Bruny Island is wild and windswept and bordered by fierce, intriguing seas. It’s a textural island decorated by gumtrees, sweeping plains and driftwood, piled high. The rocks lining the shore are laden with vivid sea lettuce and ocean creatures. It’s brimming with life; untouched and untainted.
The long lineup for the ferry is testament to the islands popularity in recent years and it has subsequently become one of Tasmania’s most popular destinations. Yes, it’s a short 30minute drive from Hobart followed by a 20 minute ferry ride, but as soon as you start driving the windy roads you soon realise why people visit and then return. There’s a little bit of mystery to this place, especially when you venture away from the main attractions and discover the quiet (oh so quiet) and the solitude.
Finding these peaceful places is easy on Bruny. It’s a big island (much bigger than I anticipated) and it will take you roughly 90minutes to drive from the ferry to the southern most tip. I can’t run off a list of places to visit and experience because it seems, at this point in our travels, that the best way to get to know a place is to just be there; breathing the air, swimming in the ocean, walking the land.
We left the caravan just outside of Hobart (although there are free camps on the island if you want to take your van over) and once on Bruny we drove south to Alonnah, a little town just around the corner from Sheepwash Bay that overlooks the d’Entrecasteaux Channel, Satellite Island and Hartz Mountain. There, sitting just up from the beach, is Bruny Boathouse; a charming two-bedroom cottage with captivating views of the boats, the sea, the sky.
It was an ideal spot to settle in for the week; a renovated sea shack brimming with books, foraged bouquets and plush cushions. The beds were comfy, the atmosphere cosy and the salt air, fresh. It’s the kind of cottage you want to escape to when rest and rejuvenation is in order, the ideal space for downtime, creative muddling and copious cups of tea.
Venture outside and you’re only 100metres from Alonnah Beach where the water is fresh and clear or turn right and walk along the bush track to Sheepwash Bay which makes you feel like you could be anywhere. Bruny is a bit like that; it’s an island dotted with ramshackle houses and quirky folk, quiet bays and abundant wildlife. It feels like you’re at the end of the world (and you are, in a way). I think that’s all part of its allure; wrapped up in the natural beauty is the opportunity to escape the rush and settle into Bruny time which is, in every regard, slow and steady.
There’s no obligations at Bruny Boathouse; just the invitation to sit awhile and watch the boats bob to and fro. Stock up before you get on the ferry – groceries and all your necessities – because there isn’t much in the way of shops on the island. You will, however, find the best sourdough of your life – @thebrunybaker – in the vintage fridges on the corner of Sheepwash Bay Rd (about a four minute drive from the Boathouse). It’s the most beautiful (and bountiful) honesty box I’ve ever come across and it will fill your belly with wood fired bread and your heart with joy.