Bruny Island Cruises, Eco Tours, Eco Cruises and Bruny Island History
Tasmania's Bruny Island is a unique natural environment for an eco cruise, a guided tour or a walk. On a tour of Bruny Island you'll see an abundance of Australian wildlife found nowhere else on Tasmania. This is because the Bruny Island eco-system is cut off from the rest of Tasmania by the D'entrecasteaux Channel creating a protected environment for endangered wildlife.
This page will give you extensive information on Bruny Island including: interesting things to do on Bruny Island; what to see on Bruny Island, various Bruny Island cruises, a complete history of Bruny Island, places to stay on Bruny Island. Bruny Island's eco tours and eco cruises, wilderness adventures, nature walks and other interesting tourist activities on Tasmania's Bruny Island.
There are a two wilderness eco tours or cruises on Bruny Island, both are excellent, though most people would agree that the Bruny Island Wildlife Adventure is the premium eco cruise on which to explore Bruny Island’s coastline. The reason for this is that Bruny Island Wildlife Adventure cruise vessel offers more creature comforts than the Bruny Island Charter vessels, such as a comfortable toilet and heating (As Bruny Island cruises can last about 3 hours that on board toilet is important!). Bruny Island Wildlife Adventures' vessel also has a glass enclosed bow which means that passengers are sheltered from rain, spray and the very cold breezes that are common on a Bruny Island cruise. The Bruny Island Wildlife Adventure tour also includes a lovely luch of local produce and a great cruise down the Derwent River. Another advantage of the Bruny ISland Wildlife Adventure cruise is that you start your tour at the Hobart docks rather than having to make your way to Bruny Island.

Bruny Island Wildlife adventure
Bruny Island’s natural beauty, unique wildlife and local produce combine to create the ultimate Tasmanian eco-tour and ocean cruise.
The Bruny Wildlife Adventure is an eco tour with a difference as it takes you from the wharf ajoining the historic streets of Hobart to the wilderness of South Bruny Island and the Southern Ocean in one amazing day, on one very comfortable cruise.

This Bruny Island cruise is a guided, all day eco tour that blends the excitement of an ocean cruise with luxury cruising in the safest and most comfortable cruise vessel.

Your Tasmanian eco-tour includes cruising from Hobart down the Derwent River and then into the D'Entrecasteaux Channel on the luxurious catamaran Peppermint Bay IILeaving the Peppermint Bay II you will disembark at Roberts Point on Bruny Island. From there your tour Bruny by coach to reach Adventure Bay where you board the tour vessel  Adventure, named after one of Captain Cook’s ships which cruised along the coast of Bruny Island in 1777. Cruising in the safety and comfort of the Adventure your eco-cruise takes you along Bruny Island's wild east coast to see some of Tasmania’s most amazing scenery and wildlife.

Bruny Island is a true wilderness and the home of many of Tasmania’s most unique wildlife. Whales, Orca, Seals, dolphins and great white sharks live in the waters around Bruny Island. The Bruny Island Wildlife Adventure tour will take you close to fur seals on the Friars Islands. Added to this the boat's underwater camera will show the seals and other marine creatures under the water.

On the completion of the ocean leg of your Bruny Island eco tour you will be taken by bus to experience Bruny Island’s gourmet delights at the Bruny Island expedition farm. There, in  private gardens with sweeping oceanic views, you can taste Bruny “Get Shucked” Pacific Oysters grown in the pristine waters of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel as well as some excellent Bruny Island cheeses. Your tour price includes in a delicious, individual lunch platter of fresh regional produce from the Bruny Island Providore.

Your Bruny Island adventure ends when you leave Bruny Island on the return cruise to Hobart on the Peppermint Bay II, reflecting on Bruny Island’s wildlife and the majesty of the Great Southern Ocean all combined with luxury and relaxation.

Its more than a Bruny Island cruise, its a Bruny Island adventure with all the comfort of a luxury cruise

In September 1791, the French Assembly decided to send an expedition in search of Jean-François de La Pérouse, who had not been heard of since he cruised out of Botany Bay in March 1788. Bruny D'Entrecasteaux was selected to command this expedition. He was given a frigate, La Recherche (500 tons). A similar ship, L'Espérance, was placed under Huon de Kermadec, after whom the Huon River was named.

When the expedition left Brest on 28 September 1791, Bruny d'Entrecasteaux was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral. The plan of the voyage was to cruise to New Holland (Australia), to sight Cape Leeuwin, then to cruise closely to the coast all the way to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), inspecting every possible harbour in a rowing boat, and then to cruise for the Friendly Islands (Tonga) via the northern cape of New Zealand. He was next to cruise along La Pérouse's intended route in the Pacific. It was thought that La Pérouse had meant to explore New Caledonia and the Louisiade Archipelago, to pass through Torres Strait, and to explore the Gulf of Carpentaria and the northern coast of New Holland.

However, when Bruny d'Entrecasteaux reached Table Bay, Cape Town on 17 January 1792, he heard a report that Captain John Hunter (later to be Governor of New South Wales) had recently seen – off the Admiralty Islands – canoes manned by natives wearing French uniforms and belts. Although Hunter denied this report, and although the Frenchmen heard of the denial,Bruny determined to make directly to the Admiralty Islands, taking water and refreshing his crew at Van Diemen's Land.In April 1792, Tasmania was in sight, and three days later the ships anchored in a harbour, which he named Recherche Bay. For the next five weeks, until 28 May 1792, the Frenchmen carried out careful boat explorations which revealed in detail the beautiful waterways and estuaries of southern Tasmania.

Bruny D'Entrecasteaux was fortunate in having good officers and scientists; the most important from the exploration point of view was the expedition's first hydrographical engineer, C.F Beautemps-Beaupré, who is now regarded as the father of modern French hydrography. The work this officer did in the field was excellent, and his charts, when published in France as an Atlas du Voyage de Bruny-Dentrecasteaux (1807) were very detailed. The atlas contains 39 charts, of which those of Van Diemen's Land were the most detailed, and which remained the source of the English charts for many years.

Beautemps-Beaupré, while surveying the coasts with Lieutenant Crétin, discovered that Adventure Bay (on Bruny Island), which had been discovered by Tobias Furneaux in 1773, was on an island which was separated from the mainland by a fine navigable channel (now the  d'Entrecasteaux Channel). On 16 May, Bruny cruised through the channel and named Bruny Island. Port Esperance, the Huon River, and other features were discovered, named, and charted, the admiral's names being given to the channel (D'Entrecasteaux Channel) and the large island (Bruny Island) separated by the Channel from the mainland.

On 28 May 1792, Bruny cruised into the Pacific to search for La Pérouse. On 17 June, they arrived off the Isle of Pines, south of New Caledonia. From there, Bruny sailed northward along the western coast of New Caledonia. The Entrecasteaux reefs at the northwestern end of the New Caledonia Barrier Reef are named for him. He then cruised past the Solomon Islands along their southern or western coasts, sailed through Saint George's Channel between New Ireland and New Britain, and on 28 July sighted the south-east coast of the Admiralty Islands. After three days spent in cruising the eastern and northern coastline, Bruny decided that the rumours he had heard in Table Bay must be false, and he therefore set sail for Ambon, where his ships replenished their stores.

Leaving Amboina on 14 October, Bruny cruised for Cape Leeuwin to carry out his original instructions of searching southern New Holland for La Pérouse. On 6 December land was sighted near Cape Leeuwin, and named D'Entrecasteaux Point. This event was celebrated by feastings and parties, one result of which was that the smith on board La Recherche, Jean-Marie Marhadour over-indulged and died next day from an apoplectic fit. The weather was boisterous, and the ships failed to find King George III Sound, originally discovered by Vancouver. As they sailed further east, they penetrated numerous islands and dangerous shoals, to which they gave the name D'Entrecasteaux Islands — later changed to the Recherche Archipelago.

While the Frenchmen were still in that dangerous area, on 12 December a violent storm descended upon them, and both ships were nearly wrecked. Fortunately, however, they found an anchorage where they were able to ride out the worst of the gale. Landings were made here on the mainland, and the locality was named in honour of Legrand, who had spotted the anchorage, and the ship he was on, L'Esperance. Beautemps-Beaupré made a hasty survey of the off-lying islands of the archipelago. No water was found, and on 18 December the ships continued eastward to the head of the Great Australian Bight, but here the coast was found to be even more arid, and the water position more serious.

On 4 January 1793,Bruny was forced to leave the coast at a position near D'Entrecasteaux Reef and sail direct to Van Diemen's Land. In this decision the French explorer was unfortunate, for if he had continued his examination of the southern coast of New Holland, he would have made all the geographical discoveries that fell to the lot of Bass and Flinders a few years later. Then, indeed, a French "Terre Napoléon" might well have become a fact.

The ships anchored in Recherche Bay on 22 January, and a period of five weeks was spent in that area, watering the ships, refreshing the crews, and carrying out cruises to explore both natural history and geography. Beautemps-Beaupré, in company with other officers, surveyed the northern extensions to Storm Bay – the western extension was found to be a mouth of a river and received the name Rivière du Nord – it was renamed the Derwent River a few months later by the next visitor to this area, Captain John Hayes in the Duke of Clarence and the Duchess.

On 28 February Bruny sailed from Van Diemen's Land towards the Friendly Islands, sighting New Zealand and the Kermadec Islands en route. At the Friendly Islands, he found that the natives remembered Cook and Bligh well enough, but knew nothing of La Pérouse. He then sailed back to New Caledonia, where he anchored at Balade. The vain search for La Pérouse was then resumed to Santa Cruz, then along the southern coasts of the Solomon Islands, the northern parts of the Louisiade Archipelago, through the Dampier Strait, along the northern coast of New Britain and the southern coast of the Admiralty Islands, and thence north of New Guinea to the Moluccas.

By this time, the affairs of the expedition had become almost desperate, largely because the officers were ardent royalists and the crews equally ardent revolutionaries. Kermadec had died of phthisis in Balade harbour, and on 21 July 1793, Bruny d'Entrecasteaux himself died of scurvy, off the Hermits.

Antoine Raymond Joseph de Bruny d'Entrecasteaux (1739  to 21 July 1793) was a French navigator who cruised the Australian coast in 1792 while seeking traces of the lost expedition of La Pérouse.

Strictly speaking, his surname should be rendered as Bruni (or Bruny) d'Entrecasteaux, or alternatively Entrecasteaux, but the heading above is used for the sake of uniformity with most entries in reference works relating to this navigator

Bruny was born at Aix-en-Provence, France in 1739, and educated at a Jesuit school.  d'Entrecasteaux would have liked to join that order, but his father intervened and enlisted him in the French Navy in 1754. In the action that secured the Balearic Islands for Spain (and resulted in the execution of Admiral Byng), Bruny toured as a midshipman aboard La Minerve, and in April 1757 he was commissioned as an ensign. Bruny's further naval career as a junior officer was uneventful, and he appears in this period to have done general service in the French Navy.
Bruny as a young man
Above: Image of Bruny d'Entrecasteaux painted immediately before he set out to Tasmania
A brief history of Bruny Island
The two main Bruny Island eco cruises are:

1. Bruny Island Wildlife Adventure Eco Cruise

2. Rob Pennicott's Bruny Island Cruises

(Both of these eco cruises will take you to see the seals and other wildlife which abound at the Friars Islands)

A third option is an eco cruise that leaves from Hobart docks and travels down Bruny Island's west coast through the D'entrecasteaux Channel. This is the Peppermint Bay Cruise, aboard the beautiful Peppermint Bay 2 luxury catarmaran. This cruise will take you past many of Bruny Island's interesting historic and natural features whilst staying in  the calm and sheltered waters of the D'entrecasteaux Channel
Click here to visit the Peppermint Bay Cruise  web site
Getting to Bruny Island... unless you have your own boat the only way to get to Bruny Island is by the Bruny Island Ferry from Kettering, a 30 minute drive from Hobart. Below is the Bruny Island Ferry Timetable. 
Taking your own car will allow you to tour Bruny Island at your own pace.
Bruny Island Ferry general information and Prices: Per Vehicle.
For a normal vehicle (under 5 m length) $28.00.Pensioner: $15.00. Visitor Seniors Card:$20.00.
There is usually a surcharge at peak Bruny Island Holiday times.These fares are for a return fare to Bruny Island.
The ferry runs in just about all weather. If you intend to tour Bruny Island by car the main road between where the ferry drops you off and Adventure Bay is now completely sealed except for a short strip at the penquin colony, other touring roads on Bruny Island are not sealed but generally good quality.
The drive from the ferry drop off on Bruny to Adventure Bay takes about 30 minutes. The only petrol station on Bruny Island is at Adventure Bay. Don't be late for the return ferry from Bruny Island to Kettering as the ferry leaves right on time and won't turn back for you if you are even only a minute late. It is worth mentioning that the Bruny Island Ferry folk appear to have a policy of clearing evening backlogs of cars off Bruny Island in peak tourist times. I have seen the ferry keep running until 10 or 11 at night at peak tourist times.

Able Tasman was the first Euopean to sight Bruny Island when he cruised along Bruny Island's east coast in 1642. The problem was that he did not realise Bruny was an island but believed it was the southern tip of Australia. In a way he was right.

Of course the Aboriginal people who had lived on Bruny Island for thousands of years before Tasman sailed by not only knew Bruny was an Island but had watched it become an Island when the sea levels rose by more than 70 metres about 8,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age.

The first Tasmanians actually walked to Tasmania across what is now Bass Strait,  via a land bridge, and reached the coastal area that became Bruny Island about 45,000 years. The tribe that lived in the  D'Entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island region was called the Nuenonne and their name for Bruny Island was Lunawanna-Alonnah which is now the name of two towns on the west coast of Bruny Island.
Magic Cruising with the dolphins off Bruny Island
Early European visits to Bruny Island

The Dutch
After Able Tasman's cruise past Bruny Island in 1642 the Dutch no longer showed any interest in Tasmania and there was a gap of over 100 years before another European was known to have cruised the waters around Bruny Island. Whilst it is likely that there were many unrecorded visits to Bruny Island by whalers, sealers or explorers,  we only have records of the either French and British visits.

The French
The French first visited Bruny Island in 1772 when Marion du Fresne, on a cruise to the South Pacific spent a few days touring Bruny Island's coastline. Marion's short tour is remembered in several place names including Marion Bay on the north side of the Tasman Peninsular. Marion on spent a short while on Bruny Island before he continued his cruise on to New Zealand where he and a number of his crew ended their tour by being eaten by the Maori.

The British
Fresne was followed a year later by Captain Furneaux who arrived at Bruny Island in 1773 in commander of the ship Adventure, one of the two ships in Cook's expedition in search of Terra Australis. Whilst Furneaux stayed quite some time in Adventure Bay on Bruny Island, he did not realise that Bruny was an island. Captain Cook visited Bruny Island in 1777 when he again cruised into Adventure Bay on his last tour of duty, which ended similarly to Fresne's, Cook being eaten by the locals in Hawaii.

The reason that European's regularly visited Adventure Bay was that it provided excellent shelter, fresh water and timber, which were always in short supply after the long cruise across the Indian Ocean. Timber was used for cooking and repairs and quality timber was readily obtainable on the slopes around Adventure Bay. Also Adventure Bay's deep water and sandy sheltered beaches made movement between shore and ship very easy. Good fishing there also meant that the sailors could enjoy fresh food after their long ocean cruise eating only bread and preserved meats.

Captain Bligh, was the next European visitor to Bruny Island in 1788 (Bligh had also been with Cook on his visit to Bruny Island in 1777). Captain Cox, another Britain cruised into Adventure Bay before Bligh returned again to Bruny Island in 1792, on the ship Bounty. Bligh sailed into Adventure Bay to replenish water and wood supplies on his fateful tour of the Pacific which ended with the imfamous mutiny on the Bounty. All this time none of our European adventurers who visited Adventure Bay discovered that Bruny Island was actually an island. This discovery waited for the arrival of Bruny D'entrecasteaux, leader of the next French expedition to Tasmania and Bruny Island and after whom Bruny Island and the D'entrecasteaux Channel were named.
The tour to the fur seal colony on the Friar Islands off the coast of Bruny Island is part of the Bruny Island cruise
Cruise past the seal colony on the Friar Islands off the south east corner of Bruny ISland
A high speed eco cruise along the South East Coast of Bruny Island
The Nuenonne of Lunawanna-Alonnah: the Aborigines of Bruny Island and D'entrecasteaux Channel
Fur Seals: Friar Islands
Some information on the Two Bruny Island Cruises
For a detailed History of Bruny Island click this link