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  >  Attractions   >  Bruny Island Safaris tour review

Bruny Island in Tasmania is home to three of my favourite things: native wildlife, fabulous local produce, and stunning scenery. It’s just 30 minutes’ drive from Hobart, plus a 20 minute ferry ride. If you’re visiting Hobart and would like to explore further afield, a day trip to Bruny Island makes for a great day out. It’s possible to explore Bruny Island independently by taking your car on the ferry but we opted for a Bruny Island Tour which covered Bruny Island’s ‘greatest hits’ with lunch, tastings and morning tea plus entry to Bruny Island National Park and a tour of Cape Bruny Lighthouse included.

Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Cape Bruny Lighthouse

This tour is listed as a Full Day Tour and they aren’t kidding. We got picked up in central Hobart in the dark at 7am in a minibus by our guide Nigel and didn’t get back to our hotel until almost 6pm. There are stops along the way to pick up and then drop off passengers which adds about 50 minutes all up to the tour. After a 30 minute drive to Kettering where the Bruny Island ferry leaves from, we were on our way as the sun rose over the water. Bruny Island is 50 kilometres long and has no public transport, rental car offices, taxis or Uber so you need to have your own transport or do a tour with a company like Bruny Island Safaris to get around.  

Early morning at the Kettering ferry terminal
Early morning at the Kettering ferry terminal
Dawn ferry ride to Bruny Island
Ferry ride to Bruny Island just after sunrise

Nigel stopped to pick up oysters and local cheeses for morning tea and then we were on our way to Bruny Island Honey for tastings and a look around the shop. If you want to buy perishables like chocolate or cheese, there is a cooler on the bus where you can store your goodies.

Arriving at Bruny Island Honey
Arriving at Bruny Island Honey
Bruny Island Honey gifts
Cute gumboots at Bruny Island Honey
Bruny Island Honey
Bruny Island Honey

Our next stop at Truganini Lookout and The Neck Wildlife Zone gave us the chance to stretch our legs and tackle the 200+ stairs to the top of the lookout. If you aren’t feeling energetic (or aren’t fond of walking up lots of stairs), there is also a flat walkway leading out to the beach. Bruny Island appears to be made up of two islands on the map but North and South Bruny is joined by a narrow strip of land called The Neck. This isthmus is an important habitat for native wildlife and clearly visible from Truganini Lookout. Penguins nest near the lookout and you can see their burrows, but not the penguins as they are out fishing during the day.

Climbing the stairs at Truganini Lookout
Climbing the stairs at Truganini Lookout

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Truganini Lookout walkway to the beach
Truganini Lookout walkway to the beach

The viewing platform had been upgraded not long after our visit and is named after Truganini, an Aboriginal woman who survived the wars during early European settlement in Tasmania. She spent the 1830s trying to unify what was left of Tasmania’s decimated indigenous communities. We had time to explore the lookout and reflect on Truganini’s struggles before driving to Resolution Creek at Two Tree Point for morning tea. Along with some spectacular scenery, there’s a plaque which was placed at the site in 1777 when Captain Cook’s ship the Resolution stopped to gather water. 

The two trees at Two Tree Point
The two famous trees at Two Tree Point
Two Tree Point remains virtually unchanged
Two Tree Point remains virtually unchanged

The natural area at this site is virtually unchanged since the late 1700s, including the two now huge trees which historians believe the site was named after. Along with being incredibly beautiful, this place gave us an idea of what it must have been like for 18th century European visitors to Tasmania. While we were walking along the beach and exploring the creek, Nigel set up a picnic morning tea with Bruny Island oysters, crusty bread, and local cheeses from the Bruny Island Cheese Co. Enjoying the scenery and the fabulous local produce at this stop was one of my favourite parts of our Bruny Island Safaris tour. The second followed not long afterwards at Cape Bruny Lighthouse.

Picnic at Two Tree Point
Picnic morning tea at Two Tree Point
Bruny Island oysters and cheese from Bruny Island Cheese Co.
Bruny Island oysters and cheese from Bruny Island Cheese Co.

After this we went for a drive to spot Bruny Island’s famous white wallabies which proved elusive. We did see plenty of ‘regular’ wallabies which wasn’t that exciting for the Aussies bus but the overseas tourists on the tour were thrilled. During the drive we filled out our lunch order so Nigel could drop if off at Hotel Bruny.

Searching for white wallabies
Searching for white wallabies at Bruny Island
Bruny Island wallabies
Bruny Island wallabies

After dropping off the lunch order, we drove through the National Park to the Bruny Island Lighthouse. Most of this drive is on dirt roads which made us glad we didn’t attempt it in a hire car. Cape Bruny Lighthouse was first lit in 1838 and is Australia’s second oldest and longest continually staffed lighthouse. It’s also located at one of the most remote and most beautiful parts of Bruny Island.

Walking to Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Walking to Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Selfies at Cape Bruny Lighthouse

A tour of the convict-built lighthouse conducted by a volunteer guide was included in our tour package. He was an excellent story teller and his enthusiasm was contagious. This was the highlight of our Bruny Island Safari. We learned that lighthouse keepers had to wind the clockwork part of the light every eight hours, and rewind it every hour to help them stay awake. The fifteen lamps inside the lantern each burned just over half a litre of whale oil per hour and needed frequent refilling or the light would go out.

Looking up at the Cape Bruny Lighthouse staircase
Looking up at the Cape Bruny Lighthouse staircase
Inside Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Climbing to the top of Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Looking up inside the Cape Bruny Lighthouse lamp
Looking up into the Cape Bruny Lighthouse lamp
Cape Bruny Lighthouse
View from the top of Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Exhibits at the Cape Bruny Lighthouse musuem
Exhibits at the Cape Bruny Lighthouse musuem

With the keening wind and nothing as far as the eye could see except for the lighthouse keepers’ cottages far below, it must have been a lonely and challenging life for the keepers who manned this remote lighthouse. Don’t miss the tiny museum in one of the original the keepers’ cottages. Lunch arrived not long after we arrived back at Hotel Bruny. This humble pub doesn’t look like much from the outside but it serves excellent country-style meals. We probably would have driven past if we hadn’t been on the tour which would have been a mistake as the food was great.

View from the Bruny Hotel
View from the Bruny Hotel

After lunch we had the option of paying $2 for cider sampling before heading to Bruny Island Chocolate for a fudge tasting. I am not a fan of fudge and almost skipped this tasting but the fudge was excellent and many people on the tour gave their credit card a well-deserved workout at this cute little shop.

Bruny Island Chocolate
Bruny Island Chocolate Company

After our stop at the fudge shop, we dropped in to the Bruny Island Cheese Co. to taste some of the cheeses we missed at morning tea. Nigel offered to pop next door to pick up oysters to take home for people who wanted them so everyone could enjoy the tasting experience and pay him later without having to waste timing shopping. Then it was time to drive back to the ferry for the return trip to Hobart

Fresh cheeses at Bruny Island Cheese Company
Delicious cheese at Bruny Island Cheese Company

Bruny Island is a beautiful place and an ideal day trip destination for travellers who want to see more of Tasmania without venturing too far from Hobart. With its thriving food culture and fascinating local history, Bruny Island proves that good things really do come in small packages.

Disclosure: The writers travelled with assistance from Tourism Tasmania. Ready to visit Bruny Island? Book your Bruny Island day tour in advance for the best deal.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.