Our first taste of Bruny Island was back in November 2014, when two rookie backpackers with limited time and a dwindling money supply attempted to cram the entire East Coast of Tasmania into one week. Needless to say, it was a blur, and the one night we had allotted ourselves over on Bruny was nowhere near enough time. The weather was also not on our side, so hiking was a no-go and even leaving the car was a struggle.
Over a year later and now with a wealth more experience when it comes to planning, we were back for a second shot. The weather was kind enough to give us one decent day out the two nights we had booked, so this would be our hiking day.
It was a toss-up between two hikes. The Cape Queen Elizabeth walk, which appears to be becoming increasingly popular for its famous rock arch spectacle, Mars Bluff, or the Fluted Cape Circuit, which admittedly, we knew little about. It ended up being an easy choice, Mars Bluff can only be reached at low tide; the tide was not low when we so required, so off to Adventure Bay we went.
Beginning at Adventure Bay in a small car park, directions to begin the walk aren’t particularly apparent, so just head along the beach and up into the trees where you will find sign posts for the Fluted Cape track. It is recommended that you walk the circuit in a clockwise direction. I couldn’t agree more with this and you’ll realise why when you do it yourself, so stick to the path that follows the cliffs.
Before you reach Grass Point there is a wonderful little pebbled area where over time, people have created hundreds of gorgeous little rock piles. This really put a smile on our faces – it was like walking into a free, natural art gallery.
At Grass Point we did a bit of rock hopping and found lots of little blue star fish scattered around the shallow pools. I also nearly took a tumble over a stinky old dead seal, washed up onto the rocks (weirdly, this wouldn’t be the first time that this has happened to me).
The climb from Grass Point then becomes pretty intense as you head further up along the cliffs. I could feel my heart furiously pumping away in my chest for the majority of it, so greeted the countless photo opportunities as the perfect excuse to take a rest and have a nibble.
Climbing higher, you’ll be treated with stunning views of the island and you’ll even be able to see the mainland and Tasman Peninsular in the far distance.
As we sat having a snack on one of the sheer rock ledges, admiring the view in the hazy autumn sunshine, a sea eagle glided along just below us, letting out a high pitched call, which echoed about the cliffs. It was just us up there. I can’t think of a moment more perfect.
The walk down takes you away from the cliff edge and through some lovely eucalyptus forest. It is also more gradual so a nice rest for your weary legs.
Time/distance: With plenty of rest breaks, happy snapping and just sitting and admiring the incredible scenery, it took us roughly 3.5 hours (5.4km circuit).
Effort: Hard going. The climb is incredibly steep and long. Take lots of water because you sure as hell are going to sweat!
Tips: There are so many trip hazards along the way, such as rocks and tree roots. This does not bode well with the fact that in some parts, the cliff edge is a sheer drop beneath you, so watch your step and wear decent boots that support your ankles.
My Score: 9/10 – this hike had me buzzing for days after. It is fun, interesting, rewarding and not to be missed!