Named after the French seafarer Bruni d’Entrecasteaux and located 40 kilometres south of Hobart (and accessible via ferry from Kettering), Bruny Island is made up of North and South Bruny. They are almost two separate islands joined by a narrow isthmus called The Neck. It’s where fairy penguins and shearwater mutton birds make their homes. Visited by a raft of explorers including captains James Cook and William Bligh, Bruny is now a wildlife haven.
South Bruny is well known for its bird life, including the endangered forty spotted pardalote, as well as the white wallaby and golden possum which hide amongst the stringy barks, white gums and myrtle trees. Zoologist Dr. Tonia Cochran (Inala Nature Tours) conducts bird watching and wildlife tours while Bruny Island Cruises offers a dramatic boat trip to a seal colony along some of the tallest cliffs in Australia.
Artisan cheesemaker Bruny Island Cheese Company has great cheeses, lunch platters, coffee and ice cream. There are a number of classy beach houses, good campgrounds and Morella Island Retreats offers several rustic chic cottages plus an enchanting garden café.
Maria Island is like a microcosm of Tasmania with a huge diversity of geology and landscapes. This Tasmanian island is a 30-minute ferry ride from Triabunna, off Tasmania’s east coast.
Maria Island is a national park that offers close encounters with wildlife and a fascinating glimpse into Tasmania’s Aboriginal, convict and colonial history. Best of all, there are no cars so you can enjoy a wonderful sense of removal from the rest of the world.
Just like Bruny Island, Maria Island’s northern and southern sections are joined by a narrow isthmus. There are numerous walking trails through open eucalypt forest and grasslands that access the island’s many powdery white sand beaches.
The intrepid can climb the scree of the towering Bishop and Clerk dolerite peaks for magnificent views to the mainland. The Painted Cliffs at one end of Hopground Beach is a kaleidoscope of patterned sandstone sculpted by mineral-rich water and wind.
Huge granite boulders at Haunted Bay are covered with bright orange lichen. At the foot of massive cliffs, you can also explore fossils of ancient sea creatures in an old limestone quarry.
Maria Island is now the home to a thriving newly located colony of Tasmanian devils. You’ll almost fall over the hundreds of blonde wombats that love to graze on heathlands overlooking the water.
Other wildlife include rare Cape Barren geese, Bennett’s wallabies, Forester kangaroos and a host of birdlife such as sea eagles, yellow-tailed black cockatoos and, if you are lucky, the forty-spotted pardalote.
There is a lot of convict history, too, and you can check out the buildings and ruins of Darlington, which is one of the best examples of a convict probation station in Australia.
Free camping and bunk accommodation is available at Darlington but the best way to explore Maria Island is on the fabulous fully accommodated and catered Maria Island Walk.
The saying goes that King Island imports the world’s best surfers and exports produce sought by the world’s top chefs. 80kms off the north west coast of Tasmania, King Island is surrounded by stunning beaches.
This Tasmanian island is accessible by air from Melbourne, Launceston and Burnie. As such it is a destination for foodies who strive to be close to the source. It’s also a wonderful getaway for nature lovers and serious surfers and divers.
There are a host of walking trails and maritime trails which access cliffs, coves, lagoons and many of this Tasmanian island’s infamous shipwrecks. Learn to surf and if you are experienced, try the breaks at Red Hut Point and Porky Beach.
There are more than 70 diving spots including many shipwreck sites that cater to divers of all ability levels.
Have a hit of golf on one of the world’s most remote courses; take a guided platypus tour; swim in a hanging lake and go horse riding.
Twitchers will enjoy seeking out the 78 bird species found on the island while fishermen are spoiled for choice in the island’s pristine waters.
The local restaurants and cafes serve up the best of King Island’s succulent beef, full cream cheeses and just caught crayfish.
Accommodation is in hotels, motels, B&Bs and holiday houses.
Off Tasmania’s north east coast, Flinders Island is the largest of the 52 islands in the Furneaux group, nicknamed the Mountains in the Sea. It is accessible by air from Launceston and Essendon (in Melbourne) as well as by ferry from Bridport (Tasmania) and Port Welshpool (Victoria).
The pink and grey granite mountain ranges of the Strzelecki National Park is a fabulous walking destination. Explore the stunning arc of beach at Trousers Point, one of Tasmania’s finest, with its lichen-covered granite boulders.
Watch mutton birds flying at dusk at the Port Davies viewing platform and fossick for the Killiecrankie diamond, a type of topaz, at Mines Creek and Diamond Creek. Explore the restored chapel, graves and ruins of the Wybalenna Aboriginal settlement, where 135 aboriginals from the Tasmanian mainland were relocated to be ‘civilised and Christianised’
Accommodation is in a resort, B&Bs and holiday cottages. There are also farm stays, cabins and camping grounds.