During our stay in Tasmania, we managed a day trip over to Bruny Island taking the car ferry from Kettering. Since 1954, four vessels have operated the Bruny Island Ferry service between the island and Kettering on the mainland. The service is currently plied by the Mirambeena, which is unusual for using a Voith-Schneider propulsion system rather than a conventional propeller. It only takes around 15-20 mins on the ferry then you can drive south to explore the island. The island is split between North Bruny and South Bruny by a long, sandy, narrow isthmus of land called The Neck.
Bruny Island is a 362-square-kilometer island located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania, Australia. The island is separated from the Tasmanian mainland by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, and its east coast lies within the Tasman Sea. Storm Bay is located to the island’s northeast. Both the island and the channel are named after French explorer Bruni d’Entrecasteaux. Its traditional Aboriginal name is
Our first stop on the drive was GetShucked, a great oyster restaurant where we sampled a selection of locally grown oysters.
Heading south after our oyster fill we soon came to the narrow isthmus known as The Neck. It was worth a stop here to walk up the steps to the viewpoint and walk over the boardwalks to view the beach and the wildlife …. there were warning signs indicating snakes!!
Bruny Island was originally inhabited by the Aborigines until European arrival, although there is still a large community of people who identify as Aboriginal. Abel Tasman tried to land in the vicinity of Adventure Bay in November 1642.
In 1773 Tobias Furneaux was the first recorded European to land on the island at Adventure Bay (named after his ship); four years later on 26 January 1777 James Cook’s two ships, the Resolution and Discovery stayed in the bay area for two days. Cook carved his initials in a tree that was destroyed in a 1905 bushfire and is now commemorated by a plaque. In 1788 and again in 1792 (with Matthew Flinders) William Bligh stayed in the Adventure Bay area.
The island itself however is named after the French explorer Bruni d’Entrecasteaux who explored the Channel region and discovered it to be an island in 1792. It was known as Bruni Island until 1918, when the spelling was changed to Bruny.
After crossing The Neck we drove south down to Adventure Bay, stopping firstly at Two Tree Point where Captain Cook used to replenish fresh water from the creek and then stopped at the Captain Cook Memorial.
We had some lunch at the Bruny Island Cruises Seafood Restaurant. After lunch, we walked along the beach and then along some of the small trails along the coastline which were surrounded with stunning eucalyptus trees
Whaling was conducted off the coast of Bruny Island in the first half of the 19th century. The British whaler Alexander was reported to be whaling in Adventure Bay in 1804. In 1805, the British whalers Richard and Mary, Ocean and the Sydney whaler King George were reported there in the winter months. The American whaler Topaz was there in 1807. Colonial entrepreneurs also operated shore-based whaling stations there. Bethune and Kelly had a station operating in Adventure Bay by August 1826. Kelly and Lucas had another at Bull Bay. Young and Walford had one at Trumpeter Bay. Alexander Imlay applied for the site as a whaling station at Cloudy Bay in 1837, and Brown and Rogers did the same in 1842. These stations had all ceased operating by 1850, although whaling vessels sometimes anchored offshore in the second half of the century.
Even though “Cooktown” was marked on maps as early as the 1840s, the island was not officially opened up to European settlement until the late 1800s when the timber industry took off. South Bruny was opened up by numerous tramways and haulages, some horse-drawn and some using modified locomotives. The longest and best preserved tramway runs from Adventure Bay to the far southeast corner of the island. Almost all settlements on South Bruny were originally opened as timber ports owned by the different timber companies operating on the island. Lunawanna (former Daniels Bay), Alonnah (former Mills Reef) and Adventure Bay/Cooktown were some of the largest ports operating on the island. At Daniels Bay, the settlement was separated from the timber jetty as the tramway was forced to trace along the south side of the bay to reach deep water as most of the bay was too shallow to bring boats in. Most settlements of South Bruny now serve as shack towns or holiday locations.
Walking back from the coastline track we headed slightly inland and soon we started to see some wallabies. This area is known for the rare albino
Since the 1920s the island has become known as a holiday location with surfing beaches, National Parks and historical sites. In more recent history the Bruny Island was the site of a land transfer by the state government to local Aboriginal people.
A key contributor to Bruny Island’s economy is its growing tourism industry. Being home to the South Bruny National Park, tourism on the island
We then drove to the far
In 2010/11, overall visitors to Bruny Island increased 4% to 74,600. The island is primarily a day-trip destination with only 21,800 visitors staying on the island overnight. There are a growing number of tourism businesses on the island including a cheese factory, oyster farm, vineyard, smokehouse, lighthouse, museum, art gallery, two eco-cruises along with various accommodation properties and cafes.
On the return drive back to catch the ferry to Kettering we made a stop at a Bruny Island House of Whisky. I was surprised to see such a wide range of single malt
Then it was time to board the ferry to return back to Kettering and then drive back to our last night in Franklin before heading off on a circular road trip around Tasmania.
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