It’s easy to compare Bruny Island to a lavish smorgasbord of serene blue ocean views, rocky road cliffs, forests of eucalypt and all manner of trails and sandbanks just waiting to be explored; an amazing distillation of all that Tasmania has to offer.
National Geographic named Tasmania as one of their best trips 2020, and when you consider that locals use Bruny Island as their weekend getaway it’s easy to see why we get so excited about this unique island and it’s many surprises.
Walking holidays are always our favourite way to explore a destination to properly take in its landscapes, especially when you have the best bits of Tassie concentrated into one place.
Bruny Island is like an extract of all the things that make Tasmania so special; the scenery, wildlife and produce, all captured on one little island.
The island spans 50km tip to tip, and what from above might appear to be two island is actually a North and South land-mass joined by a narrow strip of land called The Neck.
Most visitors from Hobart tend to squeeze the island for a day trip – but this isn’t giving justice to the many trails and expansive stretches of rocky coast that transports adventurers into another time.
The first trail we love to talk about with our groups is the Cape Queen Elizabeth Walk that gives wanderers that taste of rugged coastline.
Cape Queen Elizabeth Walk
This walk delivers on that classic piece of Tasman coast and begins by taking you between two lagoons, aptly named, Big Lagoon and Little Lagoon. Adventure up an incline to Mars Bluff for an unparalleled view across The Neck (see image below).
The trail winds downward through the dunes onto the remote Miles Beach. The far end of the track then ascends before sidling south to Cape Queen Elizabeth for views of Adventure Bay and the Tasman Sea.
The seascape along this route will impress even the most weathered of walkers, and there is almost nothing else like it on the island. Sparse forests and fields have been replaced by cutting cliffs and craggy rocks that extend down to stunningly secluded beaches and unique rock formations.
Bruny Island Arch
The wind whipped and delicately chiselled Bruny Island Arch is a key attraction along this walk. It was carved over thousands of years by the wind and sea, and offers a great natural frame for photos.
Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve
Above the trail, you’ll see the edges of Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve which is the home to Short-tailed shearwaters and Little penguins (also known as fairy penguins).
Following on from cute Penguins, our next walk takes you to part of the most remote sections of Bruny Island. Labillardiere Peninsula promises one of the most charming day’s Tasmania has to offer.
Labillardiere Peninsula walk
There are many seasoned trailblazers who consider the Labillardiere Peninsula to be one of the best day walks in Tasmania. Located on one of the southern tips of Bruny Island, adventurers will find the terrain is quite diverse across the 15km stretch of the walk.
You’ll enjoy a climb up Mt Bleak and from the western side for majestic views of the rugged mountains of Tasmania’s southern ranges and have a glimpse of Partridge Island, home to the rare and threatened Forty-spotted Pardalote.
Then returning along the eastern side of the island, the walk follows the coastline and includes Hopwood, Butlers and Jetty beaches, with views of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
The heathland and eucalypt forest brag of floral displays year-round, attracting all manner of birds.
For those who love dramatic scenery; speaking of driving winds, roaring coastline swell, steep cliffs, open bays and landmarks; the Fluted Cape Trail is one not to be missed.
Adventure Bay, Fluted Capes walk
This walk displays much of the beauty the Island has to offer. Spectacular views are almost guaranteed right from the beginning of the hike. Have your camera ready.
Your adventure begins with a stroll through a white sand beach before diving into a dry eucalypt forest seeded with towering blue gums. Follow a trail along a coast of see-through blue waters, while submerging into sections of dense sheoak forest before reaching Grass Point (a flat plateau used as a whaling area and littered with pioneering relics). The sea cliffs along this route are formed from volcanic rock called dolerite formed right back from the Jurassic period.
White Bellied Sea Eagles patrol this area, and you’re sure to see many of these majestic birds looking out at the distant views of the Tasman Peninsula.
Add an extra element of adventure with the Cockle Creek & the South Cape Walk. Explore a geographical extremity that gives you access to the southernmost tip of Tasmania.
Cockle Creek & the South Cape Walk
Just approaching the beginning of this track will make you feel like a trepid explorer. It’s the same road that takes you to Tasmania’s most difficult hike, the infamous ‘South Coast Track’. Luckily the South Cape Walk is actually the easiest and safest section of this trail.
You’ll firstly be welcomed by the famous ‘Walker’s Registration Box’. Be sure to sign the book as this helps in the upkeep of the track and inform rangers where you have gone.
Trail scrabbles over the gentle rocky slopes of Moulders Hill before opening up onto the duck boarded marshlands.
The trail then climbs along several gentle hills, emerging onto the rugged dark cliff-top surrounding South Cape Bay.
This clifftop section delivers a stark contrast to the forest that walkers deport from. From lush plants and trees to grey rocky open areas. You’ll forgive the sudden change in scenery when you take in the incredible views of South Cape, Lion Rock and the turbulent ocean swell.
Of course, it would be a tragedy not to visit the spectacular alpine region of Hartz Mountains National Park.
Hartz Mountain National Park
You’ll be greeted by a few hundred metres of gradual climbing through scrubby bushland over rocky steps before opening up into heathland. Your track opens to beautiful views of D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Mt Wellington to the north and Hartz Peak to the south.
Hartz Peak offers, in our opinion, the greatest views of the southern chunk of Tasmania given the right day; a fantastic view in all directions.
These magnificent peaks have been shaped by ancient glaciers and deliver a window into Tasmania’s remote and rugged south-west wilderness. You’ll feel on top of the world gazing out at endless peaks.
How can I explore Bruny Island and the South Coast?
As much as we love writing about these magical places, we can’t give justice to the views and feeling you get when you explore them on foot. Join our next walking tour and see for yourself why we can’t get enough of this fantastic region.
LEARN MORE – Bruny Island And the South Coast Tour.