Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise

by | 6 Oct | Attractions, Listing, Nature, Top 100 Experiences, Wildlife | 0 comments

I recently spent a week in Tasmania, speeding from one side of the island state to the other, trying every adventure available. And the Bruny Island Cruise was by far the most heart racing, squeal inducing and educational (yes, adventure AND education!) attraction I came across. It’s the kind of adventure that you could do again and again and it would take your breath away every time.

Pennicott Wilderness Cruise

We arrive at Adventure Bay, the departure point for our three hour adventure cruise along the coastline of Bruny Island, where we are introduced to the two comedians come tour guides. These blokes are not only hilarious (I promise you the ginger tablets that they hand out when you board are just that – don’t listen to them when they tell you otherwise!)  they are passionate, intelligent and engaging.

We board one of the custom designed boats and adorn some ultra cool wind/rain proof jackets to keep the sea spray and the wind chill out and then, we’re off!

Towering Cliffs

As you speed away from the coastline and towards the ocean, you begin to discover just how rugged the Southern Tasmanian coastline is. Towering cliffs dwarf us. The spectacular blue/green water rising up and crashing upon the rocks only metres from where our boat floats is breathtaking. I encourage you to turn your back towards the side of the boat and lean over the edge, turning your face towards the top of these towering cliffs. It is an amazing sight. This is where our education on this beautiful piece of coastline begins.

The cliffs themselves are comprised of two types of rock: Jurassic dolerite and sandstone. The two are vastly different in their appearance and our guides explain their part in keeping the coastline cliffs stable. The rust-coloured rocks you see aren’t actually caused by iron oxide. This colouring occurs only in areas with no pollution and without giving too much away, the science behind their colour was first theorised by the talented children’s author, Enid Blyton. Go figure.


The cliff face is dotted with water filled caves that each of our guides has explored personally. These caves are pitch black and the sound of the waves as they crash through the cave walls, the sound bouncing along the length is deafening and, as you can imagine, a little terrifying. We poke the nose of the boat into a few of these caves to emphasise their point. One such cave, filled with giant kelp, is used as a ‘right of passage’ for new tour guides. They are asked to swim the length of the cave which, to us on the boat, doesn’t look too hard. However, when the kelp is wrapping around your ankles and the swell rising and falling (and a great white shark is seen lurking – I’ll leave that story for the guides) it’s an adventure for the truly wild at heart only.

We continue speeding on, skipping over the wild ocean waves (I will admit, I can’t get enough of the wave skipping – I was the one at the front of the boat where the waves hit first, squealing like a school girl on a roller coaster for the very first time) before we suddenly make a sharp turn to the right and find ourselves headed towards a disturbingly small gap between the cliff face and a towering rocky outcrop. To the delight of most and the horror of some, we speed through the narrow gap, each of us holding our breath. A huge cheer erupts as we make it safely through. To our delight, the guides take us through a second time.

We continue along the coastline, the guides chasing albatross across the open ocean until we reach another amazing sight; a rocky outcrop covered in seals. Mind your nose here, these creatures have less than impeccable house-keeping skills and the stench is a little unbearable to some.  Don’t mind the smell though, seals are notorious entertainers and they did not disappoint. As we sidle up to the rocks, the seals put on a show, jumping into the water and ducking and diving amongst the waves. It’s the perfect photo opportunity.

Seals on Rocks

As we turn for home, the guides provide us with Tim Tams and BBQ Shapes and share stories of Tasmania’s settlement history. Upon discovering Tasmania’s Southern Coastline, the English explorers placed chickens and sheep upon the cliffs in the event that other explorers became shipwrecked and were in need of food. Unfortunately, the chickens were quickly eaten by the giant bird life that inhabits the coastline and the sheep came to an unfortunate end during a storm as they sought shelter.

The Bruny Island Cruise by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys is the best way to discover the coastline of this amazing part of Tasmania. To be guided by locals who are so passionate about their job makes for a truly memorable experience. We arrive back at Adventure Bay exhausted but enlightened. Nowhere else have I experienced a more thrilling yet educational adventure. A huge shout out to our guides for the day. These men deserve every tourism award they are handed – of which there are many. So what are you waiting for? Book your Bruny Island Cruise today!

Cruises operate daily departing 11am and returning 2pm.
Tours run all year round, except Christmas Day.

Cruises depart daily from our booking office at Adventure Bay on Bruny Island.
See Getting to Bruny Island for directions.

Adults $125
Children $75 (aged 3-16)
Family $390 (2 adults and up to 3 children)