Have you ever eaten a wild oyster straight off the rocks? You should. It was just one highlight from our visit to Bruny Island during our recent Hobart holiday. Pristine beaches, crystal blue waters, stunning views and incredible produce. Bruny Island has it all.
Here's a Top 5 list of things you should do when, not if, you visit.
5. Eat Bruny Island Oysters at Get Shucked
Half dozen Bruny Island oysters $11
About 3 million oysters are harvested on Bruny Island every year, a combined effort of about 15 oyster farms. The cold and clean waters of Bruny Island are said to result in sweet and plump oysters with a noticeable briny tang.
Get Shucked food menu
One of the easiest places to sample Bruny Island oysters is at Get Shucked in Great Bay, a locally owned and operated oyster farm with a fully licensed oyster bar.
Steamed Oriental oysters $15 half dozen
Enjoy them freshly shucked and au naturel or served with three different dressings. Only Pacific oysters are cultivated here, and we appreciate their gentle creaminess.
The menu yields a bonanza of oyster variations, everything from oysters Kilpatrick to panko-crumbed deep fried oysters to oyster pate. We try the Oriental oysters, steamed with a zingy dressing of miso, ginger, lime and chilli.
Oyster wontons $15 half dozen
We also try the oyster wontons. I prefer the barely cooked creaminess of these although the wonton wrappers end up being a little on the doughy side, especially at the top where the folds are pushed together and threaded onto the skewer.
Shucking fresh oysters
You can pick up your own oyster shucking tips by watching the staff in the glassed-in prep room. Their oyster shucking skills are insane, popping open the shell of each oyster within seconds.
Oysters with a view
If you're in a super hurry, they have a drive through oyster pick-up (you can even get fries with that) but I think you're better off taking the time to enjoy them at a table outside while you drink in the view.
4. Walk up The Neck for a 360-degree view of Bruny Island
200+ timber stairs leading from the sand dunes to The Neck lookout
Bruny Island is actually made up of two islands joined by a narrow isthmus. Climb the 200+ timber stairs up the sand dunes at The Neck - don't worry, they're not too steep and you can rest if you need to - and you'll score yourself a magnificent 360-degree view at the top.
View of the isthmus connected north and south Bruny Island
Bask in the sweeping views, including the gentle rise of south Bruny Island before you as well as the difference in waters between the waves crashing onto the beach on the left and the gentler waters of the bay on the right.
The Neck beach
Boardwalk down to The Neck beach and The Neck Game Reserve
You can also walk down to The Neck beach and explore The Neck Game Reserve. Time your visit at dusk and you may be able to spot the island's local colony of fairy penguins.
Tip: If you are heading up the stairs to the lookout, bring a jacket. It tends to get very blustery with cold winds up at the top.
3. Wet your whistle at Bruny Island House of Whisky
So all that walking made you work up a thirst? Stop in at the Bruny Island House of Whisky for an unparalleled selection of Tasmanian whiskies, gins, wines and spirits.
Single malt whiskies
There are 20 whisky distilleries in Tasmania, an industry that has flourished since 1992. Tasmania's pristine and ice cold waters are said to be a vital ingredient in the success of its whiskies. In 2014, Sullivan's Cove French Oak Cask was named The World's Best Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards, a monumental achievement in an industry in which Australia produces just 0.01% of the world's whisky.
The range of whiskies at the bar is mindblowing. If you can't decide, pull up a stool at the bar and mosey through a flight of four Tasmanian single malt whiskies for $35.
We head to the other side of the bar where it's gin city. The number and types of gin is phenomenal. For $30 you can choose a flight of four gins to sip through. Our tasting went through three stages: neat, with ice, and finally with tonic water and/or cucumber. At the end of the flight you select your favourite and they'll pour you a full serve to enjoy.
I liked the Seclusion so much, I bought a bottle to take home. It's the first gin released by Bruny Island, with just 140 bottles only available for sale here.
2. Eat cheese at Bruny Island Cheese Co
You can combine touristing, shopping and lunch at Bruny Island Cheese Co, first started by Nick Haddow in 2003. The artisan cheese company first came to the attention of many Australians when it was featured in the TV series Gourmet Farmer by former restaurant critic, Matthew Evans. Today it has a huge following, especially its Cheese Club that delivers a selection of cheeses to your door eight times a year.
View into the cheese maturing room
The Bruny Island Cheese Co cellar door is a new and beautiful rustic building, combining cheese shop, retail store, bar and cafe. Better yet, you can press your nose against the glass and admire the cheeses quietly maturing in the coolroom.
Moulds on cheeses
Wheels of cheese
Bruny Island beer tasting paddle: [L-R] Oxymoron dark pale ale, Whey Stout, Farm Ale and Lighthouse Ale.
Onsite you'll also find the Bruny Island Beer Co, a clever partnership that uses some cheese byproducts, like the leftover cow's milk whey in the whey stout.
It's worth timing your visit here with lunchtime so you can take a seat under the eucalyptus trees outside and relax with a selection of cheeses and a beer tasting paddle.
Bruny Island Cheese Co platter $30
[Clockwise from front]: George, Saint and ODO with sourdough, pickles and quincy jelly
The cheese platter changes from day to day. We score a wedge of George, a semi-hard cow's cheese that is aged for five months.
The Saint is a soft white mould cows cheese, not dissimilar to a brie, with its oozing gooey ripe centre.
We also get to try the ODO, a fresh cow made from cow's milk marinated in olive oil. ODO is named for its approximate age: one day old. It's ideal for slathering on slices of the warm and crusty sourdough baguette.
Ploughman's lunch $25
Prosciutto, Jerry, olives, Saint, pickles, sourdough and quince paste
The Ploughman's lunch includes another wedge of Saint as well as Jerry, a lactic-set cow's milk cheese that reminds me of the middle of a burrata with its mild and milky creaminess.
Woodfired sourdough pizza with Tom and Bruny Island olives $18
Our woodfired sourdough pizza is strewn with Bruny Island olives as well as pockets of melted Tom cheese, a hard cow cheese that stretches deliciously when heated.
Oven baked Otto $25
Our group of six finishes with the crowd favourite, the oven baked Otto. A fresh cheese is wrapped in prosciutto and baked in the oven for fifteen minutes so the prosciutto gets all crispy and the cheese melts into a hot puddle of deliciousness.
1. Just drive
Bruny Island is large enough that you'll need a car to travel around its 362 square kilometres. There aren't a large number of roads across the island, and not all of them are sealed, but it's worth just driving and stopping when and as you please, especially along its coastline. You'll be stopping more often than you think.
Stumbling upon wild oysters
We even stumbled upon a crop of wild oysters growing on a rocky outcrop.
How to get to Bruny Island from Hobart
On the vehicular ferry crossing the D'Entrecasteaux Channel
Bruny Island is only accessible by ferry. The Bruny Island Ferry leaves from Kettering (about a 40 minute drive from Hobart) and makes a 20 minute crossing to Bruny Island. Two ferries run from 6.30am until about 7pm. Check the website for seasonal ferry times.
The ferry price is charged per vehicle. Passengers and pedestrians are free. We paid $38 for a return journey for our car.
During peak days, especially weekends and public holidays, it's worth arriving at the ferry terminal early as each ferry only has a limited capacity for cars. Sometimes you may have to wait another hour for the next ferry. If you don't make it onto the last ferry, don't worry, they'll come back for you as long as you are already in the queue!
Approaching Roberts Point on North Bruny Island
1807 Main Road, Great Bay, Bruny Island, Tasmania
Tel: +61 (03) 6260 6353
Open daily 9.30am-5pm
Bruny Island House of Whisky
360 Lennon Road, North Bruny Island, Tasmania
Tel: +61 (03) 6260 6344
Open daily 9.30am-5.30pm (hours may vary through seasons)
Lease 204, 1735 Bruny Island Main Road, Great Bay, North Bruny Island, Tasmania
Tel: +61 (0)439 303 597
Open daily 9.30am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
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3/05/2017 07:10:00 pm