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ferryman.ca
When I rented a car at Budget at Hobart Airport there were signs saying I had to tell them if I was going to drive on Bruny Island. We weren’t planning to go there, but to keep our options open I ended up signing to say I was aware that Bruny had very limited facilities and any breakdown might take a long time to resolve. That piqued my interest, but we still didn’t intend heading there.
Then came the day we were going to drive up into the mountains of Mount Field National Park and hopefully beyond. But it was tipping down with rain in Hobart and forecast to carry on doing that all day for that end of Tasmania. Mountains in the rain can be a waste of a day, so a quick change of plan and we headed off to Bruny Island after all. And it rained while we queued for the ferry at Kettering, while we crossed, and most of the day we were on the island, although it did eventually taper off.
It was not the greatest conditions for photography nor for hiking, so we spent most of the time driving around. The most interesting feature of the Bruny landscape is Bruny Neck, a long sandy spit barely wider than the road that runs along it, that forms a long isthmus between what would otherwise be two separate islands. The north end has a car park, information and a long set of stairs to the top of a high sand dune. Even on that wet day there was a great view from there of the isthmus and the south part of Bruny. And also depending on the season and time of day you can see fairy penguins and short-tailed shearwaters that nest in the dunes. Well worth stopping and climbing.
We drove on, along the accurately, but unimaginatively named “Bruny Island Main Road” until we got to Lunawanna where the asphalt stopped and the name changed to Lighthouse Road. This we followed a further 20 to its end at The Cape Bruny Lighthouse on the cliffs at the south west corner of the island.
We skipped the lighthouse tour and the small museum and just enjoyed the magnificent location, which would surely be very photogenic in decent weather; nothing but sea between us and Antarctica to the south, and heading west only the tip of Tasmania and the Indian Ocean separating us from South Africa, half a world away.
Aside from wildlife the island promotes itself with good food and drink, but we had trouble finding any when we needed it. The island is very sparsely populated and the very few eateries were either unsuitable for a restricted diet (beer and cheese) or had a one hour wait (it was a Saturday), so we wished we’d stocked up with some sandwiches on the mainland. After visiting the lighthouse we drove back to Adventure Bay, where the general store there was well stocked, and produced sandwiches and good coffee. And, although we did not need it, had the island’s only petrol (gas) pump and even an electric charging station.
We had gone to Adventure Bay to take what was billed as a short hike to some of the highest cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere at Fluted Cape. We ended up bailing on the walk after an hour, but don’t be put off, as it looks to promise great views, given better weather and a bit more research.
Considering the weather, that day was not the highlight of our Australian trip, but we still enjoyed it. If we returned to the Hobart area it would be well worth taking the ferry over to Bruny again in good weather, spending time walking the sandy beaches, picnicking on the headlands and hiking the Fluted Cap trail the right way.

INFO
Location
The crossing
Runs every 40 from 6 to 7 year-round
3, 20
The boats
Cost
Between AUD $37.50 and $50.60 (depending on time) for car and occupants, open return (2023)
Concession fares available
Operator
Sealink Bruny Island
Website
When I used the ferry
November 2023

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