Review: Enjoy a day of scenic vistas and tasty treats on a Bruny Island food and sightseeing tour, TAS
Located just on two hours' drive south of Hobart, stunning Bruny Island is a nature and gourmet food lover's delight. This fabulous day tour will introduce you to both the island’s unspoiled natural beauty and delicious bounty.
The Bruny Island welcome begins well before we arrive at this increasingly popular destination off Tasmania’s south-east coast.
We’re about to head off on the Bruny Island food and sightseeing tour offered by Bruny Island Safaris. Rick, an island local, pulls up outside our Hobart hotel on a dark winter’s morning, radiating a warm but well organised manner the moment he springs from the mini-bus.
We pile in, joining several other friendly travellers headed for an island off an island off an island, where nature and good food attract Australian and international visitors alike. After an easy drive out of town, and an even shorter ferry crossing from Kettering, we’re on Bruny and almost immediately tucking into local cheese and artisanal bread.
The location makes this cheese tasting unforgettable: a picnic table by Two Tree Point’s secluded, almost-white-sand beach. Our senses open up to the sound of gentle waves and the intense scent of a gumnut that Rick passes around. The Bruny Island Cheese Company selection is superb and includes O.D.O (so called because it’s just one day old) and Raw Milk C2 — a rare opportunity in Australia to taste cheese made from unpasteurised milk.
From there the day whizzes by with one beautiful bite and vista after another. Highlights include honey tastings at The Honey Pot (from the robustly flavoured Leatherwood to the light Summer Blossom), and the extraordinary sight of pure-white wallabies grazing among the more familiar greys (Rick knew exactly where to find them!).
We try samples of the Bruny Island Chocolate Company’s handmade sweet treats, including fudge varieties such as Persian, ginger and macadamia (I couldn’t decide, so bought all three!). The drive along the narrow isthmus that barely keeps the 100-kilometre-long island in one piece is remarkable.
This Bruny Island food and sightseeing tour includes a guided tour of the Cape Bruny Lighthouse. At the top of the spiral staircase resident guide Matt reveals the decommissioned beacon’s heritage equipment. Though not original to Australia’s second-oldest lighthouse (built by convicts in 1832), it’s still intriguing and impressive. We then step out onto the exterior platform (hold onto your hat!) for 360-degree views of rolling pasture and bushland, cliffs and ocean — clear to the horizon, with only Antarctica beyond.
Hotel Bruny looks like many other Aussie seaside pubs from the outside, but lunch inside is a gourmet revelation. Pristine beach views and the well-stoked fireplace are quickly forgotten as our meals appear, including platters for two piled high with the fresh seafood Bruny Island is renowned for (including scallops and farmed Atlantic salmon).
From a rich roast vegetable pie to a hefty lamb shoulder doused in thick gravy, and specials such as wallaby burrito, the food inspires a happy silence before we file into the pub’s cider tasting room. With dramatic flair our host Tim pops the caps on four local drops, including the classic Bruny Island Cider, and Mohawk ciders that are pleasantly pepped up with ginger or cherry.
Being winter, sadly the Bruny Island Berry Farm (normally on the itinerary) is closed. Nevertheless, there’s a sense that we’ve done pretty well anyway in tasting much of the best of the island. After slurping down some plump, super-fresh oysters-on-the-shell at Get Shucked, we return to the ferry and travel back to the real world.
Thanks to Rick’s engaging commentary throughout the day, we’ve gained a good sense of Bruny’s past and present. From English and French explorers, to insights into his own life on the island, Rick effortlessly kept the group enthused until we all nodded off on the drive back to Hobart.
This Bruny Island food and sightseeing tour is an easy, affordable and rewarding way to escape to this delicious haven. There’s never any pressure to buy anything sampled, but such is the temptation you will surely bring home at least a few edible souvenirs!
Cover image: Get Shucked. Image: Adam Gibson. Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
Patricia Maunder is a freelance travel writer and arts journalist, and has worked in print, radio, and digital media. Currently based in Melbourne, she considers the Canadian city of Montreal to be her ‘other’ hometown — having lived there from 2012 to 2016. Patricia has visited all but one of the continents, and Antarctica continues to beckon — as it has done since she was a child. She enjoys culturally themed journeys and nature-based adventures.