South Bruny National Park
South Bruny National Park lies at the southern tip of Bruny Island off the southeast coast of Tasmania. The park encompasses all of the coastline and some of the hinterland between Fluted Cape and the southern part of Great Taylors Bay.
South Bruny National Park was gazetted in 1997 mainly for its wonderful coastal scenery. Much of the coast is comprised of towering cliffs, muttonbird rookeries, gardens of kelp seaweed and long sandy beaches. In some areas the park extends several kilometres back from the coastline, where lush rainforest may be found containing several endemic plant species (plants unique to Tasmania). The popularity of South Bruny National Park as a tourist destination is enhanced by its abundant birdlife, coastal heathland and its prominent place in the history of Tasmania.
The park offers plenty of opportunities for walking, from the short stroll to the remains of an old whaling station at Grass Point, to the more demanding Labillardiere Peninsula circuit.
Adventure Bay and Jetty Beach provide safe, sheltered areas for swimming, while Cloudy Bay is a popular spot for experienced surfers.
Bruny Island lies just off the south-east coast of Tasmania. D'Entrecasteaux Channel separates the island from mainland Tasmania. From Hobart, the island can be reached by travelling south on the Southern Outlet (A6) to Kingston, and then continuing to Kettering on the B68, some 40 km (and about 40 minutes) south of Hobart.
A vehicular ferry departs from Kettering. Departures are at regular intervals throughout the day, and the trip takes about 15 minutes. The ferry takes you to Roberts Point, on north Bruny Island. From Roberts Point you travel by road (sealed & unsealed) to the southern part of the island.
Camping areas are located at Cloudy Bay and Jetty Beach. All have pit toilets, limited water and fireplaces. Firewood is not supplied so please bring your own or use a fuel stove. Camp grounds have no rubbish collection so please take your rubbish with you.
There is also a campsite at the Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve, with pit toilets and limited water.
Park entry fees apply to all national parks. Passes are available from the D'Entrecasteaux Visitor Centre at Kettering, the Adventure Bay shop and the self registration booth at Lighthouse Road (Mable Bay). The money raised will be used to maintain and develop South Bruny National Park facilities.
As there are no ramps in the park, boats can be launched from the beaches when necessary. The jetty on Partridge Island should only be used for landing and disembarking - no mooring is permitted. Please avoid birds on the beach, especially between September and March when they are breeding.
Swimming and surfing
Adventure Bay and Jetty Beach provide safe, sheltered areas for swimming. Cloudy Bay is a popular spot for experienced surfers - watch the rips!
The coast, bush and open pastures of South Bruny National Park provide a range of habitat for birdlife. Over 120 species have been recorded on the island including the tawny-crowned honeyeater, Australasian gannet and ground parrot.
Important! Before planning any walks, be sure to check the weather. A good map is useful.
A variety of walking tracks within South Bruny National Park provide breathtaking views of the spectacular coastline with its towering cliffs. Walks vary from pleasant strolls along Cloudy Bay beach to the longer and more demanding Labillardiere Peninsula circuit.
Grass Point - 1 1 /2 hours return
This walk commences at the Adventure Bay entrance to the National Park. There is parking available at the very end of Adventure Bay road. Start the walk by going along the short beach next to the carpark and turn left. The track is well formed, suitable for families, keeps close to the coast and is mainly flat with a few gentle ups and downs. Grass Point is an open grassland where there are visible remains of structures associated with the bay whaling industry. Captain Kelly's whaling station was recently the subject of archaeological research. Southern Right Whales have returned to Adventure Bay and can be seen during migration times, heading north from June to September and south from September to late October, along this section of the coast.
Fluted Cape - 2 1/2 hours return
Follow the Grass Point track until you reach the open grassland at Penguin Island. The circular route can be taken by following the Fluted Cape circuit sign. The track climbs steeply, staying close to the coastal cliffs providing spectacular views of Fluted Cape and the more distant Tasman Peninsula. Sea eagles may be seen along the cape soaring in the thermals. After about 50 minutes you will reach a sign that says 'Fluted Cape return via circuit' where you begin a gradual descent returning to Adventure Bay. (This walk should not be attempted by young unescorted children).
East Cloudy Head (shorter trip) - 4 hours return
Park at the end of Cloudy Bay Road and walk about 45 minutes until you reach the southern end of the beach. Turn inland along Imlays Creek which you cross a number of times over 100 metres in distance until you reach a 4WD track. The walk follows the old 4WD track with a number of quite steep ascents and descents. Once you reach the headland return the way you came.
Labillardiere Peninsula Circuit - 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours return
The track starts at the Jetty Beach campground and does a circuit around the peninsula. The track can be walked in either direction but for unobscured views of the magnificent coastline it is recommended commencing the walk on the western side.
Once you have climbed Mt Bleak you will gain a view of Partridge Island, which protects one of the largest populations of the endangered forty-spotted pardalote. From Mt Bleak the track descends to Hopwood and Butlers Beaches and from here it is about 2 1/2 - 3 hours walk through light forest to finish at Jetty Beach. At Jetty Beach you can see the remains of the first jetty on the island, constructed in 1860 to supply the Cape Bruny Lighthouse.
Briggs, M. & A., Cane, H., Davis, B. & J. & Erickson, B. (1998) Bruny Island: A guide for walkers. Grundys Point Press, Tasmania.
Spectacular sea cliffs
The topography and geology of South Bruny National Park provides a varied and scenic landscape which is of great appeal to visitors. The coastline consists of cliffs and headlands broken up by the beaches of Cloudy Bay. Most of the park is comprised of Jurassic dolerite, forming the dramatic sea cliffs in the park. Another interesting geological feature is the mid-bay spit, one of only four in Tasmania, that separates Cloudy Bay from Cloudy Bay Lagoon.
Bruny Island's history is, in many ways, the history of Tasmania. It was inhabited for thousands of years by Aborigines before Abel Tasman, the first European in the region, sailed along its shore in 1642. The safe anchorage of Adventure Bay was first located by Captain Tobias Furneaux in 1773. Furneaux named the Bay after his vessel the Adventure. Adventure Bay was then utilised by Captain James Cook In 1777 and by Captain William Bligh in 1788, 1792 and 1808. Bligh was responsible for the planting of the first apple tree in Tasmania during his 1788 voyage. French Admiral Bruni D'Entrecasteaux anchored in the bay in 1792 and gave his name to both the island and the channel that separates the island from the mainland. Captain Matthew Flinders also took advantage of the bay's safe anchorage in 1814.
The Aboriginal people that lived in the area belonged to the South East tribe and their particular band was the Nuenonne band. The Nuenonne band occupied Bruny Island on a permanent basis and their total numbers are estimated to be some 70 people. The Nuenonne people called the island Lunnawannalonna. This name is retained in the names of two settlements on South Bruny, Alonnah and Lunawanna. The park contains a number of important Aboriginal sites, mainly in the form of middens, quarries and artefact scatters. There is also a number of stone arrangements along the coastline of the park. One of the most famous Tasmanian Aborigines, Truganini, was born in 1803 to the wife of Mangana, the chief of the Bruny Island tribe. She died in 1876 and is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the last Tasmanian Aborigine. In fact many descendants of Tasmanian Aborigines live on to this day.
In the early part of the 19th century whaling was carried out in Adventure Bay mainly catching the southern right whales during their annual migration. There were whaling stations at Cloudy Bay and Grass Point in the north of the park where structural remains can still be seen today. This important industry was not sustainable. A drastic decline in whale numbers resulted from over-exploitation and by the late 1840s whaling had collapsed.
The vegetation of the park has significant conservation values. Of particular interest is the occurence of the endangered endemic eyebright Euphrasia fragosa. The vegetation of the park may be divided into four zones:
>>Plant communities around the coast that receive a lot of salt water and spray.
>>Heathland communities comprising a rich diversity of plant species including many species of orchid. For instance the rare chestnut leek orchid Prasophyllum castaneum occurs in this area. Most orchids flower in spring and are common on the Labillardiere Peninsula. Christmas bells Blandfordia punicea are one of the particularly attractive heathland species found in the park.
>>Eucalypt scrub which is dominated by black peppermint Eucalyptus amygdalina that grows between five and ten metres high.
>>Eucalypt forest dominated by brown-top stringybark E. obliqua, interspersed with the occasional pocket of white gum E.viminalis.
South Bruny National Park provides key habitat for threatened species, particularly bird life which is rich and varied. The hooded plover uses the sandy beaches and dunes to nest and the swift parrot depends on blue gums for its specialised diet. Partridge Island protects one of the largest surviving colonies of the endangered forty-spotted pardalote.
There are several muttonbird (short-tailed shearwater) and little penguin (fairy penguin) colonies in the park and a small population of sooty shearwaters on Courts Island. Both muttonbird and penguin colonies are vulnerable to attacks by dogs or by burrows being trampled by visitors.
Most animals in the park are nocturnal, however short-beaked echidnas are active in daytime, making them easier to see. One of earliest echidna specimens was collected in 1792 at Adventure Bay. Captain Bligh both drew and described this pecular animal. In the evening brushtail possums, Tasmanian pademelons and Bennetts wallabies are often seen. Around the Fluted Cape entrance to the park a small and unusual population of white Bennetts wallabies may be seen feeding in the open paddocks at dusk.
The surrounding marine environment is home to seals and whales. The Australian fur seal, the most common seal in Tasmanian waters, can be seen around The Friars. If you are lucky enough you may encounter a rare visitor to the park, a leopard seal that has come ashore to rest. Leopard seals are the only seal to regularly prey on warm-blooded animals such as penguins, birds and other seals. Two whale species, the humpback and the threatened southern right whale, also frequent the Adventure Bay area. They are attracted to this area because it is shallow and protected.
South Bruny National Park
c/o Adventure Bay Post Office
Bruny Island TAS 7150
Phone:03 6293 1419
Fax:03 6293 1446
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania