If you’re someone who seeks out the best of food culture when you travel, then there’s one must-visit gastronomic destination in Australia to have on your radar – Bruny Island.
Located just off the south eastern coast of Tasmania, Bruny Island is technically two beautiful isles joined together by an iconic thin stretch of land called ‘The Neck’. Accessed by a 35 minute drive and 20 minute vehicle ferry from Tassie’s capital Hobart, Bruny Island is a popular day trip escape from the city, appealing for it’s rugged, unspoilt natural environments, slow-paced way of life and its famous gourmet produce.
Packed with independent producers, locals have leveraged the island’s natural resources to craft some of the country’s tastiest cheeses, chocolate, fruits, oysters and more.
The island’s remoteness has not only resulted in some seriously good food. It’s also provided a haven to many endangered and rare flora and fauna, meaning it’s a fantastic day trip destination for nature enthusiasts too. The unspoilt landscape is great for birdwatching, nature sightings (such as penguins and seals) and bush walking in the South Bruny National Park.
Simply put, Bruny island is all about incredible nature and great food. So take a small break from Hobart for a big taste of everything offered on a Bruny Island food experience!
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How to get to Bruny Island
From the capital of Hobart, you must drive about 35 minutes to the Bruny Island Ferry Terminal located at Kettering. Ferries operated by SeaLink depart Kettering about 20 times per day during summer and take only about 15-20 minutes to reach Bruny Island.
The SeaLink ferry transports vehicles up to 6m and passengers go free of charge! The best part is that you don’t have to book select time slots, adding real convenience and flexibility to your schedule.
The last ferry back to the mainland is at 7:15pm. Book your open ended ticket on the SeaLink ferry here.
If you don’t have your own vehicle, there are many organised gourmet day tours that will take you on pretty much the same itinerary as my Bruny Island food experience outlined below.
How to spend a day trip to Bruny Island:
This itinerary for a foodie day out at Bruny Island covers the most iconic ‘outdoorsy’ things to do on the island first in order to beat the crowds and work up an appetite for the day.
Trust me – there is a LOT to eat on a Bruny Island food tour so it’s worth being very hungry for! I’d recommend you have a very light breakfast – or even skip it!
It’s also worth noting that a lot of the shops and food spots on Bruny Island close at 4pm or 4.30pm so set that alarm for the crack of dawn – the earlier you can get on the ferry the better!
Admire the island from The Neck viewpoint
Once you’ve touched down on solid land, it’s best to head straight to the island’s most iconic view – The Neck lookout – to admire the landscape before it gets too busy.
From the carpark, just walk about 5 minutes up 279 wooden steps for an expansive view of the isthmus – the narrow stretch of beach dotted with shrubs connecting the two bodies of land.
To the left side is an aqua blue bay trimmed with a lightly golden sandy beach and thick vegetation. To the right, there’s the deeper and darker-in-colour sea, which creates the illusion that one body of water is higher than the other.
The vegetated dunes are home for the cute local penguins who return here at dusk after a hard day’s fishing.
Once you’ve snapped some pictures and taken your first real glance of Bruny Island, you can walk down and to the left hand side to have a little stroll on the stunning pristine beach.
But don’t spend too long on the beach – there is still so much more to see (and most importantly, eat!)
Visit the iconic Cape Bruny Lighthouse
To work up an appetite before tucking into some tasty treats, head right to the furthest point of the island – the south west tip. Here you’ll find the inactive but very attractive heritage-listed Cape Bruny Lighthouse.
Surrounded by dramatic dolerite cliffs which look like individual stone columns compacted together, the wild coves and rock faces are quite literally Jurassic.
If you’re visiting between September to November and luck is on your side, you may even be able to spot whales out at sea, which is quite a common encounter on Bruny Island!
It’s a stunning spot to enjoy the raw beauty of the exposed coastline and perilously crashing sea, but you can also go inside the lighthouse on a tour if you like. From just $10 you’ll be able to climb up to the top of the 114m tower via the cast iron spiral staircase and also visit the lighthouse museum.
Taste Bruny Island grown and produced wine
Now that you have visited two of the most iconic landmarks on Bruny Island you need not feel guilty about all the food and drink you’re about to consume!
Stop one on the food part of a Bruny Island food tour is a little tipple before lunch – a tasting at Bruny Island Premium Wines. It’s a small vineyard near sleepy Lunawarra and so booking beforehand is recommended.
Australia’s most southerly vineyard is a family run business which primarily grows cool climate loving Pinot and Chardonnay vines. The wine is notable – in fact the vineyard has won over 40 medals in national and international wine shows!
If you’re not a fan of wine then you’re in luck! They also ferment (not brew) their own cider on site with champagne yeast, resulting in a refreshingly crisp cider with a unique twist.
Also on site is a small farm-to-fork restaurant serving delicious locally sourced produce. On the menu you can find Bruny beef burgers, lamb and wallaby burgers, grilled salmon and slow roasted lamb shoulder.
Buy from Bruny Island Berry farm
At lunch make sure you don’t get dessert – instead head to Bruny Island Berry farm for some ice cream topped with delicious homemade berry coulis.
The contrasting zing from the berries and the smooth cold creaminess of the local ice cream is a match made in heaven. Enjoy it outside on one of the benches in the garden, with a views out to the bay and hills just behind the trees
Alternatively, for something a little lower in calories, a punnet of seasonal berries from the counter. I tried the strawberries and they were definitely some of the better ones I’ve had in the past few years.
Stock up on sweet treats
This cute little roadside shack-come-shop produces chocolate and fudge made fresh on site.
Not only are there a vast selection of chocolate box-style truffles and treats available from the counter to build your own custom box, there are shelves upon shelves of different flavoured chocolate bars and bags.
Of course you need to know what it’s like before you buy, so luckily there are plenty of samples on offer!
If you’re wanting to take a reminder of Bruny Island home with you or have a gift to get someone, you can’t beat chocolate from the Bruny Island Chocolate Co!
Alternatively, just further down the road from the chocolate shop is the Honey Pot producing 100% pure Tasmanian honey. The most iconic honey of the area is Tasmanian Leatherwood, known for its strong, distinct flavour.
Relax at Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co
This cosy and rustic shop with a large outdoor seating area is a welcoming place to sit down with a pint. Outside there are many picnic benches and crates to sit on and in summer, plenty of picnic rugs.
If you have any space left after lunch (and dessert) then grab a cheese tasting platter to enjoy their homemade highlights.
Private tasting experiences are also available for $35 per person where you’ll also get to learn about cheese making and brewing processes.
Alternatively, inside where wheels of cheese line every vertical surface in the room, you can buy some of the hand crafted cheese to take home. Made with traditional techniques and from dairy produced on their farm, you will find something delicious no matter what your preferences are.
Otto – a fresh cheese wrapped in prosciutto ham which you bake at home until it’s soft and gooey sounded amazing. A fresh crusty baguette and a balsamic dressed salad with this cheese would be dinner sorted!
The only cheese I was a bit unsure of was ‘Nannies Undies’ – a slightly quirky name for a semi-hard herb-rubbed cheese!
Grab seafood to go at Get Shucked Oyster Drive Thru
My favourite stop on the whole gastronomic tour of Bruny Island had to be the super cool (and world first) oyster drive thru!
If you don’t have time to enjoy the farm’s seafood with a glass of bubbles at their newly opened oyster bar (beware they close at 4.30pm!) grab a box of oysters to go!
If you like oysters then you should know that Tassie produces some of the creamiest and most refreshingly sweet and juicy oysters in the country. They’re not fishy and slimy – rather fresh, salty and very moorish!
Australia 100% needs more oyster drive-thrus!
A Bruny island food experience is a gastronomic delight taking you on a literal and educational food journey around the island. The ethos on Bruny island is simple – low impact farming and locally sourced ingredients produced off the back of the island’s incredible and abundant natural resources.
Heading to Australia soon? Don’t forget these essentials!
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For some travel inspiration for your next trip, how about Lonely Planet’s top 500 places to see… ranked?
*This post may contain affiliate links meaning should you purchase a product via this link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. These are still products I use or believe in regardless. See my privacy and disclosure policy for more.*