As you leave the comparatively busy city of Hobart and head out on the highway, three lane roads very soon reduce to become two, and eventually single lane roads. You encounter other cars more seldomly, and the wild takes over. Heading south, some 20 miles or 30 kilometres away from Tasmanias capital city lies Bruny Island, accessible only by a 30 minute ferry ride from the town of Kettering. Several dozen cars are carefully and precisely manoeuvered onto one of two boats, which take visitors across to Bruny every every half hour. It is a cheap and quick ride, and even though the signs ask you to remain in vehicles, people leave their cars to gaze at the sea, feel the force of the wind, and take photographs.
On South Bruny the road forks, with the West coast offering stunning views of tiny Satellite Island, opposite Bruny’s main settlement, Alonnah. Continue and you eventually reach South Bruny National Park. Take the road to the East, and you reach famous Adventure Bay.
Named after Admiral Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, Bruny Island was one of the most significant locations of the age of Pacific exploration. Adventure Bay, on the south island, was an important anchor point for Captains Cook, Furneaux, Flinders and William Bligh (named after Furneaux’ and Cook’s ship, the Adventure). It is an absolutely stunning bay with crystal clear but icy cold waters surrounded by lush Eucalypt forests which were an important source of timber. As you walk along the beach, only two forms of sound are heard: the restless breaking of the waves, and the peculiar squaeky song of the Tasman sand below your feet, a sound I was completely unfamiliar with before. Several signs warn visitors not to accidentally tread on bird burrows or camouflaged baby chicks nested in the beach’s sand.
Down the middle of Adventure Bay, in the Sandy Bay settlement, a small brickstone house stands out. It was constructed in the 1950s using bricks from a convict-built kiln from North Bruny, and holds John Hamilton, a man who devoted his entire life to his passion: The Bligh Museum of Pacific Exploration. Inside, a myriad of historic memorabilia from the Age of Exploration is showcased inside glass cabinets. It is at Adventure Bay, where you are closest to the explorers of the past, and you realise how young the history of Tasmania really is.
Today, Bruny Island’s stunning vistas, rich wildlife and diverse history make it one of the most exciting parts of Tasmania. Furthermore, the island is famous for extraordinary local produce: cheeses, berries, wines, whisky, game produce, and oysters are on the absolutely organic and always fresh menu. Therefore, journeys across Bruny Island also beg for a few gourmet stops. Altogether, an incredble, fascinating place.