Tasmania is a small island that is often overlooked by visitors to Australia. I know, I know, it’s not as sexy as Sydney and it doesn’t get the headlines that the Great Barrier Reef does, but you are seriously missing out if you don’t give Australia’s smallest state some love when you are next in this neck of the woods. As an Aussie myself, I’m kinda ashamed to admit just how many years it was (43!) until I made it down to our most southern state. When I finally explored Tassie I fell head over heels in love. I recently returned for a second time when we spent a week exploring the East Coast. The Freycinet Peninsula was an absolute highlight and Wineglass Bay is the jewel in the crown. There is no better way to see Wineglass Bay in all its natural glory than with Wineglass Bay Cruises. Read on for all the details …
Wineglass Bay Cruises Before You Go
First up, in peak season cruises fill up quickly so make sure you secure you ticket here well in advance. On the day of your cruise park the car at the Coles Bay jetty before checking in at the office directly in front. Sky Lounge passengers have a separate check in desk (hint: It’s the one without the queue!) to speed you through the process. I would highly recommend taking the ginger seasickness prevention tablets on offer. While I have never been struck down myself, I have watched The Hubs suffer through three particularly debilitating bouts. I tell ya, if that doesn’t break your relationship nothing will! Take the tablets! Seriously! It’s just not worth it and this is no time to be a hero. Once our name was marked off we selected a drink for morning tea from a full range of beverages and select alcoholic drinks which would be delivered later on board. Of course I picked the champagne and The Hubs selected a local honey based beer. It’s 12 o’clock somewhere right? Skyline passengers board first and once settled a mandatory safety briefing is conducted before we speed away leaving a plume of wake behind us.
Schouten Passage II is Wineglass Bay Cruises signature vessel and you couldn’t hope for a better host. This spacious twin hulled catamaran speeds you around Tasmania’s rugged coastline is style. She can take a maximum of 150 passangers across her two levels and there are restrooms and bars on both. Tasmania’s weather is unpredictable but air conditioning will keep you the perfect temperature year round. Any one of the three outdoor viewing areas will put you at one with the elements in no time.
Wineglass Bay Cruises Sky Lounge Experience
Wineglass Bay Cruises Sky Lounge passengers are in for a special treat. The Sky Lounge can entertain a maximum of 28 passengers and we were almost full with 26 the day we cruised. Plush seating lines both sides and there are centre lounges which are perfect for bigger groups. There is not a bad seat in the house and panoramic windows allow for excellent 360 degree views which ever way you swivel your head. It was a chilly day in January when we cruised and even though the mercury did not rise above 16°c it was snug and warm inside. Tim, our host in the Sky Lounge was as entertaining as he was knowledgeable. It is clear passenger safety is a seriously matter on board Schouten II and Tim had his hands full caring for a number of guests suffering sea sickness. Remember I said to take the ginger tablets? Just Do It! Once we were underway, Paul, our captain, invited all Sky Lounge passengers to visit the bridge and we had unlimited access for the duration of the 4 hour cruise. Did I mention you can indulge in unlimited drinks from the dedicated bar? Including beer and wine?
Wineglass Bay Cruises Vista Lounge
If you miss out on the limited tickets to the exclusive Sky Lounge, never fear as Wineglass Bay Cruises Vista Lounge on the lower deck should be able to squeeze you in. The open plan saloon has its own kiosk and is a great option for families. Front and back viewing decks mean everyone still gets an amazing view of the panorama.
Every time you turn your head on the Shouten II there is a new Kodak moment waiting to be discovered. Of course Wineglass bay is the highlight on Wineglass Bay Cruises but don’t forget to look up every now and then as you are motoring along as you will be delighted with sheer cliff faces, craggy island outcrops and orange hued boulders as far as the eye can see. Make sure you leave the confines of the comfy Sky Lounge for a spell to enjoy the views from the spacious decks.
Nature lovers should keep their eyes trained keenly on their surrounds. Tasmania’s biologically diverse marine environment hosts sea birds, seals, dolphins and seasonally migrating whales. For a good portion of our trip an adventurous pod of dolphins followed along and delighted in skipping through the ships wake. The crew on Wineglass Bay Cruises are always on the lookout for a rare sighting and will alert you so you don’t miss a thing.
What’s On The Menu?
You definitely won’t leave your cruise hungry. Almost immediately on boarding Sky Lounge passengers enjoy a morning tea of freshly baked goodies, including my personal favorite; chocolate brownies. Your lunch of a ploughmans bento box made with all local ingredients is served with a view at anchor in Wineglass Bay (weather permitting). Wineglass Bay Cruises are particularly accommodating to dietary requirements including my ‘no seafood’ request where they replaced the salmon with extra cold cuts. If that’s not enough, heaving platters of natural Tasmanian oysters magically appear on the journey back to Coles Bay. I just couldn’t bring myself to try one, but my fellow guests assure me these are some of the best they have ever eaten.
Wineglass Bay The Hard Way
While a trip on Wineglass Bay Cruises doesn’t allow you opportunity to scrunch your toes in that pristine white sand, you can of course see Wineglass Bay the hard way. Tasmania is famous for it’s hikes and you would be remiss not to try at least one. We hired a car at a rock bottom price from Airport Rentals for our 5 day Tasmanian road trip and drove ourselves to Freycinet National Park. Pay your $24 per vehicle entry fee at the gate and then fight the other walkers for a car park. It gets super busy and it took us over half and hour and countless circles of the two car parks before we gave up and drove a fair way back up the road to park on the verge. There are a number of walks available and we chose the Wineglas Bay Lookout walk for the views and part of the Wineglass Bay and Hazzards Circuit to get us up close and personal. Just before we went to Tassie, The Hubs bought me a Fitbit Alta for my birthday. It’s my new favourite thing and I wear it every day to encourage me to get off my bum and get my daily 10,000 steps. We did a shade over 30,000 steps walking around Wineglass Bay and I felt every single one of them in my calves for days afterwards. One thing to keep in mind is that while the water looks very inviting it is particularly frigid. I’m particularly adverse to the cold so that meant no swimming for us but there was one or two brave souls who took the plunge. I did slip off my walking shoes briefly for a paddle which was heaven on weary feet.
The Final Word
Cruising Wineglass Bay was the highlight of our visit to the Freycinet Peninsula. If you only do one thing when you are in this spectacular part of the world this has to be it! The vessel is modern, the staff are wonderful, the scenery is spectacular and the food is divine. What more could you possibly want? If you are heading to Tasmania soon make sure you check out my guide to grabbing a bargain flight. You hip pocket will thank me for it! We scored free return trips when we flew down on Jetstar domestic and only paid $110 for two return airfares from Sydney using these techniques.
Will you be adding a trip on Wineglass Bay Cruises when you are next in Tasmania? I would love to hear what’s on your itinerary in the comments below.
Until Next Time …
Disclaimer: Wineglass Bay Cruises graciously hosted us during our visit to Tasmania. As always, all opinions are my own.
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