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See Breathtaking Bruny by Boat

March 3, 2018 Headline News, Travel Feature No Comments Email Email

Toby can’t believe it. This nine-year-old rollercoaster and Wet’N’Wild aficionado is dumbstruck as our fast, custom-built open boat roars out of Adventure Bay on Bruny Island. Toby’s eyes widen as the boat engages the 2-3 metre waves, skipping over the surface of the Tasman Sea and occasionally landing with a thump that sends spray over the thirty passengers. And the look on my grandson’s face tells me that the exhilaration we’re experiencing easily eclipses that of any theme park ride.

Getting to Adventure Bay is easy. Our day trip with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys starts at 8am in Hobart. On the way down to the Bruny Island ferry, our bus driver/guide Nick gives us plenty of information about the towns we pass through and the history of this part of southern Tasmania. After 45 minutes, we reach the small town of Kettering, where we board the vehicle ferry.

 Amazing rock formations feature on Bruny Island. (John Maddocks)

Bruny Island is approximately the size of Singapore. The difference is that Bruny Island has fewer than a thousand residents rather than five million. Bruny is beautiful and remote, without the five-star resorts and big hotels found elsewhere. On the way to Adventure Bay we stop at a lookout giving a wonderful view of the Neck, an isthmus joining North and South Bruny. Fifteen minutes later we are eating freshly baked muffins for morning tea in Pennicott’s new beachside café.

The staff at Pennicott are quite open about the conditions before we set off, telling us that there is a decent swell running for our trip down the coast to the Southern Ocean. The tidal swell has apparently been increased by the recent ‘super blue blood’ full moon, and it’s well known that the Southern Ocean can be wild at any time.

The rock cliffs of Bruny Island are some of the highest in Australia, (John Maddocks)

The choppy conditions don’t stop us from cruising beside the majestic sea cliffs, which are among Australia’s highest. The cliffs are made of Jurassic dolerite, an extremely hard and distinctive rock. Two albatrosses follow the boat and a dolphin leaps out of the water nearby. We stop for some minutes on the southern side of a massive rock formation known as ‘the monument’, which stands alone some metres offshore.

As we go further down the wild and enchanting coast, we see many more birds, including an ‘improbability’ of shearwaters (I learn that an improbability is the name for a group of these birds). Around 50 shearwaters rise from the ocean’s surface in front of us, creating quite a display.

The monument is a standout on the Bruny Island coast. (Pennicott Wilderness Journeys)

We reach the turning point at some rocks known as the Friars, where there are thousands of fur seals. The Friars are known as a ‘haul-out’ place for seals, where they spend time on land for reproduction and rest. It’s a stunning sight to see so many seals gathered in the one area, and all the cameras on board are clicking away frantically.

We have reached the Southern Ocean and the next stop is Antarctica. So we head back up the coast, using the heavy swell to propel us towards Adventure Bay. It’s an exciting trip, with plenty of sea spray as our boat surfs the waves.

Seeing fur seals up close is a feature of this wilderness cruise. (Pennicott Wilderness Journeys)

When we return it’s time for a leisurely lunch at the beachside café. The ocean journey has made us hungry. Toby hoes into some fish and chips, while I enjoy homemade pumpkin soup and a salmon and salad roll.

On the way back to Hobart, I reflect on the wilderness cruise experience. I now understand why it has won so many awards, including ‘Australia’s best tourist attraction’ three times. To my mind, this cruise stands out because it’s accessible to all ages. And it’s fantastic fun.

Powerful custom-built boats provide great access to the rugged coastline. (Pennicott Wilderness Journeys)

Written By John Maddocks

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