Bruny Island – Sights & Attractions

Discover Bruny Island, known for its fascinating history of sealers, whalers and explorers as well as having some of Tasmania's most beautifully preserved natural environments, with abundant wildlife and stunning cliff top views.

The island is about 50km (31mi) long with North and South Bruny joined by a narrow strip of land called The Neck. This isthmus is an important habitat for native wildlife.

Exploring Bruny can be as easy as taking a half-day boat cruise around the island or striking out on foot – South Bruny is a walker's paradise, with options ranging from easy strolls to challenging climbs.

View the Neck from the lookout steps and check out the optical illusion that makes the sea-level appear higher on one side than the other.

Go bird watching with a trained botanist, zoologist and specialist bird watching and wildlife guide. Spot short-tailed shearwaters and little penguins (also known as fairy penguins) at The Neck Game Reserve.

Learn about the island's history on a guided tour of Cape Bruny Lighthouse, located on a wild and windswept cape overlooking the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean.

First lit in 1838, Cape Bruny Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse in Australia.

Explore one of many scenic cliff-top walks in South Bruny National Park. You may even find yourself watching southern right and humpback whales on their annual migration as you explore the beaches and headlands of South Bruny.

Check out Adventure Bay and Jetty Beach – both are sheltered, picturesque spots for swimming, and Cloudy Bay is a popular spot with experienced surfers and beach walkers.

Note: Beaches are unpatrolled, and surfers should be mindful of strong rips.

South Bruny National Park offers towering cliffs overlooking long sandy beaches, coastal heathland, and underwater gardens of kelp seaweed.

South Bruny National Park

Situated at the southern tip of the island, South Bruny National Park contains some of Tasmania’s most spectacular coastal scenery, from towering cliffs to long sandy beaches wrapped around a lush natural rainforest.

The park contains rich Eucalypt forests, coastal scrub and heathland, and supports rare and endemic plant species including several orchids that may be seen flowering in spring.

The abundant bird population includes the threatened hooded plover, swift parrot, ground parrot, and forty-spotted pardalote. The coast is dotted with mutton bird (short-tail shearwater) and penguin rookeries.

Other native residents include echidnas, possums, pademelons, Bennetts wallabies, and a small population of striking white Bennetts wallabies that you can see feeding at dusk in the open paddocks around the Fluted Cape entrance to the park.

South Bruny also contains evidence of Aboriginal and early settler life. Bruny Island - or Lunnawannalonna - is the traditional home of the Nuenonne band of Tasmanian Aboriginal people. This group were permanent residents of the island and the park contains many important Aboriginal sites in the form of middens, quarries, artefact scatters and stone arrangements on the coastline.

Explore the park on foot to best experience the natural landscape, with its abundant birdlife, coastal heathland and sweeping vistas.

Camping is permitted at Cloudy Bay, Jetty Beach and Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve.

Cape Bruny Lighthouse – The historic Cape Bruny Lighthouse, built in 1836, is the only southern Tasmanian lighthouse open for tours.

At 114 metres tall, it towers over the spectacular dolerite cliffs of Cape Bruny and offers panoramic views of the rugged South Bruny coastline.

After ascending the steep path to the base of the lighthouse you have the option of going inside to climb the old spiral staircase and enjoy panoramic views from the top.

Join one of the regular guided tours to learn the full history of the lighthouse from shipwreck tragedies on nearby islands, to convict hardship during construction, and the lives and duties of the lighthouse keepers.

Later explore the grounds and discover an assortment of fascinating maritime artefacts inside the Cape Bruny Lightstation Museum.

Cape Bruny Lighthouse is around one hour 15 minutes drive from the ferry terminal at Roberts Point.

Popular bushwalks …

Alonnah-Sheepwash Bay Track – Taking around one hour to complete, this 3km (1.8mi) return walk takes you through coastal bush and along the foreshore between Sheepwash Bay and Alonnah as it follows the old rock-walled carriageway between the two previous jetty sites.

The original track was the main link from Sheepwash Bay to Alonnah in the early years of settlement. Along the way, look out for remnants of early settlers’ occupation, including a sawyers’ camp and several piles of stones near Sheepwash Creek.

Mavista Nature Walk – This short 1.4km walk follows a well-maintained track along a shaded gully filled with ancient and enchanting wet forest.

Along the way, look out for towering stringybarks, blackwoods, magnificent treeferns and a variety of understorey species.

Continuing along the trail takes you to Mavista Falls – the only waterfall on Bruny Island.

While small, the waterfall is very serene and a pretty spot, with the seven metre-high falls tumbling into aptly named Waterfall Creek.

Getting to Mavista Falls can be a challenge and is best undertaken by walkers with bushwalking experience.

The nature trail meanders through pretty rainforest alongside Waterfall Creek for around 10 minutes before reaching a couple of poles that indicate the official end of the track.

From here you continue along an old route to Mavista Falls. At this point the trail becomes overgrown and may be difficult to follow through the trees with several creek crossings.

The most challenging section of the trail only begins when you are near the waterfall, when the trail comes to a series of small cascades tumbling through a mini-gorge.

Getting past this point when the creek is high may be difficult and even dangerous. Care should be taken in this section regardless of waterflow.

Once at the top of the cascades it is just a short 20m scramble upstream to Mavista Falls.

Facilities at the beginning of the track include a picnic shelter and information boards.

Luggaboine Circuit – This coastal walk can be done as a short 4km (2.4mi) loop or as a 15km (9.3mi) all-day walk.

From the western side of the peninsula, views extend towards the southern ranges, while along the eastern side, the track hugs the coastline passing Hopwood, Butlers and Jetty beaches, with views of the d’Entrecasteaux Channel.

Walking the circuit clockwise offers better views, the Luggaboine Circuit takes around one hour 15 minutes, while the longer Labillardiere Peninsula Circuit takes around five hours to complete.

The trail leads through heathland and eucalpyt forest with year-round flowers, attracting a variety of birds.

Fluted Cape Track – This 5km (3mi) circuit track offers beautiful coastal views, unique wildlife, and reminders of the island’s whaling history.

The first part of the track winds through tall blue gums, white peppermint and sheoaks along the coastline of Adventure Bay – home to the white wallaby – to Grass Point.

From Grass Point, the track climbs steeply along tall dolerite cliffs to the summit of Fluted Cape. Here, you may enjoy distant views to the Tasman Peninsula and spot soaring white-bellied sea eagles overhead.

Note: the track is steep and there are unprotected cliff edges.

The circuit walk should take around two hours 30 minutes to complete. A shorter, easier walk to Grass Point is also an option.

Grass Point – This 4km (2.4mi) return trail to Grass Point is an easy walk to the remains of an old whaling station, with spectacular coastal views along the way, taking around one hour 30 minutes to complete.

The trail begins in Adventure Bay with a short walk along the beach next to the car park at East Cove, before joining the well-formed track, which then follows the coastline to Grass Point where you can still find structural remnants from the whaling industry (1820-40).

During whale migrations, southern right whales can be spotted along this section of the coast. The whales head north from June to September, and south from September to late October,

From Grass Point you may either return to Adventure Bay or continue on the more challenging Fluted Cape walk.

A little further past Grass Point sits Penguin Island. The track climbs up to Fluted Cape, with its beautiful cliff-top views, then steeply descends on the return to Adventure Bay.

Labillardiere Peninsula – This 14km (8.6mi) return walk follows the perimeter of Labillardiere Peninsula taking around five hours.

This scenic walk features constant coastal and mountain views, stretches of long sandy beach, and quiet sheltered bays.

The start of the track is about one hour 15 minutes drive from the ferry terminal at Roberts Point. Just before Cape Bruny a sign marks access to the Peninsula Walking Track.

Labillardiere Peninsula sits on the west coast of Bruny Island fringing Great Taylors Bay to the east.

East Cloudy Head Track – This 12km (7.4mi) return trail begins with a 3km (1.8mi) walk along the white sands of Cloudy Bay Beach.

Nesting shorebirds lay their eggs among the beach debris during spring and summer, so it's best to walk on the wet sand during this period.

Follow the curve of the beach to the south end, then turn inland along Imlays Creek before climbing and descending a further 3km (1.8mi) through colourful, bird-filled heathland to East Cloudy Head.

Along the way, enjoy scenic views along the south coast of Bruny Island to The Friars – home to a fur seal colony. To the west and north-west, views extend towards the Southern Ranges and Mt Wellington.

The 12km (7.4mi) return walk should take around four hours to complete.

The start of East Cloudy Head Track is a 50 minute drive south of the ferry terminal on Bruny Island via Lennon Rd (B66) then Bruny Island Main Road and onto Cloudy Bay Road.

Cape Queen Elizabeth Track – This 12km (7.4mi) return walk on the south eastern corner of North Bruny Island leads through beautiful coastal heath to remote Miles Beach and to the rock archway in the sand at Mars Bluff – a real highlight.

The track begins at the carpark off Bruny Island Main Rd and follows an unused 4WD track running parallel to the Bruny Island airstrip. This initial part of the walk is flat and well maintained and continues on to Big Lagoon, home to a large number of water birds, and Little Lagoon.

From the top of Mars Bluff, scenic views showcase the unique beauty of The Neck before the trail descends through coastal dunes to Miles Beach.

During low tides, Miles Beach can be accessed directly below Mars Bluff. Following this route, the walk can be done as a circuit but only at the low tide.

The trail continues on from the eastern end of Miles Beach climbing again through coastal health before opening out onto Cape Queen Elizabeth.

From here you can enjoy panoramic views of Adventure Bay and the Capes. Return via the same track or beach (depending on the tide). The walk should take around three hours return.

Note: There are many steep cliff faces along Mars Bluff, take care when nearing edges. Be sure to check tides if planning the shorter route.

Where to stay in Bruny Island

Bruny Island offers an excellent choice of accommodation options to suit all budgets ranging from friendly campsites to luxury beachfront retreats, including the following…

Adventure Bay Retreat
Location: 49 Hayes Rd, Bruny Island
Rating: 5-star
Ave nightly price: AUD255 per room
Description: Set among natural coastal bushland, Adventure Bay Retreat is the perfect place to experience the beauty of Bruny Island. Choose from a selection of luxury, self-contained accommodation. Choose from four luxurious retreats including The Lodge, The Cottage, The Studio or The Lair – all set among beautiful open bushland on Bruny Island’s stunning north coast.

43 Degrees Bruny Island
Location: 1 Lumeah Rd, Adventure Bay, Bruny Island
Rating: 5-star
Ave nightly price: AUD195 per room
Description: Lovely mid-range condominium offering free breakfast, in-room kitchenettes and beach access. 43 Degrees Bruny Island is a boutique accommodation on the waterfront in Adventure Bay. Beachside Studio Spa & Spa Suite Apartments are just 50m from beach in a garden setting), with luxurious bathrooms and private decks in beautiful garden setting. All accommodation includes complimentary wine and breakfast.

Getting There

Bruny Island lies just off the south-east coast of Tasmania and is easily reached on a short ferry crossing from Kettering, a 40-minute drive south of Hobart.

The 15-minute ferry ride lands at Roberts Point on Bruny Island and departs frequently throughout the day.

Latest update: Bruny Island sights & attractions: 5 May, 2022