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If you are looking for the best things to do in Tasmania, don’t miss your chance to take a Tasman Island Wilderness Cruise with Penicott Wilderness Journeys! This was by far our favourite experience in Tasmania and an absolute must-do!
When we visited Tasmania, we didn’t plan a lot of what we would do while we were there. We did an 8-day self-drive Tasmania holiday, from Hobart to Launceston, taking in a few sights along the way.
However, there was one activity we did book in advance that I am so glad we did – a Tasman Island cruise.
There are certain places and experiences that stand out when travelling, and to be honest, we get a little blind to the things closer to home sometimes, so it came as a surprise that our Tasman Island cruise is still one of my favourite travel experiences so far.
While we haven’t yet had the chance to do the Bruny Island cruise, we have heard it is absolutely amazing from friends who have done just that one or they have done both and loved them equally!
The Tasman Peninsula cruise departs from Port Arthur. There is the option of a bus transit from Hobart, however, we had our hire car, so we set off early in the morning to get to the cruise departure office in time.
Don’t miss the chance to visit some of the incredible beaches in Tasmania nearby and across the state!
Before the Cruise
When you arrive, you are given special waterproof suits to wear for the cruise. It looks a little like a movie-style orange prison-issue jumpsuit. Stylish!
They also encourage warm clothes as it gets very cold out on the water, plus we were visiting in the middle of winter!
They had a supply of spare beanies and gloves to ensure all the passengers would be warm.
Once everyone was suited up, they put on a brief instructional video and gave us a rundown of what to expect, how the boat functions and general safety information.
We then load onto a bus and head down to the waterfront where we boarded our boat.
The boats are special made, designed to create an up close and personal wilderness experience in the rough waters, and have the ability to navigate through the rocky tunnels.
The passengers, us included, all loaded onto the boat and prepared for our cruise.
During Our Tasman Island Cruise
The Tasman cruises are around 3 hours long. During that time the crew provide a thorough commentary on the area, the natural environment and the experience.
They are passionate about conservation and their enthusiasm throughout the cruise is infectious, adding to the amazing experience.
The cruise focused on the area between Port Arthur and Eaglehawk Neck in southern Tasmania.
The cruise takes you around Tasman Island and along Tasman National Park, where you can see the lighthouse in the distance and learn the history of the island and of the people who have lived there and manned the lighthouse.
It also takes you between rocks and cliffs, and even into cave formations on the side of the cliffs. Getting so close was such a great experience, and the scenery is stunning.
The cliffs are part of Cape Pillar and are the highest vertical sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere. They are massive. You feel somewhat tiny beside them.
There is also the chance to see lots of birdlife and a big family of Australian fur seals along the rocks. Pretty stinky but very cool to see them all hanging about, doing their thing.
We were also lucky enough to see a huge pod of dolphins. There were even a couple of babies jumping alongside their mums.
We had never seen so many dolphins in one place at one time. It was pretty amazing, and of course, they love surfing alongside the boat, being such social and playful animals.
Tasman Island is pretty much the southernmost part of Australia and the last land mass between Australia and Antarctica
Depending on the weather and how rough the water is, the route can be slightly different.
On rougher days, they stick a little closer to Tasman island, but when the water is relatively calm (and by calm, don’t actually think I mean calm… it felt like we were white water rafting at times), they take you around the outer perimeter of the rocky formations.
Did we get seasick?
Here’s the funny part. I’m prone to seasickness anyway, and this cruise was very rough. I was also 4.5 months pregnant. I checked before booking if it was suitable and they advised it was. I still wasn’t expecting it to be so rough.
They offer natural Travel Calm ginger tablets to passengers before departing and they too are safe for pregnant women.
Actually, they can be good for morning sickness… and if you have read any of our other Tasmanian holiday posts, you will know I suffered pretty bad during this trip with morning sickness.
Yet not on this cruise. Not even slightly ill!
The Travel Calm sea sick tablets are worth their weight in gold! A couple of passengers did get a little squeamish after a particularly rough section of the cruise though, so it’s still possible.
Is the cruise suitable for kids?
Children of all ages are welcome on the cruise and there were some older children during our cruise who seemed to enjoy the experience just as much as the adults on board.
One thing to be mindful of though is that if travelling with children on the Tasman Island cruise, the 3-hour time length may get a little much for younger kids.
I probably wouldn’t take a baby on the boat as it is pretty rough at times, and very young children may become restless during the slower parts of the cruise, however, older kids will love it. Or any kids with a love of wildlife.
We can’t wait to do this cruise again with our own kids and also the Bruny Island Cruise next time too!
Both cruises offer stunning scenery and the opportunity to see some of Tasmania’s amazing wildlife up close. So, which one should you choose?
While we haven’t taken the Bruny Island Cruise, what everything we have heard from people who have, there really is no bad choice. It really comes down to your time available and budget.
Port Arthur is almost 2 hours from Hobart, while Bruny Island is closer and can be reached by car or ferry.
The best way to choose would be to determine what else you’d like to see in the area – for example, Port Arthur Historic Site is the perfect combined day trip with Tasman Island, while Bruny Island also has historic significance and is great for foodies!
Got the time and budget? Why not do both!
Tasman Island Cruises are run by Pennicott Wilderness Tours. They are Eco Tourism certified, and 100% carbon offset, to minimise the impact on the environment.
Cruises last for 3 hours, departing from the Tasman Island Cruises Booking Office, off Port Arthur Highway, Port Arthur.
Suitable for passengers of all ages, including pregnant women.
$155AU for adults, $95 for children. Prices are current as of 23 June 2022.
There are plenty of other great things to see and do near Port Arthur, especially for anyone who loves the outdoors so you can easily turn your day trip into a longer stay to explore the area.
If you’re looking for an adventure-filled vacation, Tasmania is the perfect destination. With its stunning scenery and plethora of activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. We highly recommend the Tasman Island Adventure Cruise – it’s an experience you won’t soon forget!