Visiting Bruny Island Lighthouse was both the best and worst part of our Bruny Island experience. The phenomenal views from the base of the lighthouse were the highlight while the process of getting there was borderline awful. We nearly didn’t make it.
The lighthouse is one of the main attractions of Bruny island and is signposted to visitors from the moment you drive off the ferry, it’s definitely something to have on your list if you’re going to Bruny Island. This guide has everything you need to know about going to the Bruny Island lighthouse from how to get there to tour options.
History of Bruny Island Lighthouse
Like many of Tasmania’s older buildings, the Bruny Island Lighthouse was constructed by convicts. The lighthouse was finished in 1838 under the supervision of a convict especially pardoned to do the job.
The lighthouse is 114 metres high and is now Australia’s second-oldest, although it was the fourth lighthouse built in Australia. Unfortunately, the lighthouse was only built after several shipwrecks in the area.
How to get to Bruny Island Lighthouse
The lighthouse is 60km from the Bruny Island ferry wharf and can only be reached by driving (unless you’re a very very keen hiker or cyclist).
The drive takes around an hour and 15 minutes. The first 50km is great, it’s a decent quality road and winds through some of the most spectacular parts of Bruny Island including passing The Neck Lookout. But the last 20km is kinda hellish.
This last section, starting from just past Lunawanna township, is on an unsealed road that’s riddled with potholes. It’s impossible to avoid them all and the road is also very narrow, so you have to slow right down for other cars to get past. We did the drive in a campervan which is doable but really unpleasant. If you had an SUV, ute or another large/4WD drive car it might be more comfortable.
You can tell which cars on the island have been down to the lighthouse because they’re covered in dirt from the unsealed road. We had to take the van through a carwash after
If you don’t have your own vehicle, the only way to get there is by booking a spot on one of the day tours as there’s no public transport on the island. I’ve listed the tour options further down this post.
To get to the island itself, unless on a tour, you’ll need to take the ferry from Kettering. Ferries run roughly three times every hour from around 6 am to 7 pm, 7 days a week. You can book tickets in advance from Sealink, and your ticket is valid for any day within a one-year period so if it’s raining or anything you can postpone easily.
Related: Bruny Island Ferry: Times, Costs, and Everything You Need to Know
Bruny Island Lighthouse walks
The walk from the carpark to the lighthouse itself is less than 10 minutes, although it is uphill on a narrow slippery path. It’s not much fun in winter as it’s very windy and exposed but the views are worth it.
If you’re looking for more of a hike, there are two walks that start very close to the lighthouse. They’re both loop tracks and the shorter walk, the Luggaboine Circuit, is a smaller loop within the larger walk, the Labillardiere Peninsula Circuit.
The Luggaboine Circuit takes around 1.5 hours while the Labilladiere Circuit is a full day walk at around 5 hours. Both involve narrow bush tracks and beach walking so make sure you’ve got proper hiking shoes if you’re attempting them.
To get to the start of the walk, take the Old Jetty Road turn off on the way to/from the lighthouse. It’s well signposted on the road and there are bathrooms and space to park at the start of the track.
Tours of the Bruny Island Lighthouse
If you can drag yourself away from the views outside and are interested in learning more about the lighthouse itself, you can do one of the guided tours that run nearly every hour throughout the day.
Tours cost $15 for adults or $10 for children, run for around 20 minutes and are supposed to be booked in advance as there is a maximum of 6 people. There is also a sunset tour option that runs for 1-2 hours (not sure what they do in the extra time).
The tours are run by locals and focus on the history of the building and the area. The advantage of doing a tour is that you get to go inside the lighthouse which is semi-blocked off otherwise.
If you do the sunset tour, you’ll need to stay the night on Bruny Island as the tour finishes after the last ferry. While there is accommodation all over the island, the two spots closets to the lighthouse are Bruny Island Lodge (mid-range hotel type) and Camping at Bruny Island (budget camping or more luxurious glamping).
Compare Bruny Island accommodation prices at Booking.com
Day tours that go to Bruny Island Lighthouse
There are three companies running tours to Bruny Island at the moment but only two go to the lighthouse, they are Bruny Island Safaris and Tassie Tours. Both companies run their tours as full-day trips from Hobart including hotel pickups.
Bruny Island Safaris tour is $125pp and doesn’t include any food or the lighthouse tour while Tassie Tours is more expensive at $215pp but includes lunch plus tastings from some of the great local food producers like Get Shucked Oysters and Bruny Island Cheese as well as the lighthouse tour.
You can book both tours and compare detailed itineraries through Viator.
Note: prices are correct at the time of writing but may change.
FAQ about Bruny Island Lighthouse
Do you need a Parks Pass to visit Bruny Island Lighthouse?
Because the Bruny Island Lighthouse is located in the South Bruny National Park, you do need a Parks Pass to get there. While there was no one around to check this, it’s best to have the pass just in case and also because you’ll need it if you plan on visiting other national parks in Tasmania like Freycinet.
You can buy a parks pass from the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service per vehicle (if you are driving and/or have a campervan or per person (if you are on a tour group or otherwise not self-driving). I bought the Holiday Pass which cost $80 (covering me, my partner and our campervan) for 2 months of unlimited access to all parks. However, if you are staying longer or doing a day trip there are annual and day passes too.
Is the tour worth it?
It depends on your budget, but we decided no. The main attraction of the lighthouse is the views and while I’m sure you could see a bit more from the top of the lighthouse, it’s pretty spectacular from the base since you’re already on top of a hill. The lighthouse isn’t all that big and the tour is only 20 minutes.
How long do you need at the lighthouse?
This depends on whether you want to do the tour and/or any of the walks. To just see the lighthouse and the views you only need 20-30 minutes (including the walk up). For the tour add an extra 20 minutes and the nearby walks are between 1.5 hours and 5 hours.
What can you see from the lighthouse?
Someone asked if you could see Antarctica from the lighthouse, which is wishful thinking. The best views are to the north where you can see the coastline of Bruny Island as well as the Tasmanian mainland. To the south, it’s really just the ocean.
Overall, the Bruny Island lighthouse was one of my highlights of our Bruny Island trip. However, my boyfriend who had to do the driving said it almost wasn’t worth it so really it depends on your vehicle and willingness to manage the awful roads. Hopefully, they improve the roads soon!
For more Tasmania guides, check out my Australia travel guide section.
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