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Bruny Island Cruises

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

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Before leaving for Tasmania, we decided we'd splurge on one big tour while we were there. After some research into different tours available all over the state, we decided on Bruny Island Cruises. One of two Pennicott Wilderness Journeys available to do in Tasmania, and well worth the expense.

There were three different options we could choose from;
1. Drive to Bruny Island ourselves and start the 3hr wilderness cruise from their Bruny Island Cruise office in Adventure Bay.
2. Drive to Kettering and catch their 9am daily tour bus which would then take us to their Adventure Bay office for the 3hr cruise.
3. Do the full day tour from Hobart. Leaving Hobart at 8am and returning around 5:30pm which would include all the above plus morning tea and lunch.

We couldn't figure out which option would best suit us, so decided to go with what they'd recommended to us considering we had two toddlers tagging along, and drove to their office in Adventure Bay to start the tour from there. Glad we did, as we were able to take extra things with us, and could do things before and after the cruise at our own pace. Ie, toileting Sonia, eating lunch, enjoying the Neck lookout point and chocolate factory. For anyone else who has two or more young children and would like to do the cruise, I'd definitely recommend doing the same, and to take some extra warm clothing.

Kettering Panorama

Kettering Panorama

Kaden and Clancy on the ferry to Bruny Island

Kaden and Clancy on the ferry to Bruny Island

I'll point out here for those who're thinking of taking a hire car to Bruny Island... check you're allowed to do so before booking. Or be willing to undertake the risks involved. I'd seen and/or heard that many of the hire car companies wouldn't allow their vehicles to go to Bruny Island when I was doing my research. We ended up hiring our car through Avis, and they allowed us to take the car over to Bruny Island, so long as we signed an 'Avis Bruny Island Authorisation' document prior to, or at pick up.

Ginger tablets were provided for those who wanted them once on the boat, and all the staff were really great! They really knew their stuff, and made it feel like as if it was a total pleasure to them to be able to share these special places with us all. They were extremely helpful, and very accommodating and tolerant of screaming, unhappy kids! Both Sonia and Kaden seemed to be in a generally grumpy mood all day unfortunately with nothing seeming to ever happen the way they wanted it to! We'd had to wake them up earlier than usual to ensure we made it down to the ferry at Kettering in time (45minutes from Hobart to Kettering, Ferry departed at 9:30am, Recommended we arrive 20-30minutes early), neither child had wanted to eat a proper breakfast, and they both really disliked the wind with a passion! Particularly when the boat was moving forward, increasing the wind level.

It wasn't too bad though, as it wasn't long before they fell asleep. Most probably from the motion and vibrations, similar to driving in a car. We were very thankful for the recommendation to sit at the back of the boat. It might not have had the best vantage point, but it was much calmer and less windy. They were really considerate though, and turned the boat around at each major sight so those at the back, or on the opposite side of the boat could see as well. Sonia was also able to lay down and sleep, all rugged up while Clancy stood for a bit. I initially had Kaden in the Ergo baby carrier on my front under my big jacket, with the massive raincoat they provided over the both of us. He didn't much like this, preferring to just be held in my arms, with me holding jackets around him. Less cramped and more free, allowing him to move and suck his thumb easier.

P7100429.jpgWell wrapped!

Well wrapped!

Sonia trying to get out of the wind

Sonia trying to get out of the wind

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All the things we saw were amazing!! Rocks, cliffs, islands, seaweed, albatross, seals (Their smell nearly tipped Clancy over the edge of his control on his sea sickness!), friendly prions zipping around just above the surfaces of the waves, and we even got to see a whale spouting! One of the crew spotted it's first spout, and with a bit of patience, the rest of us got to see it's second surfacing spout. Shooting through between the rock columns, and going part way into a sea cave was also a lot of fun!

The crew were also keeping a helpful eye out for those who might have been struggling with sea-sickness. Encouraging them to come stand near the back with them, and to watch the horizon. The barbecue shapes and timtams passed around on the return trip were greatly appreciated, and got us thinking about the hot food Clancy had ordered prior to our departure, that would be ready for us on our return.

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We took our time enjoying lunch with Sonia and Kaden, so didn't have time to get down to see the Cape Bruny Lighthouse, or many of the other things we had listed for our day on Bruny Island. The view from the Neck lookout was worth the number of steps needed to climb to the top. Sonia wasn't such a fan of them either until Clancy and I brought up the '1... 2... 3... Jump!' game. Holding a hand each and helping her to jump a step or two. Only after she'd walked up three steps by herself each time mind you! The Ergo baby carrier came in handy once again here for Kaden, and once she'd gotten to the top, Sonia couldn't help but exploit her momentary freedom to explore further. Quickly being brought back by Clancy.

The final stop before getting back onto the ferry and heading for home, was the Bruny Island Providore, or Chocolate Factory as it's otherwise known. Sonia and Kaden had fun playing with the penguin sign, while Clancy decided which flavours of fudge he wanted. Keeping in mind he'd have to share it with the rest us!

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Freedom! Lets go!

Oh no you don't!

Oh no you don't!

Our 2 little penguins!

Our 2 little penguins!

To really enjoy all that Bruny Island and the southwest of Tasmania has to offer, I'd definitely recommend either staying over a night on the island, or atleast staying somewhere a lot closer than Hobart, and doing other things in the area at the same time. It was good to have Hobart as a base, but it would've made seeing everything south west of Hobart a lot easier time wise, to have stayed a night or two down there somewhere.

Posted by Goannaray 08:24 Archived in Australia Tagged boat coast tasmania whales cruise ferry seals bruny_island toddlers sea_caves 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! central_tasmania_hobart_swtasma interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Port Authur Historic Site

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

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The Port Arthur Historic Site is amazing! Really well set up, and abounding with information. There were plenty of different passes available to choose from, giving different levels of access to different things. Discounts were also available for elegible people/members (health care card, YHA, QANTAS Frequent Flyer, etc.). We chose to get a Bronze Pass which included a walking tour, harbour cruise tour, access to most buildings, and was valid for two days if we wanted.

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On entrance, each of us was given a card with a person's name and picture for the Lottery of Life exhibition. While we were waiting for our allotted walking tour, we went through the interactive displays set up in the lower level of the visitors centre, following the stories of the people named on the cards we'd been given. I'd been given a young boy who ended up being not too bad off, considering some of the stories of others that I followed, out of interest later. The interactive displays and associated stories were excellent. Gaining the attention and interest of all ages. From toddlers, right through to the elderly.

The walking tour went for approximately 40 minutes, and gave a brief overview of the site. It was well worth listening to as it greatly helped with looking around and understanding things better later. Sonia and Kaden weren't to thrilled by it however, prefering to make noise and run around, resulting in Clancy and I only partially hearing the guides explanations. It didn't help that there was a constant cold wind blowing the day that we were there either. No rain though, so that was good!

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The harbour cruise tour on the MV Marana was also really informative, providing close up views of the Isle of the Dead, and Point Puer. Thankfully there wasn't too much of a swell, and after seeing a large group of school children constantly going in and out to the deck of the boat, I finally relented to Sonia's requests and took her out onto the deck for a while as well. She thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the rather strong wind!

We were able to access a database in the museum to see if any of our predecessors had been there. None appeared for the surnames Clancy could remember, however I found three when I searched under my maiden name. Who knows if they're related or not! For lunch, we decided we'd enjoy the warmth of the Port Cafe, and found it child friendly and rather busy. I'd hate to imagine how busy it'd get during the busier warmer months!

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The majority of the buildings were able to be reached with a pram or wheelchair, however access into quite a few of them involved steps. We spent nearly a full day wandering around soaking up the history. Both Clancy and I enjoyed wandering through the fortified stone, convict built buildings more than the staff houses, and found the Seperate Prison particularly sombre. The whole area was presented really nicely like a park, but reading all the signs and trying to imagine what it was like back in the day... it would've had a totally different atmosphere then.

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Posted by Goannaray 10:24 Archived in Australia Tagged buildings parks winter boat ocean history tasmania convicts toddlers port_arthur 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! eastern_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

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