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Tasmania – Tasman Island Boat Cruise

Before we left for Tasmania we knew we had two days to spend in Port Arthur. We had planned all along to go to the Port Arthur Historical Site, but that still left a day with nothing to do. While researching things to do in Port Arthur we found information on the Tasman Island boat cruise run by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. It wasn’t the first boat cruise I have done with them, last year I did one around Bruny Island which was fantastic. We booked in to do the cruise the first full day we were in Port Arthur. So glad we did as the following day rained on and off all day.

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The day we went they decided to take out two boats. It meant there would be more room on each one for use all and plenty of chances to get lots of images. That is what I was think anyway.

We were split in two groups as we got on the boats and the one you can see above is the one I was on. When you get aboard everyone is giving a raincoat to wear. Believe me, you do get wet. They also help to keep you warm and for some parts you want that, it does get very cold, especially when you go out onto open water. They also offer everyone some travel calm tablets. These are natural ginger tablets that help with seasickness. I took them the first time, but this time I didn’t bother. I knew that I would be fine. I don’t seem to have a problem with seasickness.

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We headed out and one of the first places we went past was the Port Arthur Historic site. The water was fairly calm here, we are in a bay, so it was to be expected. We knew it would be calm because where we were staying we could see the water. Though, we were told at the briefing beforehand that we would be going a different way as there was a strong northerly coming down the east coast and that would make it too wild and horrible to be out in. I have to admit I was a little disappointed, I like it when the water is wild.

One advantage to calmer water, however is that you can get closer to a lot of the rock formations, like these caves. There are a lot of sea caves along the coast. A lot of cliffs as well, they are so amazing, you do sit there in amazement.

Crescent Bay is very remote and you can see the sand dunes. You can get to them via the land, but it is a bit of hiking, apparently.

It is like scenery you would expect from a movie, like Lord of the Rings. It is incredible, and they are so large. I would hate to be shipwrecked here, there would be no where to go. It is a very wild coast line, and treacherous.

Here, the other boat helps to give some scale to the size of the cliffs. Though, not the largest. We did eventually see the tallest, which are also the tallest in the southern hemisphere. The way the rock forms those lines, like organ pipes really. They break off into the ocean. I suppose it is a coast that is forever changing.

We were not as fortunate as we were on the other cruise, and we didn’t really get to see any wildlife. We got to see the cormorants on the rocks and some Australian fur seals, but no dolphins, whales, or killer whales. I suppose you can’t always be lucky.

The blowhole was a absolute treat for me. I could have watched it forever. You could hear the air being sucked in and then away it would blow. It was magical. So big. It was the third blowhole we had seen in Tasmania and by far the best one. You really do need to get them at high tide, or close to it, I’ve decided.

 

This was something I really wanted to see. On Tasman Island there is a lighthouse. The island is so remote and all around it are massive cliffs. When they first built the lighthouse this is where they got onto it. There was a pulley thing or flying fox that allowed all the people, and everything they needed to build the lighthouse, plus the houses for the keepers to live in. It is very steep. You can’t get onto the island now, from what I can work out, which is a shame, so you can’t photograph the lighthouse, except from a distance. It is no longer manned anymore, so it is deserted.

We did go out into the open water and saw what they were talking about with the wind. We had stayed relatively dry until that point. Once we hit the northerly wind, the waves were choppy and we got wet. We did get to see the highest cliffs that I told you about earlier.

It was very hard to to photograph them and show any scale so you will have to take my word for it.

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We did get to see some fur seals and this is a mother and child, with the younger one still suckling from its mother. Apparently a rare sight.

The Pennicott Wilderness Journeys travel every day and there are quite a few to select from. I’ve enjoyed both the ones I’ve done, but I might have to look into the Tamania Seafood Seduction tour if I ever get back again. I love seafood.

I took my D800 with the 24-70mm lens. I was worried that I wouldn’t have been able to zoom into anything, but I did take the 70-300mm with me, just in case there was something I wanted to get closer to. I wasn’t going to use the wide angle, but I am so glad I did. I thought all the cliffs were so amazing, and I am glad I could really photograph them.

You do have to take something to protect your camera. When water sprays all over you when the waves are rough, you need to have it covered. I had a special plastic bag thing that I had purchased a few years ago and it was perfect. I didn’t keep it tight around the lens, but pulled it right over when I wasn’t using it to stop sea spray getting on the lens. The camera didn’t get wet at all. They suggested keeping cameras hidden in the raincoat, but mine wouldn’t fit. So if you do one of these tours you need to think about that. You get wet and your gear will also.

The Tasmanian coast is very rocky and rough, and you really can’t see it properly except from a boat. If you really want to get a good sense of what it looks like then this cruise is perfect for that. It is almost overwhelming how majestic the rock faces are. I’m so glad we did it. Click on the link to take a look at all their tours, Pennicott Wilderness Journeys.

I have a lot more photos to show you. In one you can see a dinghy and a man in a yellow coat, apparently they were abalone divers, and there was someone under the water. Lots of the cliffs as well and see if you can see the lighthouse on top of Tasman Island.

27 Responses

  1. Wow, what an adventure. They really gave you some great photographic opportunities.

    • It was Carol, I don’t mind not seeing the wildlife, I love seeing the cliffs, they are so amazing, though it would’ve been nice to see a killer whale or a dolphin, lol. Thank you.

  2. Super images Leanne .. good to hear you don’t suffer from seasickness

  3. I would like to have the opportunity to go on that trip but thank you for letting me get a flavour of it.

  4. Lots of wonderful images. I think my favourite is the worm’s eye shot of the basalt columns.

  5. Thank you for the tour and amazing pictures.

  6. Great photos as always. Thank you so much for giving some background information. Looks like a must do on our upcoming Tasmania trip.

  7. I love the dramatic shots of the columnar basalt.

  8. Geoff.

    Leanne, That was a great post. Lovely Photos (as always) But a great travel commentary. You may have Just missed your true calling.

  9. Chris Kirby

    Very interesting, love the caves shot! I haven’t done a boat trip in that area.

    • They were amazing, they said on some days they can go in them with the boats, but it wasn’t possible the day we went, unfortunatly. You might have to take one one day Chris. Thank you.

  10. Great post and great images, Leanne. Those cliffs remind me of the basalt columns in Iceland. Are they volcanic in origin?

    • Thank you Robin, I think it is dolerite, and apparently that was pushed up through the surface and because of the temperatures cooled like that. Does that make sense? Tasmania has a lot of it.

  11. Great series that give a good perspective on this majestic part of Tassie. It is good that it was calm enough to get really close to the organ pipes. You would not be able to if it was really strong. Having sailed several times around this parts I can vouch for how rough it can get…. By the way they do Heli drops from time to time on Tasman Island for ‘maintenance’.

    • Thank you Chris, yes, I agree, it was nice that it was calm, it wasn’t like that when we did the Bruny Island one so we couldn’t get close to some things, and missed out. I can imagine how rough it would get, though I think I would like to see it when it is like that as well, would be amazing. They said something about that, but I don’t know if people like me would be allowed on them. Might have to find out one day.

  12. Very striking area. It looks like a photographer’s dream location.

    • It is disperser, I loved it, would love to be able to do it a few times, in different conditions, see what I could get. One day when I have a lot of money. lol Thank you.

Talk to me, it is too quiet.