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A Tale of Two Islands

The Neck, Bruny Island

Last weekend we went to Bruny Island, off the southeast corner of Tasmania. It is about 60 miles (100kms) long and varies in width from about 15 miles (24 kms) at its widest point to its narrowest point which is the combined width of exactly one narrow roadway, one sand dune and one beach (maybe two, depending on the tide). It has some of the most spectacular coastline in the world, and huge swells that roll in from Antarctica to its south.

Izzy the Bus on Bruny Island

It has become world renown for a boat trip (Bruny Island Cruises) that takes passengers from its southern end around some of the highest sea-cliffs in the southern hemisphere and views of a seal colony, sea caves and often whales and dolphins. The island also has world class cheese, oysters, wine (at the southernmost winery in Australia), berries, fudge, salmon and whisky.

Cape Bruny Lighthouse

Bruny also has a lighthouse off the spectacular southern coast, big surf beaches, quiet bays, beautiful eucalyptus forests and some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see, especially when you find yourself as the only person making footprints on them. As popular as Bruny has become, that happens surprisingly often.

Dolphins off the coast of Bruny Island

The island has two grocery stores, one petrol station, one pub and just three tiny “towns”. The ferry ride from Kettering on the mainland takes just 15 minutes, aboard a small car ferry in the off season with an additional smaller ferry in the busy summer months.

Lighthouse Bay & Cloudy Head

There is one other thing about Bruny; the island bears an uncanny resemblance to another island where I lived for over 20 years and still spend the northern summers on: Whidbey Island, in Washington State in the USA. It is almost a mirror image of Bruny Island, with a similar climate, albeit at opposite times of the year. There are some other similarities too, and one remarkable difference – the year round population (see below):

Map of Bruny Island

Map of Whidby Island

So if you are familiar with Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, and you’d like to see what it would look like with a population of 650, and you’d like to get out of a wet Pacific Northwest winter to summer on an island at the bottom the world (January/February/March is generally the best time to be here) come and visit Tasmania, and make a visit to Bruny Island. We’ll look forward to seeing you!

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