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A Hikers Guide to Fluted Cape Circuit, Bruny Island - Tasmania

A Hikers Guide to Fluted Cape Circuit, Bruny Island - Tasmania

If you love the outdoors, Bruny Island in Tasmania is a dream destination rich in maritime history and stunning landscapes to explore.

Located at the far end of the Aptly, named Adventure Bay lies the trailhead to the Fluted Cape Circuit. On any given time of year, the Fluted Cape Circuit offers what draws most hikers to the trails. Driving wind, roaring coastline swell, steep principles and spectacular bays and landmarks of the south-eastern coastline.

Quick Facts:

Duration: 3 hours return

Distance: 5 ½ kilometers

Elevation: 272 meters

Level: Beginner-Moderate

Accessing the hike:

From Hobart, head South towards Kettering where you will board the ferry (there is a fee for this, so go to the Bruny Island ferry website for prices and timetables).

It is best to get to the ferry terminal early as there can be big queues during peak season, but if you are running late rest assured there is a great café at the terminal which overlooks the Marina filled with lust worthy yachts. The ferry ride is around half an hour.

Once on Bruny Island, head along the main road until you spot the Adventure Bay turn off (left hand turn) which is a little way after The Neck, a place well worth stopping, it has amazing views. Follow the Adventure Bay road all the way through to the end where you will find a car park just beyond a boat ramp.

The Hike:

If you only do one hike in the on Bruny Island, this one will show you much of the beauty the Island has to offer. On any given day, you can bet on spectacular views right from the beginning of the hike. Have your camera ready.

In the early stages of the hike, walk to the far end of the beach. A small creek awaits which sometimes meets the sea providing you with a water crossing. Be prepared to remove your shoes. From the creek climbs a small track up towards the embankment meeting a wider track where you turn left. Walk along here for a while, parallel to the rocky coast and be on the lookout for the White Bellied Sea Eagles that patrol this area. The track is easy to follow and well-trod.

When you approach the intersection with a sign pointing to the right for Fluted Cape, you can either turn here or continue ahead to Grass Point. This is a circuit so either way you’re heading in the right direction. If you turn right at the sign you will be faced with a steady climb through sclerophyll forest all the way to the top of the sea cliffs. There are a handful of steps and a couple of fallen trees which make great seats to stop for a rest and if you keep your eyes peeled during spring/summer you may be lucky enough to spot some of the many species of orchids that occur in this habitat.

When the sky becomes visible through the base of the trees you know you’re nearing the high point. The bush starts to open and suddenly you come to a clearing. The view is spectacular from the edge of the towering cliff. Spend time taking in the views across to Cape Raoul and Cape Pillar which will be in the distance in front of you along with The Neck which is to your left, and Penguin Island which is below you to the left.

At certain times throughout the year you may be lucky enough to spot some Southern Right Whales or even an Orca. The sea cliffs of the Fluted Cape are made of an intrusive volcanic rock called dolerite, and were formed during the Jurassic period. You might notice that quite a few places around Tasmania have a similar column-like appearance, for example the Organ Pipes on Mt Wellington or some of the sea cliffs of the Tasman Peninsular, they’re all Jurassic dolerite.

After a stop with the view, the trail meanders along the cliff top through sheoaks and gums. Between the shrubs and trees there are fantastic views back along the cliffs. Aside from one last short climb it is pretty much downhill the whole way to Grass Point.

Grass Point is quite literally a flat grassy piece of land that points to and almost joins to Penguin Island. The remains of a stone building can be found amongst the grass and stand as a reminder of our maritime history and ongoing relationship with the sea. From Grass Point the trail heads back towards the beach you started on, hugging the rocky coastline once again. There is a small rocky beach where over the years people have stacked pebbles, turning it into a striking area of sculptures. Roughly half an hour from Grass Point you will return to the beach where you began your hike. If you’re game enough to brave the chilly water you could finish off your hike with a swim at the beach.

Types for visiting Bruny Island:

  • Bring an extra layer, it can be windy up the top.
  • There are no toilets at the start of the hike, so stop by the public toilets near the picnic tables on the right, near the Adventure Bay store.
  • If you’re heading back to Hobart make sure you allow enough time to make the last ferry, there can be a long cue so be there early.
  • For a pre or post hike treat go to the Adventure Bay Berry Farm, they have delicious ice-cream.
  • If you have just arrived in Tasmania do not underestimate the power of the sun. The temperate might not reach scoring levels, but the ultraviolet can.

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