Cycle Tasmania, Mountain Bike Ride, North Bruny Island

Bruny Island is a place of two halves, and as the vehicle traffic heads to the spectacular (and hilly) south, the pastoral, sporadically forested northern half of the island becomes a traffic-free invitation to cyclists. The most enticing outing circuits up to the island’s beach-lined northern tip at Dennes Point.

Terrain

The ride is mostly on good dirt roads, constantly crossing low hills with a succession of 100-metre climbs.

Traffic

On Bruny Island traffic comes in waves as vehicles roll off the ferry. Most head for South Bruny, leaving the north almost free of traffic.

Access 

The Bruny Island ferry departs from Kettering, around 35 kilometres south of Hobart along Channel Highway. There is no bus service to Kettering.

Food and Drink

Open only on weekends, Bruny Island Smokehouse (3.4 kilometres along the ride) overlooks Barnes Bay and specialises in gourmet pizzas, burgers and pies as well as smoked deli produce; the coffee is also good. Otherwise, you’re stuck with the pie warmer at the Roberts Point kiosk.

Side Trip

Ride south on Bruny Island Main Road to Great Bay to sample the dairy wares at Bruny Island Cheese Company; tastings are available between 10am and 5pm.

 

More Details

The Bruny Island ferry docks at Roberts Point and it’s wise to wait for the vehicle traffic to clear off along Lennon Road ahead of you. That done, you can pretty much expect clear roads for the duration of this ride. Starting out beside the Roberts Point kiosk, there’s a 1.5-kilometre climb for openers, with the rising road looking down onto fish farms in D’Entrecasteaux Channel and then along the shores of Barnes Bay.

The ride rounds this bay on dirt Missionary Road, running along the edge of its oyster-lined shores to the smattering of homes at the tiny Barnes Bay township. The second of the day’s ascents begins just beyond the fire station and CWA hall, after you swing left on Bruny Island Main Road, heading back now towards the island’s west coast.

A pair of climbs elevates you onto a bare, wind-whipped ridge 110 metres above the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, which is little more than river-wide here as it funnels between Bruny Island and the Tasmanian mainland. There’s a lovely flowing descent from the ridge into Killora, where the beautiful, oyster-filled bay again makes it easy to see how Oyster Cove, across the channel, might have earned its name.

Past a narrow spit north of Killora, the road pops out to a view over shack-lined Nebraska Beach, with Tinderbox visible across the water. The road scoots along behind Nebraska Beach – there’s a signposted walkway to the beach between a couple of shacks – to round Dennes Point, the island’s northern tip. If you decide to stop at Nebraska Beach, it might turn out to be a profitable one, for it’s said that a treasury of gold coins was buried somewhere in these sands after an 1827 shipwreck. Many have looked for it, but none have found it.

Turning south from Dennes Point, you’re faced with the day’s longest climb (130 metres), ascending back onto gravel road and up to views over Bull Bay and Betsey Island – the Iron Pot lighthouse in between is Australia’s second-oldest light station. Back past the CWA hall, you can continue straight ahead on Bruny Island Main Road for variety, but the most attractive return to the ferry is to retrace your route along the shores of Barnes Bay before coasting back down the hill to the terminal and kiosk. 

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start at the Roberts Point ferry terminal, by the kiosk, and ride north on Lennon Rd, heading uphill.
  • 3.4 Pass Bruny Island Smokehouse as the road descends to the shores of Barnes Bay.
  • 7.2 Turn left on Missionary Rd, leaving the bitumen for dirt road.
  • 10.4 In Barnes Bay township, turn right onto sealed Church Rd.
  • 11.1 Veer left onto Barnes Bay Rd, returning to dirt.
  • 12.2 Turn left onto Bruny Island Main Rd (C625); the road is signposted to Dennes Point.
  • 12.4 Just past the CWA hall, turn left with the C625, signposted here to Killora.
  • 16.2 Pass the entrance to Quarantine Station State Reserve.
  • 19.5 Return to the coast at Killora.
  • 24.6 Pass the Dennes Point jetty and climb back south.
  • 31.6 At the Killora junction (by the CWA hall), continue straight ahead.
  • 31.8 Turn right onto Barnes Bay Rd.
  • 33.0 Ride straight ahead onto sealed Church Rd.
  • 33.6 Turn left into Missionary Rd, signposted to the ferry.
  • 36.9 Turn right onto Lennon Rd.
  • 44.1 The ride ends after a glorious descent back to the Roberts Point ferry terminal.
  • Trail map

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    42.016 km / 26.108 mi

    Total Distance

    860 m / 2,822 ft

    Total Ascent

    859 m / 2,820 ft

    Total Descent

    116 m / 382 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 1/2 day
    Fitness Level: High
    MTB Segment: downhill
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 44.1
    Elevation Gain: 760
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

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