A food lovers’ day out on Bruny Island, Tasmania

Our holiday in Hobart last year included a day trip to Bruny Island, located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania. Bruny Island is nearly 100 km long and composed of two islands, North Bruny and South Bruny, which are separated by a long, narrow strip of land known as ‘the neck’. Armed with a map, we covered both islands.

There is no public transport on Bruny Island, so you’ll need a vehicle to get around, or to book yourself on a tour. If you rent a car, make sure the rental company permits its vehicles to be taken to Bruny Island. Our self-guided day trip was food-driven, but tours may include Cape Bruny Lighthouse and other island attractions such as the coastal scenery and island wildlife. For food-loving visitors, I highly recommend bringing an esky or cooler bag to store your purchases.

We drove our rental car 30 km south from Hobart to the seaside town of Kettering to catch the Bruny Island ferry. You can’t pre-book your ferry tickets, and as we discovered, at busy times, the ferry may be full and you’ll just have to wait for the next one. Ferry terminal staff directed vehicles into four orderly lanes where we all waited until it was our turn to drive onto the ferry. The ride itself is only 15 minutes each way.

While we waited for the next ferry, many people went into Mermaid Cafe to grab coffee and/or something to eat. While we waited for the next ferry, many people went into Mermaid Cafe to grab coffee and/or something to eat. The Bruny D’Entrecasteaux Visitor Centre is open 9am to 5pm, located next to the cafe.

Welcome to Bruny IslandWelcome to Bruny Island!

Bruny Island Smoke House

First, a quick stop at the Bruny Island Smoke House (BISH) where we sampled smoked pastes, pate and chutneys. The cellar door specialises in Tasmanian single malt whisky, Tasmanian distilled spirits and liqueurs. There’s also an extensive selection of Tasmanian wines (some available by the glass) and Moo Brew on tap.

Bruny Island Smoke HouseBruny Island Smoke House. There’s a rather striking sculpture at the front of the property.

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Free samplesFree samples of smoked pastes. Very tasty, though shallower dishes would be better than the chosen glasses – the pastes leave unappetising-looking brown trails as more people taste.

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Tasmanian single malt whiskies are available for tastingTasmanian single malt whiskies are available for tasting (not free).

DSCF6137You can enjoy a drink or gourmet platter out here on the verandah.

The verandah 

Bruny Island Smokehouse & Whisky Bar
360 Lennon Road, North Bruny
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Telephone: (03) 6260 6344
Open 7 days, but hours may vary seasonally

Get Shucked

Jac was hanging out for a taste of Bruny Island oysters. The rest of us are oyster haters but we were quite content with a cold drink while Jac attacked a dozen freshly shucked natural beauties served with the three dressings of the day, washed down with a Cascade Brewery pale ale (a blog post on Cascade Brewery is coming). Jac commemorated her Bruny Island oyster encounter with a Get Shucked T-shirt.

Order at the counterOrder at the counter. It’s an oyster bar and the menu is all oysters – natural (naked or dressed) and or cooked, including oyster wontons and Kilpatrick.

The oysters are shuckedShucking oysters

DSCF6203There’s plenty of seating outside on the deck.

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A dozen Bruny Island oysters with the three dressings of the day: miso, wasabi cream, Asian fusion: soy, rice vinegar, chilli, spring onion, sunflower oil and moreA dozen Bruny Island oysters dressed (AU$18) – the dressings were miso; wasabi cream; and Asian fusion (with soy, rice vinegar, chilli, spring onion, sunflower oil ‘and more’).

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There's plenty of parking. Follow the signs to the oyster bar.There’s plenty of parking. Follow the signs to the oyster bar.

Get Shucked – Bruny Island oysters
Lease 204, 1735 Bruny Island Main Road
Great Bay, North Bruny
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Telephone: 0428 606 250

Bruny Island Cheese Co

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It was busy at the Bruny Island Cheesery, where the staff wore t-shirts with the Bruny Island Cheese Co gumboots logo on their chests and the words ‘Cheese Makes Me Happy’ written across their backs. We squeezed into the shop and joined in a round of free tastings.

It's a small space but well worth squeezing in.It’s a small space but well worth squeezing in.

Free cheese tastingsFree cheese tastings

The cheeses are made and matured using traditional artisanal techniques and highest quality local cow’s and goat’s milk, inspired by founder Nick Haddow’s training and travels throughout the great cheese-making nations of Europe. We tried everything on offer, including the very pungent ‘1792’ with a pinkish-orange rind, matured on Huon pine boards, and the milder-tasting ‘O.D.O.’, which stands for ‘One Day Old’, a fresh cheese marinated in olive oil, roasted garlic, herbs and roasted red capsicum. My favourite was the ‘Raw Milk C2’, made in the style of cheese found in the mountainous regions of France and northern Italy, using raw, unpasteurised milk and matured for 6 to 12 months. It’s salty, nutty and reminded me of Parmigiano Reggiano.

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DSCF6247The shelves are stocked with locally made products, including Bruny Island Cheese Co’s own homemade relishes and preserves.

The Bruny Island cheese roomThe cheese room – I could gaze at this for ages.

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Cafe dining roomCafe dining room

Bruny Island Cheesery and CafeBruny Island Cheesery and Cafe – the seats on the verandah were the most popular

If you visit Hobart but don’t have time to take a trip to Bruny Island, you can get Bruny Island Cheese Co products at Salamanca Market (blog post coming soon) and at A Common Ground in the Salamanca Arts Centre, the shop owned by Nick Haddow and Matthew Evans of the TV series Gourmet Farmer – there, you’ll find a showcase of artisanal Tasmanian produce, including Nick’s cheeses and Matthew’s rare breed pork products.

Bruny Island Cheese Co
1807 Main Road,
Great Bay, North Bruny
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Telephone: (03) 6260 6353
Cellar door is open daily 10am to 5pm

Bruny Island Premium Wines

We went for lunch at Bruny Island Premium Wines, Australia’s most southern vineyard.

Bruny Island Premium WinesBruny Island Premium Wines

VineyardThe view from our lunch table

We placed our lunch orders at the cellar door. While Jac tasted wines, bought a bottle of SGR Riesling to take home, and chose a glass of red to go with her meal, Craig, Caroline and I enjoyed the tranquil view and the tantalising aroma of our chosen meats sizzling on the barbie nearby.

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Craig and Caroline ordered Bruny Island Premium Beef Burgers, with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion chilli jam, their choice of sauce (tomato, BBQ or sweet chilli) and unbelievably juicy beef patties that I shamelessly checked out from across the table.

Bruny Island Premium Beef Burger (AU$16) - with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion chilli jam and choice of sauce (tomato, BBQ or sweet chilli)Bruny Island Premium Beef Burger (AU$16) – with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion chilli jam and choice of sauce (tomato, BBQ or sweet chilli). One of my burger irks is a bun that’s bigger than the meat, but boy, this looked fantastic.

Jac ordered the Bruny wallaby, served with Pinot cherry chutney and the salad of the day, an impressive, colourful mountain of chopped cucumber, tomato, red capsicum, lettuce, pickled beetroot and seasoned feta. Jac’s verdict on the wallaby: “It’s like… three-quarters beef, one-quarter kangaroo. I’d eat it again for sure.”

Bruny wallaby (AU$27) - from Richard Clark's game meat abattoir at Great Bay served with Pinot cherry chutney and salad of the day Bruny wallaby (AU$27) – from Richard Clark’s game meat abattoir at Great Bay served with Pinot cherry chutney and salad of the day.

The salad of the day (on Jac's plate)The salad of the day (on Jac’s plate) – now THIS is a decent side salad.

I chose the Bruny Toulouse pork sausages, which come Ross O’Meara’s farm (featured on Gourmet Farmer, mentioned above at Bruny Island Cheese Co), served with Pagan Cider-infused Apple Isle sauce and seasonal vegetables – potato, pumpkin, capsicum and broccoli. These stubby succulent sausages were extremely meaty.

Bruny Toulouse pork sausages (AU$27), served with Pagan Cider infused Apple Isle sauce and vegetablesBruny Toulouse pork sausages (AU$27), served with Pagan Cider infused Apple Isle sauce and vegetables.

Craig and Caroline had coffee (served in a plunger – don’t expect cappuccino), but we saved our sweet stomachs for our next stop – the Bruny Island Berry Farm.

Bruny Island Premium Wines
Wayaree Estate, 4391 Main Rd
Lunawanna, South Bruny
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Telephone: (03) 6293 1088 or 0409 973 033
The cellar door is open most days from 11am to 5pm
The Bar & Grill is open for lunch

Bruny Island Berry Farm

At the Berry Farm cafe, the display case was full of tempting treats: cheesecakes dripping with berry coulis, berry tarts and berry muffins, and champagne jellies brimming with berries. The menu includes pancakes or waffles with berries, cream and ice cream, scones with jam and cream, but we went for simple berry goodness: a takeaway container of ready-to-eat raspberries for $3.50, and ice cream cones – raspberry sorbet for Jac and strawberry ice cream for me. The ice cream is Valhalla brand, made from pure Tasmanian cream – we ate Valhalla ice cream multiple times during our holiday.

A minor drama when I went to buy milk chocolate-covered raspberries for Jac – the bag literally burst open when I lifted it from the shelf, spilling its contents everywhere. Thank you to the lady in the shop who very kindly took the broken bag and its remaining contents from me and insisted I choose another unbroken bag from the shelf.

We sat at one of the picnic benches on the lawn, eating berries and ice cream as we watched people whacking the totem tennis ball around.

Bruny Island berry farm cafeBruny Island berry farm cafe

Fresh raspberriesFresh raspberries

Raspberry and strawberry ice cream at the Bruny Island Berry FarmRaspberry sorbet and strawberry ice cream at the Bruny Island Berry Farm. Great fruity flavour, but at $4 for a single scoop I thought the servings were on the stingy side – Jac’s sorbet especially

There's even totem tennisThere’s even totem tennis!

Bruny Island Berry Farm
550 Adventure Bay Road, South Bruny
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Telephone: (03) 6293 1055

Bruny Island Providore

Our final planned stop was Bruny Island Providore. It’s essentially a sweets shop, with a range of chocolates and lollies for sale, but we were primarily here for the fudge. A video showing the fudge-making process played on a TV screen, but we were like kids in a candy store (hah!) and far too interested in all the goodies on the shelves to stop and watch a video!

Bruny Island Providore - fudgeBruny Island Providore – don’t forget to take your photo as a penguin!

DSCF6378 In addition to fudge in multiple flavours, there are other chocolate products such as chocolate-covered nuts and honeycomb.

DSCF6379The fudge off-cuts are great value.

The fudge off-cuts are probably too rough in appearance for gifts, but they are good value if you don’t care about the packaging. Jac and I bought several varieties. These things should come with a warning: once you start, it’s extremely difficult to stop.

Fudge is also available in various tins, such as these cat tinsFudge is also available in various tins, such as these horse and cat tins

Lots of toys in the shop There are wooden toys and ships for sale too. Lots of interesting gift ideas.

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Bruny Island Providore
53 Adventure Bay Road, South Bruny
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Telepone (03) 6293 1456
Open daily 10am to 4pm

Bruny Island post boxesBruny Island post boxes

Black Devil Tasmanian cherries

We stumbled upon the Black Devil Tasmanian cherries shack on our drive back to the ferry. If you’re a cherry fan and visit Bruny Island when they are in season, you’ll want to stop here.

The cherries are grown at Lennonville Orchards on North Bruny. In the shack, there’s a poster on the wall detailing the quarantine restrictions for each state – Craig and Caroline were able to take cherries back into New South Wales, but Jac and I were not allowed to bring them back into Western Australia. At this price, we bought a bag anyway, which Jac ate her way through the rest of our trip (I don’t like cherries!).

Black Devil cherries is an essential stop on the way back to the ferryThe Black Devil cherry shack is right next to the ferry terminal.

Cheap cherries!Cheap cherries!

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One minute we were waiting in a line of cars on the road waiting to board the ferry, Caroline and Jac munching on cherries, and then, ‘suddenly’, we were back on the road to Hobart. I guess I was more tired than I realised.

In terms of Bruny Island food and dining, we covered a lot of ground in a day. There are other eateries we didn’t stop at, such as the local pub Hotel Bruny, the Hothouse Cafe, and the cafes on either side of the ferry journey: Mermaid Cafe at Kettering, and the Jetty Cafe at Dennes Point on Bruny Island. I’d like to return to Bruny Island sometime and do things differently – I’d like to stop longer at Bruny Island Cheese Co, for example, and photograph the island wildlife. Next time, next time.

 The ferry The ferry

Getting to Bruny Island

  • The Bruny Island Ferry departs from the town of Kettering, approximately 35 minutes by car from Hobart.
  • The ferry ride to Bruny Island is 15 minutes.
  • The ticket booth accepts cash only. Ticket prices vary according to what kind of vehicle you’re driving. Passengers in vehicles and pedestrians travel free of charge. See the Bruny Island Ferry website for timetable and ticket prices

We spent just a day on Bruny Island, but there is a range of accommodation available, from camp sites and caravan park to self-contained cottages and luxury retreats.

About this series

In December 2013, my partner Jac and I went on holiday – 3 nights in Melbourne, then 3 nights in Launceston (Jac, to stay with a friend) and King Island (me, for a photographic safari with our friends Craig and Caroline), and finally, Hobart for 6 nights. This trip was not sponsored in any way.

The full list of posts is below:

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  • This is such an interesting and detailed blog. I have heard really mixed reports on Bruny but your visit looks delicious & fun! Somewhere else I would love to see for myself!

    • Jane,
      I guess it depends what you’re into. Apart from what you see in the tour brochures and what I’ve shown on this post, there isn’t a lot else to do on Bruny Island – so people wanting something else should probably go elsewhere. Personally I thought it was a worthwhile day trip. Next time I’d love to spend a few days staying on the island.

  • Craig Hind

    Mammoth post for a mammoth day! That was a great day. Brings back good memories.

    And those cherries… They were damn fine cherries!

    We’re still deciding where to go on our fleeting Hobart trip in July. I’d like to go back to Bruny but I think we’re going to head over to Port Arthur this time and check that out.

    • Craig,
      Good idea to check out Port Arthur since we ran out of time to do that. I kind of wish I liked cherries! :P

  • Caro Hind

    I think if (when) I got back to Bruny Island, I’d like to stay for a day or two, to explore more and get a chance to eat at a few of the places, e.g. Bruny Island Cheese had a nice looking eatery and menu.
    I was relieved we had nobody stopping us at Sydney airport wanting to check bags, because between Bruny Island and Salamanca Markets, the amount of fudge we brought back home was just ridiculous! :)

    • Caro,
      I reckon it wouldn’t be that unusual. Like when it was the done thing for Perth people coming back from Sydney to load up their hand luggage with boxes of Krispy Kremes. The sniffer dogs would go crazy at all the sugar fumes! Their handlers would kind of sigh and ask “You’ve got Krispy Kreme doughnuts in there, don’t you?”

  • Bruny Island really does look like a food lovers paradise. With everything from wines to cheese, to berries and sweets! I think I could easily spend more than a day there, just eating everything in sight.

    • Amanda, it’s worth a visit, I reckon, for any food lover who plans a trip to Hobart. It was such a nice day out.

  • Great detailed post Cynthia! I did a fleeting food trip to Bruny Island, although I realised reading this I missed out on quite a bit! (sounds like even you did). Good going for one day though. Great photos too.

    • Cheers, Andy. Yes, I definitely would like to return to Bruny Island to see (and eat) the things we missed out on. Maybe stay a night or two next time.