ACTIVITIES Australia Travel Blog

An Award-Winning Port Arthur cruise with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

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Have you ever been on a cruise boat?

How about a Port Arthur cruise along the Tasman Peninsula which happens to have the highest cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere??

Well, if your answer is no, put on some warm clothes and fasten your seatbelt. You are about to experience a journey of a lifetime! A wilderness cruise journey with Pennicott cruises. A definite ‘must' for when you visit Port Arthur in Tasmania!

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More Info on the Port Arthur cruise with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

Tasman Island Cruises is an award-winning 3-hour Pennicott Wilderness Journeys cruise. When we were researching for a  way to see the spectacular Tasman Peninsula, this cruise, in particular, came highly recommended as one of the top things to do at Port Arthur. And we couldn't agree more! It was AWESOME!

The tour started from Eaglehawk Neck which happens to be the gateway to Tasman National Park. Swift swing around the corner and out of the port onto the open seas you go. This cruise will take you beneath the highest vertical sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere!

Here are just some of the highlights of the cruise:

1. Tasman Arch & Devil's Kitchen

First, on your journey, you will arrive at Tasman Arch and the Devil's Kitchen.

We visited both of these sites the day before, looking from the top down. We were very excited to get a closer look from the comfy seats of the boat. Trust me, you need to see it from this perspective. It is simply gigantic. It’s amazing how the forces of nature carve the coastline, creating these magnificent structures for us to marvel upon. Really cool!

The Tasman Arch is what is left from the giant sea cave created over many thousands of years by the Tasman Sea. Pressurised water and compressed air worked it's way through the vertical cracks making parts of the roof collapse transforming the cave into an arch.

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Devil's Kitchen is a little bit older, dating back some 270 million years ago.

It is basically what will eventually happen to the Tasman Arch. The left-over roof part of the cave or a tunnel collapsed here revealing this intense water pumping channels in the back of the rock formations that now is called the funky name of Devil's Kitchen.

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2. Caves & Waterfalls

I'm sure you will find yourself taking a good couple of hundred pictures all along the beautiful Tasman coastline on your Pennicott Tasman island cruise.

This ever-changing and ever-eroding rocky coastline is a national park, with scenery to stun even the hardest of critics. From rocky caves to mesmerising waterfalls in the Waterfall Bay. 

I love the ‘4WD' feel of this boat, which ventures into nooks, crannies and into these caves!  There was nowhere this boat couldn't venture!

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Dramatic landscape is truly captivating. I think I was staring out the side of the boat looking up with my mouth open quite a lot. Don't worry, won't show you these great pictures. Will just leave this to your imagination.

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You will have enough time for the photos once your mouth is closed, haha. The captain of the boat will stop at every major attraction and will give you plenty of time to snap away.

We had two cameras and two iPhones, but still had enough time to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

3. Wildlife & Seabirds

The rugged coastline of the Tasman Peninsula is a perfect resting and breeding ground for Australian fur seals. These playful furry creatures of the sea welcomed us close to the shoreline without any problem.

Some adult seals were playing with their young on the rocks in front of us, whilst others were swimming and doing ‘tricks' all around us. I don't think I've ever been so close to these wild sea animals. Pretty special!

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We were also fortunate to witness 4 whales showing their giant tails, when surfacing for breath. Few impressive albatross circled around us, as if checking us out or saying hello. We even spotted some sea eagles scouting the tips of the cliffs, like the kings of the sky. Very peaceful and untouched.

Keep an eye out for the St Bernard when passing one of the rocky little islands. Here we found a large population of cormorants. On first sight they seemed to me to be penguins. They strike a bit of a resemblance from afar. Well, you will see for yourselves.

 

4. Totem Pole & Candlestick

The Tasman Peninsula is abundant in dolerite. Some of the most popular (especially for the adventure climbers) are the famous Totem Pole and Candlestick. I had seen some videos of people getting to the top before, so finally seeing it for real was quite something.

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As we came closer, we could see some bright coloured jackets moving around towards the peaks of these natural skyscrapers.

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I am not one for heights, so count me out. Climbing tall trees when I was a kid was enough for me, haha. I'm sure you can organise some specialist climbing trip for yourself if you are that way inclined. It is truly impressive from below. It must be pretty spectacular, whilst standing on top.

 

5. Cape Pillar

On this Tasman Peninsula cruise you will find some pretty spectacular sites, but I think this one tops the cake. Pure magic!  Located at the most Southern tip of the Tasman Peninsula these amazing towers of dolerite soar an impressive 300 metres above the sea.

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Our captain took us right up the entrance of the cave, the eerie gateway in the foot of the majestic mountain. This place leaves you feeling quite small in the scale of things, but also leaves you feeling enriched in experience.

Make sure to close your mouth here as you gaze straight up at the dramatic height of the vertical cliff … and snap some pics!

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6. Tasman Island

Last destination of the cruise is the Tasman Island, hence the name Tasman Island Cruises. The Island was a home to lighthouse keepers and their families.

Back in the day the only means of getting on the island was by an engine powered conveyor suspended from a wire. This flying fox extends all the way to the cliffs more than 200 metres above the sea. Imagine that.

Everything that ever went up, had to go via this flying fox. Hard work. Not to mention the rest of the way to the top is almost a vertical climb. Well, you won't be climbing here, so not to worry.

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Few pics extra of the Tasman Island from the comfy seat on the boat and you will head back towards Eaglehawk Neck.

Don't put your camera away just yet though as you might still have the opportunity to snap some photos of an occasional whale or two.


Tips for the Pennicott Wilderness Tour:

Dressing appropriately for this cruise is essential. Tasmania can get really cold and everyone will tell you that on the water it can get at least 10 degrees colder than on land, so you will need to be prepared.

Here is a recommended list of what to take:

  • Warm jacket x 2 (yes you will actually wear both, layer up!), scarves, gloves and beanie (or ensure your jumper/jacket has a hoodie) – We wore all of these and still got cold, just saying!
  • Warm pants, long socks and good shoes.
  • Tasman Island Cruises will provide you with a wet weather jacket that goes over your clothes as well, great for extra protection from the wind, but it doesn't provide much warmth.
  • If you are prone to sea sickness, select the seats in the rear, as they are less bumpy (the boat is an open air one, so the view is not obstructed and the captain turns the boat around everywhere for photo opportunity), they will also offer some natural ginger sea sickness tablets, so maybe swallow some for precaution.

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Go on the Tasman Island Cruises if:

  • You want to experience nature at its best.
  • You enjoy open air, sea and cruise boats.
  • You want to see the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • You want to see a variety of wildlife, including seals, eagles and whales.
  • You don't mind a bit of cold weather.
  • If you are looking for something adventurous of what to do in Port Arthur.

 

Booking information:

  • To book Pennicott Wilderness Cruises, click here.
  • Daily departures; except Christmas Day
  • Follow them here: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  • Prices:  Adult $125, Child (3-16 years old) $75 and Family (2 adults, 3 children) $390
  • Where:  Departures from Tasman Island Cruises Booking Centre, located at 6961 Arthur Highway, Port Arthur

 

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Wanderlust Storytellers recently experienced Tasman Island Cruises as guests of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. As always, the content & opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

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