Bruny Island, Tasmania: Gourmet glamping and hiking experience on Bruny Island

"It's taken me my whole life to admit this: I'm a glamper, not a camper," says one of my fellow guests.

Perhaps it's the gas-powered hot shower with its view over the valley where the pademelons graze, or maybe it's our guide with the Noma (restaurant) gastronomic training who's preparing just-harvested oysters cooked on hot coals with chimichurri sauce.

Whatever it is, I can't help agreeing – who needs to peg down tents in the cold and boil two-minute noodles in a billy? Let's eat Tasmanian scallops with saffron sauce instead.

Technically we're off the grid. When Bruny Island Long Weekend founder Rob Knight was looking for somewhere to house his hiking customers, he discovered a 40-hectare block of forest high in the hills above Bruny Island's south coast. There was no town water, electricity or phone service.

When I think "off the grid", I think of Alaskans with big beards living off animals killed in the woods, not king-size beds with down duvets or a long-drop toilet that smells, oddly, of roses.

But despite all the niceties, the element of adventure does not felt like it's been too watered down.

Perhaps it's because there's no support team on the sidelines – just two guides who'll be our drivers, medics, chefs, barmen and navigators; or maybe it's because in this part of Australia it's quite possible to hike for days without seeing another soul.

And hiking's what the Bruny Island Long Weekend is primarily about. After being picked up by speedboat from Hobart's harbour and deposited on Bruny's Island's northern tip, I will complete two five-hour walks in the three days of this trip – long enough to feel like an adventure, but short enough to feel like there's more to the trip than just walking.

The first hike, which we begin only 45 minutes after we are dropped on the island, has us scaling the top of a bluff, past a mutton bird colony. We stop for lunch here, sitting on columns of ochre-coloured rocks with views across to the Tasman Peninsula. We walk back across a deserted beach in shadows created by towers and arches of Jurassic dolomite, walking through caves formed by millions of years of wind and tide.


At the hike's end, we pause on a beach alongside the D'Entrecasteaux Channel which separates Bruny Island from Tasmania while our guides shuck oysters that have come straight out of the water.

Later we lounge on the deck of a log cabin eating local cheese as the sun sets. When the chill of the dark sets in, we shut the doors and tuck into a three-course meal beside a log fire. Then I walk to my safari-style tent, my torch light catching the eyes of wallabies fossicking around the tents.

Next morning we begin a 14-kilometre walk along the island's southern coastline at Cloudy Bay – with only rock lobster fishermen for company. There's nothing south of us till Antarctica as we climb through coastal heath and flowering banksia, where black cockatoos feed, and past hidden bays where bull kelp gathers under dolomite sea cliffs. Our walk leads us higher and higher  until we can see back across the entire bay.

I feel as far removed from the comforts of the outside world as I've felt all weekend. I marvel at the sight of distant bays lined up one after the other, shrouded in salt spray from an angry Great Southern Ocean. But then our guide produces a flask of hot water and a home-baked spiced apple and sultana cake.

"Who wants a cup of tea and cake?" he asks. Oh yeah, I'm a glamper.


Craig Tansley travelled courtesy of Tourism Tasmania and Bruny Island Long Weekend.



Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin fly to Hobart. See;;


Three-day tours run between October 1 and April 30 and cost $1895 a person, including two nights glamping, all meals and alcohol, guided hikes and boat transfers. See