Exploring Tasman Island with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

I wanted to visit the cliffs of Tasman Island, off the southeast coast of Tasmania, when I first saw some amazing photos on Instagram of the tallest vertical cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere. After some research I found out that the best way to visit the cliffs is either by hiking above them, or seeing them from below on boat with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. When I saw photos of all the wildlife you can see on the Pennicott Wilderness Journey Tasman Island Tour I knew I had to add it to my Tasmania itinerary!

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We met at the Pennicott Journeys office near Port Arthur (you can opt to be picked up in Hobart), where we were briefed about what we are about to see and do. The crew warned us about the fact that the temperature on the boat feels about 10 degrees colder than on land, and handed us all long waterproof ponchos to wear on top of our clothes.

We started our journey admiring the tallest vertical cliffs of the southern hemisphere, they are very impressive seen from below. The boat was small enough to be able to move close to the cliffs without risks, which allowed us to enjoy the sight of really light blue water, as well as a few sea caves.

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For every point of interest, our boats did a loop to make sure that the whole boat gets a good look, irregardless of where you’re sat. For safety reasons you need to stay seated whilst the boat is moving but the boat makes regular stops so that your can move around and take photos.

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On our way to the lighthouse we encountered a group of common dolphins feeding, together with the seals they were pushing the fish into a ‘bait ball’ in order to make it easier to feed. This attracts a number of sea birds, including the majestic albatross. Our guides were able to tell us that the particular albatross we saw had flown all the way from New Zealand! There is really nothing quite like seeing one soar, just amazing.

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Our next stop was to see the candlestick and the totem pole, incredible formations that people actually rock climb up! This is also near where you will find a load of seals sunbathing on the rocks. They do not move much apart from the occasional yawn, but they aren’t at all scared of the boat so you will definitely be able to get some good shots!

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We then made our way to the very end of the Tasman Peninsula where you will find the incredible cliffs of Tasman Island with the little lighthouse on top. The lighthouse was first used in 1906, and even thought it was de-manned in 1977 it is still in use today (it was even converted to use solar power in 1991). We also saw even more seals at the base of the cliffs.

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On our way back we were lucky enough to be followed by a humongous pod of bottlenose dolphins, these are the ones that jump really high out of the water and are super playful! We stayed and had time to take lots of photos of the dolphins, and some birds even joined the party! Quite an impressive view, especially as, according to the guide, the sea is usually too agitated to allow the boat to go into the open ocean.  Depending on the time of year you go you can be lucky enough to spot whales too!

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If you are into beautiful landscapes and wildlife I would definitely recommend including the Tasman Island tour on your Tasmania itinerary. Pennicott Wilderness Journeys do a number of different tours in Tasmania so make sure you check them all out!

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