Cape Bruny towards West Cloudy Head, East Cloudy Head and Tasman Head
Fluted Cape - these walls rise to 272 m, the country’s second-highest sea cliffs after those on the Tasman Peninsula, across Storm Bay from Bruny.
Bruny Island Cruises' vessel passes The Monument, an isolated stack offshore from the Jurassic dolerite cliffs
The Friars, off South Bruny Island
Bligh Creek, where James Cook and William Bligh watered their ships in 1777
Bruny Island ferry Mirrambeena
Memorial to the British explorers at Adventure Bay
The view across D'Entrecasteaux Channel from Alonnah
Across the D'Entrecasteaux Channel a short drive south of Hobart, Bruny Island is effectively two quite different islands connected by a narrow neck of sand. With its wild seascapes and sweeping surf beaches, rich maritime history, abundant birdlife and wildlife, tall forests and historic lighthouse, Bruny is an island paradise in Australia's deep south.
The island has an abundance of indigenous birdlife, marsupials and marine life. Whales, seals, dolphins, penguins, sea lions, sea eagles, albatrosses, cormorants, gannets can be seen in their natural environments. A unique feature is its thousand-year old 'blackboy' rainforests and the spring months of September and October reveal spectacular native flowers.
North Bruny is drier than the south and is mostly comprised of open pastures and light bushland. It is home to the townships of Dennes Point and Great Bay. The Bruny Island car ferry departs from Roberts Point which is on North Bruny. In contrast to the north, South Bruny is hilly, heavily timbered and includes large rainforest areas. It is home to South Bruny National Park and large areas of State Forest Reserve. The townships of Adventure Bay, Alonnah and Lunawanna are also located on South Bruny. Here, too, the iconic Cape Bruny Lighthouse (1838) that stands on cliffs over 260 metres above the ocean below.
Alonnah is the administrative capital of Bruny Island. British navigators James Cook, Tobias Furneaux, Wiliam Bligh and Matthew Flinders all visited Adventure Bay during their exploatory voyages. Their stories are told at the Bligh Museum of Pacific Exploration at Adventure Bay.
In the early 1900's Alonnah jetty was used by many vessels traversing the D'Entrecasteaux channel with cargo and passengers. On Thursdays a weekly trip to Hobart took passengers shopping for the day. The Pontoon that takes the place of the jetty today is the last surviving section of the Hobart Floating Arch Bridge that was used to cross the Derwent River from Oct. 1943 - Aug 1964. This section was towed to Alonnah on 27th June 1972.
Outside its settlements the island is covered in grazing fields and large tracts of dry eucalyptus forest. Inland forests continue to be logged, but other large sections - mostly along the southeastern coast - are preserved as the South Bruny National Park. While the seaward side of the island features two long beaches - Adventure Bay and Cloudy Bay - the south is for the most part extremely rugged, with cliffs of dolerite that tower over 200 metres above sea level, and which are amongst the highest sea cliffs in Australia. Bruny's channel side is far more sheltered and a favourite fishing and recreational boating area for local and interstate visitors.
South Bruny National Park is renowned for its varied wildlife, including fairy penguins and many species of reptile. Cape Bruny Lighthouse at the southern end of the Park offers panoramic views of the Southern Ocean and the island's spectacular coastline from this 'bottom of Australia' lookout. Fairy penguins come ashore at dusk at The Neck Reserve; mutton birds also nest in the sand dunes of the narrow isthmus.
In terms of breathtaking majesty, few features on South Bruny Island compare to a series of sea caves found along its rocky coastline. 'Breathtaking' is an over-used word used to describe Australia's scenery, but when it comes to these amazing coastal caverns, it is totally appropriate. The only way to see these caves is by boat;
take tourists close to the huge caves carved by the wind and surf out of the cliff face but if you prefer to see them at close range, then sea kayak is the only way to go.
One of the natural wonders to be found here is Breathing Rock, a cavern in the rock face near water level that fills with air as the waves wash out and then as the waves washed back up into it, the air is forced back out with a huge spray. Those who travelled the south and south eastern coast of Tasmania by kayak agree that Bruny Island's Breathing Rock is impressive but is
small in comparison
to the huge
on DeWitt Island in the Maatsuyker Group on the south coast of Tasmania.
Cape Bruny and Cloudy Bay lie at the far south of Bruny Island. Each year, Cloudy Bay plays host to the Bruny Island Surf Classic - a Tasmanian surfing championship held on the island. Cape Bruny is home to Cape Bruny Lighthouse. An iconic Australian lighthouse, it was the oldest continuous lighthouse under operation by the Commonwealth. Now out of service, it has been transferred to the Tasmanian Government and is part of the South Bruny National Park.
The island is home to Australia's southernmost licensed pub, Bruny Island Hotel, and Bruny Island Premium Wines located at Lunawanna is Australia's most southern vineyard. The narrow isthmus joining the two parts of the island is called "The Neck". This is home to the Truganini Lookout - a timber stepped boardwalk that takes you to some of the most spectacular 360° panoramic views of the Bruny Island coastline. The sleepy township of Great Bay in the north is home to Bruny Island Cheese Company. The Get Shucked Oyster Farm is also found at Great Bay, just outside the township.
Coastal tour: for an intimate encounter with the coastline of Bruny Island,
coastal tour is highly recommended. The tour commences in Hobart for a full day cruise (8am - 5.30pm) via Kettering and the Bruny Island ferry, and then to Adventure Bay, or it can be joined at Adventure Bay for the 3-hour 50km journey along the coast. Small cruise boats, especially designed for eco-cruising with an open design and excellence in manoeuvrability, take passengers close to sea and coastal wildlife (coastal wildlife such as seals, dolphins, whales, albatross and other seabirds), cliff faces, sea-caves, as well as passing between the narrow gap between the coast and The Monument, a tall and slender sea stack. Sitting at the bottom of Bruny Island's towering sea cliffs, it is not unusual to be surrounded by thousands of seals or watch dolphins surf on the bow wave of the boat.
How to Get There: Access to the island is by the Bruny Island car ferry which operates between the town of Kettering, 32 km south of Hobart, and Bruny Island. Crossing to the island takes 20 minutes and offers excellent views of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel from the upper deck. The ferry makes eleven crossings per day in each direction every day of the year. Kettering is located approximately 35 minutes south of Hobart. To get to Kettering from Hobart, drive south along the Southern Outlet to Kingston. Continue south along the Channel Highway, following the signs to Margate, Kettering and Bruny Island. You will pass through the townships of Margate, Electrona, Snug and Oyster Cove before arriving at Kettering. Once you arrive in Kettering, look for the sign to turn left off the highway to the Ferry Terminal.
History of Bruny Island
Bruny was once home to a large group of Aboriginal Tasmanians, (members of the proud Nuenonne tribe, who were decimated by violence and disease following European settlement) the island still carries the evidence of their pre-European existence in shell middens on its beaches. The aborigines called the island Lunawanna-Alonnah and this name has been retained in the names of two settlements. However the aborigines were hopelessly outnumbered and had no defence against disease introduced by the settlers. By the 1840 they had been forced off the island and transported to Flinders Island.
Bruny Island was named after Rear-Admiral Bruni D'Entrecasteaux, a Frenchman who led a two-ship expedition along Australia's south coast. He explored and surveyed the area in February 1793. Confusion existed about the spelling, and in 1918 was changed from Bruni to Bruny. Bruny Island Neck was named St Aignon Isthmus by D'Entrecasteaux, after a member of his expedition who waded ashore near here naked after the accidental beaching of his boat.
For a time Bruny Island was known as Pitt's Island, recalling the name 'Right Honourable William Pitt's Island' given to it by Commander John Hayes (later Sir John) of the East India Company, who in 1793, was the first British explorer to 'discover' and chart the River Derwent. Hayes named many coastal features in the vicinity of present day Hobart, but few are used today.
Adventure Bay, the large bay on the eastern side of the isthmus that joins North and South Bruny Island, could be called the birth place of Van Diemen's Land - Tasmania. It's list of 17th and 18th century European visitors reads like a who's who of leading Pacific explorers from the golden age of world exploration. The bay was first sighted by Abel Tasman in 1642 when exploring for the great south land south of the then known world because of gale force winds, he was unable to make a landing. James Cook, Matthew Flinders, William Bligh and French explorer Nicolas Baudin all made landfalls at Bruny Island's Adventure Bay - which are detailed at the Bligh Museum of Pacific Exploration at Adventure Bay. The remains from whalers and loggers from 1820-1850 and timber bridges spanning gullies 30 metres deep are also on display and are part of the unique heritage from the pioneer settler period.
British explorer James Cook in HMS Resolution & Captain Tobias Furneaux in HMS Adventure left England in 1772 to explore the South Seas. Becoming separated, Furneaux followed Tasman's chart and in 1773 found the bay naming it Adventure Bay - replenished his water and wood supplies and sailed on to New Zealand. Cook landed at Adventure Bay in 1777 from HMS Resolution with William Bligh as sailing master. Captain Bligh revisited Adventure Bay in 1788 with botanist Nelson planted a number of fruit trees on the east side of the bay which he brought from the Cape of Good Hope. When he returned in 1792 he found that one apple tree was still growing, the others having been consumed by fire. It is said this was the Tasmania's first apple tree. Tasmania was later to become known throughout the world as the Apple Isle of Australia. The bay became a centre of the whaling industry with whalers using the Bay as early as 1804. By 1829 the Bay supported some 80 to 90 men, two sloops and up to twenty whale boats.