Bruny Island – An isolated but idyllic foodie destination

Robin Boyle Australian, Breakfast, Cakes & Biscuits, Cheese maker, Fish & Seafood, Morning or Afternoon Tea, Recipe, Snack, Travel

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Bruny Island is developing into a brand within a brand, being a subset of the clean and green Tasmanian gourmet image. With two Melbourne friends we recently spent three days on the island but still didn’t have the chance to sample all the food offerings nor experience all the activities.

Activities

Bruny is surprisingly large, the fourth biggest Tassie island after Flinders, King and Cape Barren islands, with an area of about 360 square kilometres. It is long, about 60 km by car end to end, and separated into a northern part and southern part by a long, narrow isthmus, as shown in the next photo (looking south).

Access to the island is by a short ferry ride from Kettering. You can take your car or book on a guided tour from Hobart. A day visit would be rather rushed, but still worthwhile to see the main sights. There are plenty of options for staying overnight.

Adventure Bay is the liveliest settlement with a beautiful beach looking northwards.

From there you can take a three hour boat tour down the eastern side of the southern section, exploring the massive basalt cliffs, visiting the seal colonies and searching the ocean for pods of surfing dolphins and wave skimming albatross.

On the western side of the southern section, right at the bottom tip, you can go by road to visit the impressive lighthouse with beautiful views of the Southern Ocean and over towards the Huon River.

The drive to Dennes Point, right at the northern tip, offers lovely views across the lower Derwent and up towards Hobart.

There are numerous walks to do, along the beaches and through the bush.

Food and Wine

We spent our three nights in a self-contained unit in the small settlement of Alonnah. We wanted to try some of the local eating establishments but also enjoy some of the local ingredients back at the unit. Alonnah is the location of Hotel Bruny. We ate there on our first night and enjoyed it so much that we ate there again on our third night. Click the link for a summary of their goal of serving fresh local produce, including wallaby, and don’t be put off by the appearance of the building!

Bruny Island Cheese is now well known around Australia and is exported to distant markets. At the dairy they also bake marvellous wood-fired bread.

We happened to visit Dennes Point just when the local market was underway in the community hall. There we bought oysters from a Bruny resident who had harvested them that morning from his own beds and shucked them for us on the spot. The market was small but one could buy cakes and pastries as well, whilst adjacent to the hall was a smart looking cafe and gallery.

Our second evening was spent at home and thus consisted of a meal starting with the freshly shucked oysters, followed by fresh wood-fired bread with a fresh salad and Bruny cheeses. One of the cheeses was their famous Otto, a simple fresh cheese wrapped in locally made prosciutto, which is baked in a hot oven for 15 minutes before serving.

There are other food options and outlets we didn’t get to try, including dinner at the local vineyard, largely because of wanting to enjoy our local products at our accommodation. The unit had a great outlook back towards the Huon River and the Hartz Mountains National Park on the Tasmanian mainland. One morning, on the deck, we enjoyed an omelette made using Tassie smoked salmon – for more details see Omelettes.

And we also made a batch of muffins from rolled oats, wholemeal flour, dried fruit and pear. Though being relatively healthy they are surprisingly delicious, and proved versatile snacks for walks and on the boat trip.

For the recipe, click here: Oats and Wholemeal Muffins

Our visit coming to an end, we headed back to the ferry at around 9.00 am. With a half an hour to wait in the queue on the Bruny side, we walked down to the boarding jetty. Should we have been surprised by what this island has to offer? We found the tiniest of kiosks. However, it had a full espresso machine for those wanting coffee, and in their ‘pie warmer’ they had sensational ‘wallaby rendang’ puff pastry parcels!