Walks, tracks and trails

Walking or riding are the best ways to experience the beauty and nature of Bruny Island. This is a selection of the best public walks. Some may have unexpected dangers, so make sure you are well prepared and that someone knows where you are going and when you’ll be back. All walks in the South Bruny National Park require a Park Pass.

This map features all the walks mentioned below, which are organised by length and location, with the northern-most ones mentioned first.

Short walks

Dennes Point Heritage Trail: an easy, 1.5 km walk with terrific interpretation boards that overlooks the northern tip of Bruny and up the Derwent Estuary. Start at the Jetty Cafe or park down at the Jetty. You can extend this walk further around the foreshore until you look out east over Storm Bay .

Nebraska Beach/Bligh Point (3 km) nearby can be started from near the jetty as well, or can be started at a walkway through private houses near the end of Nebraska Beach. The sandstone rock cliffs have interesting patterns and wave-cut platforms. It should only be attempted at half tide or less. The walk becomes increasingly harder as you near Bligh Point.

Dennes Hill Memorial Seat is a short (1 km) walk into the public Dennes Hill park that was donated to Parks by Ross and Jo Denne. It is rich in blue gums and white gums and a stronghold for the endangered 40-spotted pardalote. The seat was erected by Bruny Island Environment Network and long-time pardalote champion – Sally Bryant. Parking and access are difficult here and it is a gentle uphill climb to get to the memorial seat, which has wonderful views over Storm Bay.

Truganni Lookout is the iconic Bruny lookout, with a steep flight of stairs rewarding you with fabulous views along the Neck, into the Tasman Sea and d’Entrecasteaux Channel. Parking and toilets are excellent. At night, take your shielded torch for viewings of Little penguins and Short-tailed shearwaters coming back to feed their young.

Hanssons Beach/Two-tree Point features picnic tables and a gentle stroll along a gorgeous beach. In easterly swell conditions, there may even be waves in which you can body-surf!

Grass Point is an easy 2km well-graded walk along the foreshore to Penguin Island, starting at Pennicots restaurant at the end of Adventure Bay Rd. It is also the start and end of the Fluted Cape walk.

Mavista Nature Walk, a well graded 800m forest walk is accessed from Resolution Rd, via Lockleys Road in Adventure Bay. Complete with some interpretation, a covered picnic area, this delightful walk features birds such as the Pink robin and Scrub wren that prefer the deep shade of tall wet forest.

Alonnah/Sheepwash Bay foreshore route is an easy 3km walk along the old track used by bullocks in the early days of Bruny Island logging. Start at the jetty at Alonnah and either have a car at the other end, or just retrace your steps.

Clennets Top Mill hails from a proud logging history in the magnificent tall forests of Bruny Island. Accessed from Coolangata Rd on the Lunawanna side, the short (100m) signposted and interpreted walk features the rusty remains of a steam-driven log-hauler, tracks and bogies dating from the 1940s.

Middle Bay 200m walk over a wild headland from the carpark at the end of Cloudy Bay Rd, is a surfer’s delight. Exposed to the huge rollers of the Great Southern Ocean, it rarely disappoints and even has a handy rip on the right hand side to help surfers and body-boarders get out the back. Rock-hopping and beach-combing are further delights!

Medium walks

Cape Queen Elizabeth (13 km return) starts at the signposted carpark, just north of the Neck. Much of the route to the coast (2.5 km) is an old 4WD track, now thankfully closed, that passes by Big Lagoon and Little Lagoon, now both sadly dry most of the time. If the tide is low enough, an attempt may be made to skirt the beach underneath Mars Bluff. This can be exciting – dodging the waves – and very rewarding, as the cliffs feature alleyways, caves and an arch. The following Miles Beach must be one of the best secluded beach walks in Tasmania, and at the end of this, one ascends through the heath and turns right into beautiful eucalypt woodland. The track winds its way eventually up to a cliff overlooking the writhing sea below. Return via the same route, or peel off at the end of Miles Beach and walk over Mars Bluff.

Fancy Bay is a beach walk and foreshore rock scramble that starts at an un-signposted track sandwiched between private land about 1 km south of the airstrip that leads to the beach. From there, just amble along the shore or at low tide across the mudflats to cliffs full of fossilised shells and Porpoise Head (about 1 km). Around that headland is the lovely Fancy Bay – a kilometre long pristine and low-energy beach. Either retrace your steps, or continue past Chuckle Head to Little Fancy – another 1.5 km. Although it is possible to continue to Ford Bay and the Main Rd, there are many places where the going is difficult. Retrace your steps back to the start.

Neck Beach/Blighs Rocks (6 km return) starts at the signposted Neck Camping Ground. Best done at half tide or less, simply walk down to the beach, turn right and continue until the tessellated pavement of Blighs Rocks are seen. These rocks form a pavement reminiscent of a Roman mosaic. Retrace your steps and if you feeling so inclined, walk for kilometres further up the beach and watch the blurred legs of tiny Hooded plovers as they race up and down the beach!

Mt Mangana (4km return) follows a well formed easy track that ascends some 120m to the top of Mt Mangana. It is accessed off Coolangata Rd from either side of the island, which is itself can be quite challenging depending on how well the road has been maintained. It is a delightful walk through semi-rainforest and may have great views from the top.

More challenging walks

Fluted Cape peels off the Grass Point track and although only 3.5 km round trip, is a challenging but rewarding walk to the top of cliffs, best done anti-clockwise to take advantage of the views. The cliffs are thought to have claimed one life, so be aware and careful when goggling at the stupendous drop to the ocean swells 200m below. All the steeper sections require sure footing, as it is easy to roll on loose stones or casuarina cones. For safety on the steeper sections, it may be better to do the walk clockwise.

Murrays Track is signposted only 100m south of the Mavista Nature Trail on Coolangata Rd. This 4.5 km, 2.5 hr walk is best done by having a car or other transport at either end. It mostly follows old benched logging tracks, but at times is just a tagged footpad and additionally has large trees over the trail in places. It climbs steadily through magnificent tall forest that does not easily display its extensive logging history, as the trees grow so well here. After about 2 km, the grade eases and the moss thickens as the rainforest canopy closes. Up through a saddle between Mt Mangana and Mt Tobin, the track sidles around on a mossy scree slope then gradually descends again through emergent Melaleuca pallida – some over 12m tall – into tall eucalypt forest. Here the track falls steeply, and due to tree falls is hard to follow, until you come to a gully. Follow this straight downhill. Unfortunately thick cutting grass (Gahnia grandis) makes the going tough here, and long sleeves and trousers are highly recommended. Exit onto Lockleys Link Rd, where the track is again signposted. The last kilometre or so shows recent clearfell forestry, and also magnificent regrowth.

Slide Track (9.5km, 5-6 hr) starts off a spur of Lockleys Rd, some 10km south of Adventure Bay and is signposted. A 2WD can get there, but a 4WD is recommended, as is having transport either end of the track. Much of the walk is well graded because it follows an old tramway built to transport huge logs to the sawmill at Adventure Bay. Originally horses and oxen were used, but as technology improved, steam driven and then oil burning transport took over. Now only ruins, the engineering feats were mind-boggling. The “Slide’ section 2.5 km in, traverses a precipitous 45 degree slope down to Haulage Bay on the uncompromising east coast of Bruny. Being so steep, the track suffers from trees falling over the track, making progress very slow. Astoundingly though, the track itself remains intact, even if buried under tangled branches. After another kilometre, the slope eases and eventually the land flattens out to allow growth of some of the most magnificent tall eucalpyt forest you will find anywhere, with trees soaring over 80 metres. These are truly giants and an absolute must-see. In the last kilometre, the forest gives way to dry eucalypt woodland, prior to dropping down to Sawdust Rd in Adventure Bay, just shy of a huge sawdust pile – the only remainder of the original Davey’s mill.

East Cloudy Head may be started at the car park at Cloudy Bay, with an initial 3.5km walk along the beach. The walking track (3.5km) follows a now closed 4WD track. At various points ascending the Head, fantastic views are seen back over Cloudy Bay, Cloudy Lagoon and beyond to the Channel and Southern Ranges. In places, one needs to force through overgrowing heath, so long sleeves and trousers may help to avoid scratches. After about 3km, fantastic views are seen out to the south into Pyramid Bay and the Friars.  The track then sidles along East Cloudy Head until a junction is reached.  The right fork leads out to expansive views to South East Cape, the Bruny Lighthouse and Southern Ranges, whilst the main track leads up to the trig point, with views in many directions, including (on a clear day) out to Pedra Blanca, some 35km south in the Great Southern Ocean. Return via the same route.

Labillardiere/Luggaboine (14 km, 5 hrs) is a low level, relatively easy, if long, circuit. The shorter Luggaboine circuit only takes 1.5 hr. Access the start of the signposted track from Lighthouse Rd and the Jetty Beach Campground, some 20 km south of Lunawanna. The circuit is usually done in a clockwise fashion. It follows along the tops of small cliffs, with constant views out to the southern coastline of Tasmania until you reach Butlers Beach, which is a delightful spot to stop and swim or just to have lunch, looking out to Partridge Island. Continue the walk back along the coast to Jetty Beach. Heathfields and forests abound.