Tasmania has more coastline than any other state in Australia, and golly, what a coastline it is. What started as a hobby for local fisherman Rob Pennicott - taking friends out into the very edge of the Great Southern Ocean along Bruny Island – has turned into one of Australia’s most successful eco-adventure cruises.
Daily departures from Hobart (full day) as well as from both Bruny Island and Tasman Island (three-hour cruises) take visitors out in custom-built yellow boats for an exhilarating ride of their lives into some of the most marine rich and dramatic coastline in Australia.
If the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere with deep caves and shooting dolerite spires are not enough, you can hope to see mega pods of Dolphin, the largest Fur Seal colonies in Australia on huge rocky outcrops, superb birdlife including Albatross, Sea Eagles and clouds of Short-tailed Shearwaters, and on certain months Whale watching has now become virtually a daily experience as Southern Right, Humpback and Killer whales migrate up the coastline.
Possibly Australia’s most photographed beach, Wineglass Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula is only accessible by foot or by boat. While many embark on the steep 45-minute climb to the Wineglass Bay Lookout, and some of these continue their hike down, the joy of visiting it by boat is experienced by just one per cent of visitors! Beautiful and remote, a shimmering perfect arc of white sand lapped by turquoise water frequented by dolphin and whales, this may be the highlight of your visit to Tasmania’s east coast.
Wineglass Bay Cruises, also run by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, is a fantastic four-hour cruise along the pink granite cliffs, sleepy hidden bays and Sea Eagle nests. The chances are you will be joined by hundreds if not a thousand common and bottle-nosed dolphin, albatross and even whales. You will see (and smell!) the Australian fur seal colonies, and drop anchor for a ploughman's lunch Tassie-style in Wineglass Bay itself.
The West Coast of Tasmania incorporates one of the largest swathes of temperate rainforest left on our planet and the easiest way to experience it is by eco-friendly vessel. Two ships depart the little town of Strahan on the far west coast, a five hour (but preferably two day) drive from Hobart. Both take you through mighty Macquarie Harbour, to Sarah Island, a penal colony, and onwards down the lower reaches of the Gordon River. The river reflections which leave you marvelling as will the ancient Huon Pine trees which have been carbon-dated back thousands of years.
Those wishing to avoid the tourists should consider embarking on similar but much smaller privately run river voyages further north on the west coast. These will involve some more intrepid driving but are well worth the additional effort.
Wildlife lovers should definitely include the wonderful private and family-run small group cruise to the Maria Island National Park. One of the only ways to really get under the skin of this wonderful east coast island (other than a four day walk), the cruise will take you across the Mercury Passage to the 250 million year old fossil cliffs and caves - remarkable in their own right. Spot wombats and kangaroos on the cliffs before you anchor in a sheltered bay for a delicious lunch before taking a guided walk on the island. As well as wildlife and bird spotting (all endemic birds can be found here along with the Cape Barren Goose) you will also explore the World Heritage listed convict settlement of Darlington.
Please contact us to discuss the best way of including one or all of these cruises into your Tasmanian Odyssey.
Image Credit: RACT Destinations