WHEN GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL STILL MEANS LUXURY

Separated from Tasmania by the D'Entrecastaux Channel, Bruny Island can really make a genuine claim to be a get away from it all paradise that so many other places protest to be. The area is famous for its natural beauty, breathtaking wilderness landscapes and coastline. The island is home to the South Bruny National Park and has a diverse wildlife that many visitors are fascinated by. Unlike many other tourist destinations that have been spoilt by over development, Bruny Island has resisted the rush for exploitation of its charms. Nevertheless, luxury accommodation is available and, just because you are in a paradise environment, you won’t have to feel in the least as though you are slumming it. With a stunning beachside position, Sunset Bay Escape, is the perfect example of a heavenly retreat that retains more than a hint or two of opulent luxury. What is more, the accommodation is only an hour and a half’s drive from Hobart – including the 15 minute ferry crossing which departs from Kettering. Sunset Bay itself, which lies close to the famous Bruny Island Lighthouse, is aptly named and offers up regular natural light shows at sun down.

FLORA AND FAUNA

Given that Bruny Island is one of those spots where nature has been largely allowed to get on with it, you might expect some interesting animal and plant life. The island is home to fairy penguins, white wallabies and fur seals. Both the body and the top of the head of the fairy penguin are a striking indigo blue colour and they remain ever popular with locals and tourists alike. Another bird of note is the forty-spotted pardalote which is one of the rarest birds in the whole of Australia and for which the island remains one of the last strongholds. Much of the islands plant life is made up of eucalyptus tree woodland and the hard leaved sclerophyll.

ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS

With such natural beauty it is unsurprising that Tasmania as a whole and Bruny Island in particular are popular with overseas visitors. Foreigners will need to consider changing their cash for Australian dollars before arriving, however, because the island is not exactly overrun with banking services. There are, of course, plenty of ATMs in Hobart and Kingston to use. Australian or not, you will probably want some spare dollars to take part in the activities available on the island. There are, for example, fast moving cruises that operate from Adventure Bay which explore the island. Some say the ocean gives the best views of the unspoilt coastline. These multi-award winning cruises usually run over three hours and the boats, although ruggedly built for the local seas, are comfortable and safe. Expect to discover the so-called Monument, a rocky outcrop which leaves a narrow channel though which you can pass. Sea goers are also often able to spot dolphins, migrating whales as well as birds of prey. Art lovers should head to the most northern part of the island where there is a gallery showcasing the best in local talent including ceramicists, photographers and textile artists.

FOOD AND WINE

For an island that lies off an island that lies off an island, you may expect the area to be a culinary backwater. Far from it. The locality is justly proud of its cuisine – the perfect accompaniment for a luxury vacation. Locally sourced oysters are afavourite choice. Oysters are sourced from a farm on the west of the island which is open to visitors who’d like to sample the produce. Similarly, island-produced cheese has an increasing reputation for both integrity and flavour. Bruny Island Cheese Company makes distinctive cheese from a combination of both cow’s and goat’s milk. The cheese makers have an ethos which is both traditional and ethical – promoting the good treatment of the animals producing the milk. Oenophiles will also find something of interest on the island. The Wayaree Estate produces chardonnay and pinot noir vines that have both won awards. The vineyard itself has a sunny north westerly aspect which offers the grapes slow ripening conditions. The estate is open to visitors on most days but it is best to call ahead to make an appointment.

AN UNSPOILT ISLAND?

It is true to say that tourism to Bruny Island has grown in recent years. Although its natural beauty makes this understandable, can the island really make good on its promise of a luxury paradise? Remember that by far the majority of visitors to the island are day trippers and that only a few stay overnight. Sunset Bay is outside the scope of many visitors who head back for the ferry after a few hours. So, you really can expect to get away from it all.