Bountiful Bruny Island: Southern Tasmania's foodie paradise
A remote speckle of land at the bottom of the earth, Bruny Island is famed for its natural beauty, boasting a bush-meets-sea terrain to fulfil all types of outdoor adventurers. This southernmost part of Australia is also home to some of the best produce in the country. Tasmanian produce is much celebrated in the country, and Bruny Island, though petite in relation to Tasmania’s mainland (let alone Australia’s), is a paradise for food and drink.
Passionate artisans are leading the charge and making this dot on the globe a little more renowned. The beauty of visiting the island is that travellers can experience the delectable offerings of its producers all in one day.
Devour fresh oysters
The first foodie stop on Bruny Island is Get Shucked – which could be one of the only drive-through oyster bars in the world. Get Shucked’s farm nets are so close to the bar they’re outlined with a signboard with ‘Our Farm’ written on it; painted with an arrow pointing towards Great Bay. There is the option to dine in at the eatery, too. Diners can slurp down half or a dozen oysters while looking out onto the ocean.
Oysters come naked (dressed with lemon) or cooked. There are oysters wrapped in wonton pastry, deep fried and served with wasabi cream; oysters Kilpatrick prepared with Bruny Island Food’s bacon; and steamy oriental oysters, poached in a broth of white miso, served with ginger, chilli and lime. To quote Get Shucked’s website ‘an oyster without a bevvy is like a kiss without a cuddle’. As such, the bar serves Tasmanian wines, beers and ciders, alongside locally made soft drinks. For those feeling a little more game, try the bloody mary oyster shooter – tomato juice, 666 Tasmanian vodka and lemon juice in a shot glass, over a fresh oyster.
Combine craft beer with indulgent cheese
In Northern Bruny is a culinary cheese emporium nestled in the bush, known as The Bruny Island Cheese Co. Its entrance is somewhat reminiscent of the walk up to the witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel, via a gravel path that weaves through the trees. There’s no witch waiting to feast on visitors, but things aplenty for visitors to feast on themselves. A cheese room is filled with rounds of the Saint, a soft cow milk cheese with white mould; and the Tom, a maturing hard cow milk cheese. Cheeses are available to take home or indulge in onsite, and for those who do choose to stay, order the Otto – fresh cow milk cheese wrapped in prosciutto. Wooden boards of cheese, house-made bread, fruit pastes and nuts are available to eat inside or among the trees.
The Bruny Island Beer Company joined the cheese company’s grounds in 2016. Its craft beer is found in pubs and bars around the country – notably the dark pale ale Oxymoron and Tasmanian sessional ale, Farm Ale. Boards of beer and cheese flights are available, for those who want to enjoy two of life’s most prized fermented delicacies at once.
Try berry good produce right across from the beach
To set the record straight, Bruny Island is more like two islands connected by The Neck – a remarkable isthmus. To get to the Bruny Island Berry Farm, visitors have to cross this. When reaching the ‘Penguin Walk and Lookout’ sign be sure to get out and embark up the 240 steps leading to the Truganini lookout. At the peak is one of the most overwhelmingly beautiful views Australia has to offer – overlooking the narrow stretch of land as the waves either side mesmerisingly crash on the shore.
After reaching the end of The Neck, drivers are met with a windy yet picturesque route of ascents and descents, which reveals stunning vistas of the water among rich bushland. A long driveway gives way to a 12-hectare berry farm, which hosts a diversity of berries – from raspberries and blueberries to boysenberries and jostaberries. Patrons can pick their own; eat them fresh, or indulge in their repurposed forms of jams and ice creams. The farm overlooks Adventure Bay, which is perfect for a dip if the weather permits – its white sand and turquoise waters providing a golden spot for some seaside rejuvenation.
For those whose sweet tooth isn’t quite satisfied, head to the Bruny Island Chocolate Company. Know that this isn’t a factory but a store, so Willy Wonka fans best not get their hopes up for oompa loompas and chocolate fountains. But it’s good for those who fancy some fudge for the road.
Whet your whistle on whiskey
There are no whiskies distilled on Bruny Island (not yet, at least). But there is somewhere to enjoy the liquor – the Bruny Island House of Whisky, which is just 3.5km from the ferry dock. It houses a range of Tasmanian-made whiskies, from single malts to Trapper's Hut – a 15-year-old, limited single cask release. It’s found at the northern tip of Bruny Island, in a distinctive yet charming building made half of cobblestone, while timber finishes off the pitched roof.
Note this is a place for true whisky fans that seek specialty whiskies and expert advice to match. Whisky flights are available, as are platters of cured meat, cheese and crackers. Sip away on the front deck, which provides views over the water.