entire island we suggest three days. Here is our suggested Bruny Island Itinerary, with the best things to do on Bruny Island. This itinerary is ideal if you’re travelling with a campervan, caravan or even a tent.

3 Day Bruny Island Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Hobart to the Neck

Drive south from Hobart to Kettering, where you will board the Bruny Island Ferry.  The Ferry runs every 40 minutes with the journey taking around 20 minutes.  Once you are on the island, there is one main road that takes you south.  

Get Shucked

It seems that EVERYONE stops off at Get Shucked for oysters.  You can stop and sit down and have a variety of oysters with drinks, or get takeaway oysters through the drive-through window!  Nigel reports that the oysters here are very good.

Get Shucked is open 9:30am to 4:30pm daily, and a dozen takeaway oysters (shucked) cost $29.

Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Company

Continue your food tour of Bruny Island with a visit to the Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Company.  You can get cheese tasting plates and beer tasting paddles here – a great place to stop for lunch!

Cape Queen Elizabeth Hike

The Cape Queen Elizabeth Hike departs from a small carpark just by the Bruny Island Airstrip.  The highlight of this hike is the rock arch down on the beach.  The arch is accessible from the beach side at low tide only.  We arrived about an hour after the low tide, and had to dash and scramble around the rocks to avoid getting wet.  

The walk itself is quite flat although you’ll be waking through soft sand for a lot of the time.  The path is quite overgrown in places so you’re advised to wear long pants or gaiters.

If the tide is too high you can walk over the Mars Bluff, which adds around 100m of elevation to your walk.  You can still see the arch at high tide.

Along the way you’ll see seabirds in the bay out to your right, and perhaps some wallabies in the large open area on the left.

Couple at Cape Queen Elizabeth Rock Arch, Bruny Island

The Neck & Truganini Lookout

Heading further south you will come to the Neck, a narrow sliver of land connecting North Bruny and South Bruny.  At the northern end of the Neck is a small carpark leading up to the Truganini lookout where you can get the Insta-famous photo.  There are wooden steps leading up to the lookout and the views from here are incredible.

At the lookout there is a memorial to Truganini, one of the last Tasmanian aboriginals, who died in 1876.  

TIP: you will get a better photo in the morning. In the afternoon the sun isn’t in the best position.

This area is also a rookery for little penguins and shearwaters, migratory birds that build their nests in burrows here.  You can see penguins and shearwaters returning to their burrows just after sunset, but you’ll need a double layer of red cellophane paper over your torch.  Wear dark clothing and remain silent so as not to scare the penguins or birds.  The burrows are visible all over the hill up to the lookout.

There are toilets at the carpark and it does get very busy.

couple at the Neck Lookout, Bruny Island

Neck Beach Camping Ground and Day use area

Just after driving over the Neck, you’ll come to the Neck Beach Campground.  It costs $10 a night for 2 people to camp here.  Sites are not numbered, so it’s first in, best spot.  You need to pay cash and display the receipt on your dash or attach to your tent.

There are drop toilets and water here.  The water is not treated so it should be boiled for 3 minutes before drinking.  

Access to the beach is by a small path, and the beach is BEAUTIFUL.  There are waves here and although small (when we visited) there were a couple of people out surfing.

We walked from here to the Truganini lookout at the north end of the Neck.  It was a 6.5km return walk, including walking up the steps.

Bruny Island Beach

Day 2 – The Neck to Jetty Beach

Bruny Bread Fridge

The Bruny Bread Fridge is an icon for locals and visitors alike.  The story we heard is that it was set up by a local scientist who was out of work during Covid.  Whether that story is true or not, the local baker stocks the fridge several times a day with delicious sourdough, sultana bread, anzac biscuits and more yummy baked goods.  

The fridge runs on an honesty system, so bring cash.  When we visited the sourdough was $8 a loaf, and the sultana bread was $10.  The Bruny Baker stocks the fridge at 9am and 2pm most days, but there is a sign there stating when the next delivery is due.  

We were lucky and arrived at 10:20am and the fridge was stocked again at 10.30.  There were already several people waiting when we arrived – it certainly is a popular place.

woman at bruny bread fridge

Adventure Bay

Adventure Bay is one of the few “towns” on Bruny Island.  As the name suggests, it’s located on a bay, and the beach here is BEAUTIFUL.  There is a small general store here (with a tap where you can fill your water tanks – pay $2 in the store).  There are several Day Use carparks here with public toilets.  

Bruny Island Cruises

The “Yellow Boat” departs from the end of the road at Adventure Bay.  This 3 hour Bruny Island cruise takes you along the coast, with breath-taking views of the sea-cliffs, rock pillars and sea caves.  If you’re lucky you may spot wildlife including dolphins and seals, and seabirds like albatross.  The cruise costs $155 for adults (price rising to $175 on 1st April 2024).  

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys also offer a full day Bruny Island Cruise from Hobart.

Globe sculpture at Adventure Bay

Fluted Cape Hike

The Fluted Cape Hike leaves from a small carpark at the end of the road that passes through Adventure Bay.  The first 200m on the walk is along the beach, and then the path leads up into bush, following the coast.

After a few hundred metres you will come to a fork, and the trail loops here.  If you take the clockwise loop you will walk UP the steep part, and the anti-clockwise loop leads up the less steep part and down the steeper way.  I have bad knees so we chose to walk clockwise.

The path follows the coast to the site of the old whaling station at Grass Point.  The first European settler on Bruny Island was James Kelly who established a whaling station at Grass Point.  Southern Right Whales were hunted here until it was not longer profitable (simply because they’d killed too many whales!) and the whaling station was abandoned in the 1840s.

After Grass Point you’ll head up the hill.  The walk up is amazing with so many great places to stop and look over the bays.  You’ll see lots of “flutes”, rock pillars, and you can see across the Neck and all the way to Mt Wellington on a clear day.

couple looking out over the cliffs on Fluted Cape Hike

The path is rocky and uneven, and not very well marked.  Take care as the edges are exposed.  The walk back down the other side of the cape is a gentle downhill stroll through the bushland before you arrive back at the beach.

The signboards say to allow 2.5 hours for this 6km walk, but we took around 3.5 hours, which included lots of photo time, and at least 20 minutes watching an echidna burrowing for ants.

Enjoy a relaxing swim at Adventure Bay before heading to camp for the night.

close up of echidna

Jetty Beach

We spent our second night on Bruny Island camping at Jetty Beach.  This is also a $10 camp, and if you don’t have cash there is an eftpos machine here, so you can pay by card.  There are long drop toilets here and a water tank.  You are advised to boil the water before drinking.  We used this water for washing dishes to save our safe drinking water in our tank.

The beach here is quite protected and calm.  We saw kayakers and a small sailboat out, as well as motor boats.  There is a ramp down to the beach for launching boats but you may not drive onto the beach otherwise. The sites are not very level in this campsite, so you’ll need your levelling blocks.  

Jetty Beach, Bruny Island

Day 3 – Jetty Beach to Hobart (or beyond)

On your final day on Bruny Island remember that the last ferry leaves Roberts Point at 7:15pm weekdays and 7pm weekends.  Or, like us, you may choose to spend an extra night on Bruny Island just relaxing.

Cape Bruny Lighthouse

This is the second oldest lighthouse in Australia.  The lighthouse was built with convict labour between 1836 and 1838.  At the base of the hill are three cottages, the third houses a small museum.  You’ll learn all about the construction of the lighthouse, and some of the shipwrecks that occurred here.

You can walk up to the lighthouse for incredible views over the bays and islands.  Tours of the lighthouse take place hourly and cost $20.  We didn’t do the tour but it’s still worth the drive down here as the coastal scenery is spectacular.

Access to the lighthouse is along an unsealed road, but the road was in great condition when we visited in January 2024.

cape bruny lighthouse, Bruny Island, tasmania,

Alonnah

This small village houses Bruny Island’s only pub, post office and police station.  There’s a dump point here, a few houses, and a beautiful beach.

The Bruny Hotel is Australia’s most southerly pub.  The pub looks unassuming from the outside, but step inside and you’ll be amazed by their selection of craft beers and ciders on tap, including several local Bruny Island brews.  

The food looks excellent too, especially the oysters.  We came in for a beer although we didn’t eat here. The pub allows camping out the back for self-contained RVs and motorhomes.  The sunset here over the beach was just beautiful.

Sunset over the beach at Alonnah, Bruny Island

Essential Information for you Bruny Island Road Trip

Fuel

The only petrol station on Bruny Island is at Adventure Bay.  Prices here are (understandably) significantly higher than in Hobart, so make sure you fuel up before you come over onto the island.

Food and Water

You’ll find a small general store in Adventure Bay if you need to pick up any essentials.  There are several cafes on the island and meals available at the Bruny Hotel.

There is a water tap at Adventure Bay at the General Store, and a dump point at Alonnah.

Phone and Internet

While there was Telstra 4G signal on the island, it was very weak, particularly on South Bruny Island.  I suspect that’s because we were there at a busy time and the signal was overloaded.

Watch our Bruny Island Road Trip film

If you like moving pictures, check out our video guide: Bruny Island Road Trip

Where to Next?

Once you’re back on the mainland, there is still so much more to see, whether you head along the east coast, down to the Tasman Peninsula or further Into the Wild in Tasmania’s wild North West.

Need help planning your Bruny Island Road Trip?

If you have any questions about Bruny Island (or Tasmania in general, drop us a comment below, or send us an email.

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