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.
The ride is mostly on good dirt roads, constantly crossing low hills with a succession of 100-metre climbs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
42.016 km / 26.108 mi
860 m / 2,822 ft
859 m / 2,820 ft
116 m / 382 ft