Bruny Island

Last evening, we had a wonderful catch up with our friends Ris and Steve when we joined them for at their house for dinner. They are a remarkable couple – each being very succesful in their own field. Steve is the most senior surgeon in Tasmania while Ris is Australia’s most prolific romance writer. We have known them for many years. They were host parents to our son’s Japanese host sister, Eriko, when she spent a year in Australia as an exchange student.

I have never been to Bruny Island before, but today was the day. We drove for about 30 minutes to the ferry near Kettering. They run every 20 minutes and I had a good discount off the normal ticket price with my Veterans Gold Card.

Bruny Island, which is about 50-60 km long, is a popular day trip destination and easily accessible from Hobart. In reality it is two islands joined by a narrow isthmus called “The Neck”. Interestingly, North Bruny Island is quite different from South Bruny Island. The north is characterised by open pastures and light bushland and is known to be drier than the south. The south is heavily timbered, hilly and has sections of rainforest.

The ferry arrives at the north and the road passes south of the tiny townships of Dennes Point and Barnes Bay; the Neck is home to the Truganini Lookout which offers some of the best views on the island.

There were 332 steps to the top of the sand dune from which there were wonderful 360° views of the north and south sections of the island. A long, narrow, isthmus of land connects them. At dusk, it is possible to see little penguins returning to their burrows after a day collecting food out at sea but we didn’t see them in the daylight..

We decided to drive directly to Cape Bruny Lighthouse (32 km) on the southern shore of the island and then work our way back looking at some of features along the way.

The lighthouse was commissioned by Governor George Arthur in 1835 after a series of shipwrecks south of Bruny Island, Construction began in April 1836. The lighthouse was built by convict labour using locally quarried dolerite over two years. When first lit in March 1838 it was Tasmania’s third lighthouse and Australia’s fourth.

The nightly task of maintaining the light was constant for the Cape Bruny Lighthouse keepers through the 19th and early 20th centuries. The lighthouse had a unique light characteristic which was powered by a clockwork planetary table requiring rewinding every eight hours but rewound about every hour routinely to help the keepers stay awake. The fifteen lamps of the original 1838 Wilkins lantern each burned about a pint of expensive sperm whale oil per hour and needed frequent refilling. Two lighthouse keepers and their families lived here with acoomodation for a third when necessary.

It was at the lighthouse that disaster struck. I placed my camera on the railing of the toilet building while I was. washing my hands and it fell to about a metre to the floor. My camera was OK but the lens mount had become damaged and broke apart. I tried to fix it with the help of another kind man who had some tools in his car but the len’s electronic connections were were broken and wouldn’t work. I had to use my reserve camera (Iphone) for the rest of the day. It was an expensive accident but I was able to replace the lens (in a fashion) at the camera store back in Hobart. I’lll send the broken lens away for repair after I get home.

There were some attractive coves and beaches on the island and I enjoyed photographing them, even though I was using my phone.

After we left the lighthouse, we drove tnrough a number of little settlements and we were getting hungry. There seemed to be nowhere to buy any food. Some places had stalls that sold honey or chese but we couldn’t find anything to eat. In the end, we decided to drive to Adventure Bay on the other side of the island and there, around 2.30 pm, we found a cafe and a little supermarket. You have no idea how delicious a meat pie can be.

We ended the day by driving back to the ferry terminal and found a number of interestng farming views as well.

We were back on the ferry for a 20-minute return ride to the mainland a little before 4.00 pm.

We returned to Hobart by 5.00 pm which left me half an hour to get to the camera shop to buy a replacement lens for my camera. It’s not quite the same as the one that Ibroke, but it will do.  I may eventually decide that I don’t need it and, if so, I will sell it second hand.

Back in our room after dinner we found there was a spectacular sunset over Mount Wellington. If the old adage – ‘red at night- shepherds delight, red at morning – shepherds warning’ holds true, we will be in for a nice day tomorrow.

One thought on “Bruny Island”

  1. Spectacular sunset Bruce. I had o idea Bruny Island was so big. Thanks for sharing again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Our Final Day in Tassie

Yesterday, we only had a short trip of less than 100 kilometres from Launceston to Devonport where we would catch the ferry back to the mainland. We took advantage of the time that would have on this short driving day to see some last minute sights and visit some friends. My old mate Leon or […]

Read More

George Town and Beaconsfield

George Town sits on the east bank of the Tamar River near its mouth on the north coast of Tasmania. It was a short drive for us today to explore this area and its history. The town is now a modern administrative centre but historically it was an important place – the third oldest British […]

Read More

A Change of Plan

Our day started with some excitement. We were awoken by thunder and lightning at around 5.00 am. Rolling thunder continued until we were packed up and ready to leave St Helens at around 9.30 am. It wasn’t raining when we left but, wow, did that change! Our plan for the day was to drive west […]

Read More