Before we planned our trip to Bruny Island I received a warning: “It’s a little quiet,” they said, “There isn’t much to do”. Being an introverted homebody, this sounded like perfection. Give me a roaring fire, a glass of wine, a good book and plenty of cheese and it’s just about my idea of perfection. And yet, there was so much more in store when it comes to the little island off the coast of eastern Tasmania.
It was one winter weekend that we headed to Bruny Island, bundling up as we boarded the island ferry. We’d planned and dreamt of this trip. A card-carrying member of Bruny Island Cheese & Beer Co. for many, many years, we’d looked at photos, poured over videos and dreamt of a windswept island where the land was filled with cheese.
Our cottage was located just off the beach at Adventure Bay. We’d wake up every morning to sleeting rain (my favourite kind) birds and white wallabies (a rare colony inhabits the island), right on our doorstep. Bruny Island takes a little time to drive across and Adventure Bay is on the far side, but still conveniently located for daily adventures. We, of course, were here for the cheese – and our days soon took on a loose routine of a drive to Bruny Island Cheese Co, with a stop at the steps of the Neck (the famous spot for Bruny Island sightseeing) on the way, a little cheese board for brunch before we’d do another spring up the steps and pick somewhere to explore.
Along the way, we’d pick up treats for dinner and stock our esky. Then, once we were done, we’d head back to our cottage, stoke the fire, grab a book and drink red wine, eat cheese and watch the local wildlife. If you’re a homebody honeymooner then this, like for us, probably sounds like utter perfection!
I have to preface this with a warning – if you’re looking for a Winter honeymoon where the sun is shining and you can work on your Vitamin D, then Bruny Island may not be for you. If however, you are looking for a honeymoon where you rug up in your woollies, eat cheese and drink wine and light the fire after a day in the freezing cold exploring, then read on – because you’re onto a treat.
Kettering, or where the Bruny Island ferry leaves from, is is a two-hour drive south of Hobart. The island itself is only accessible by ferry (which costs $28) and on a busy weekend, it can be hard to get a spot. So make sure you arrive early (it’s advised to get there at least 20 minutes early to purchase your ticket). Also, be aware some hire car companies won’t insure you off-road or on a boat, so make sure you are covered for the trip. The last ferry leaves Kettering at 7pm. so if you’re not staying overnight, plan to make sure you get to the dock on time!
Need to know
- There are only small convenience stores on the island, and only one public place (Hotel Bruny) open for dinner, so stop on over in Hobart and pick up plenty of food before you make your way down South to avoid having to trek back during your stay.
- There is no public transport on the island and no taxi service, so you do need your own car.
- Although Bruny Island is fantastic for a day trip, we advise at least a few days to maximise your relaxation and cheese consumption.
- It’s cold and blustery. In fact, once upon a time, it even snowed right on the beach. So if you’re heading here during the Winter months, pack thermals and seven pairs of socks.
Where to stay
You have a plethora of choice when it comes to Bruny Island. We chose Adventure Bay, which is about 35 minutes from the ferry on the South Island. We loved this area because it’s further away from the hustle and bustle of the ferry and cheesery, beautifully isolated and very quiet (in winter or in Summer, this is one of the holiday hot spots). Adventure Bay is also where the majority of the island’s white wallabies can be found.
There’s a variety of choice when it comes to budgets too – there are campgrounds and luxury homes, it’s just a matter of finding what appeals to your own honeymoon style.
To Do’s & Good Foods
From the foodie to the homebody, Bruny Island is such a wealth of adventure, if you know where to look. So let’s get into our list of Bruny island honeymoon “must do’s!”
If there was ever a reason for an island to become famous, this would be it – and truthfully, as avid subscribers, the cheese company was the highlight on our list. We’d head here every day and score ourselves a cheesy breakfast. They serve up beer, pizza, coffee and other cheese based fun all day long and of course, they do tastings and you can sign up to the club right there and then. It’s a signature part of any Bruny Island trip and, of course, our favourite.
This place is great for a long lazy lunch. The country’s southernmost vineyard offering up beautifully house crafted wines and an on-site restaurant with plenty of local produce. Pick up share plates, or order a-la-carte and enjoy a glass of the family run vineyard’s creations.
It was bitterly cold when we headed to Cloudy Bay and I am pretty sure we felt like we were going to get blown away. The most southern tip of the island, there is nothing between you and Antarctica here. On a blustery day, it feels like you’re literally on the edge of the Earth. Pack your walking shoes for this one – the beach itself is 5km long and perfect for a hike.
Oh so good – they even offer a drive-through service. These guys farm oysters so close you can stand on their driveway and see their nets! They have a licensed oyster bar on site and they serve up oysters any way you can think of. We would stop, grab a dozen oysters and end up with feasts of local wine, cheese and oysters for dinner. We’re particularly big fans of their house-made Worcestershire sauce and stocked up on a few bottles for home.
If you can’t drag yourself out of the warmth, the island’s little pub cooks up a killer garlic pizza, which as it turns out, is just the thing after a day where your ears are aching from the cold. They serve up pub-style food with a focus on local produce. From hot Bruny Island cider by the fire, to locally sourced poultry and produce adorning every meal. Hotel Bruny is one of the only places open after dark, but it doesn’t rest on its laurels one little bit.
From killer views with a glass of whiskey or gin, Bruny Island House of Whiskey is a must do. If anyone knows local Tasmanian distillers, it’s this crew! They serve up whiskey and gin flights for tasting, as well as a bunch of local treats. And they even dreamt up their own gin – Seclusion which of course, we needed to take home.
Bruny Island Chocolate Company
We found our way to this little chocolate shop when we were on the hunt for something sweet and we fell in love with their fudge. This stuff is addictive (fair warning) and you can also find plenty of other special treats to stock your pantry and evening within the little shed.
The most photographed spot on Bruny Island and a brilliant way to work off the cheese you have inhaled! The Neck joins Bruny Island’s north and south island, overlooking the thin strip of land between them. It’s an easy 255 steps to the top and offers the most incredible views of the island with no obstruction. We headed here twice a day on our way to and from our adventures and got to experience Bruny in all kinds of amazing weather. The view is breathtaking and so worth the effort. If you head here at dusk in the warmer months you might even spot a penguin or two.
Gotta be honest, I am not a honeymoon and hike kind of girl, but Bruny Island is famous for its amazing hikes. So if you love a walk, pack your boots! From beaches to rainforests, the island offers up some of the most incredible walks you’ll see in Tasmania. Cape Bruny and the Bruny Lighthouse are must visits, as well as the South Bruny National Park.
When we first hit up this place, just a little way from where the ferry docks, we were a little surprised. It was in a little shed and very unassuming. But full of so much smoked produce it will leave you drooling. Think smoked trout, smoked salmon and well, smoke! The owner sources local produce to hot smoke and sells it all from the island outlet (and you can pick it up at selected stockists around the island and Tasmania itself too).
Photos by Polka Dot Bride
By the end of our Bruny Island holiday, we were starting to plan how we could possibly move here, the land of cheese and oysters, of wine and cosy fires, of the garlic pizza and long walks on the beach. If this is Tasmanian living, count us in, all the way.