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Bruny Island Cruises

sunny
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)

Sandy Cape, WA

Pinnacles, Sandy Cape, Stockyard Gully, Sand Dunes, Beach fun, North Head WWII Bunkers and Memorial, Lang Lookout

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View Weekend Toddler Adventures WA on Goannaray's travel map.

What to do when the school schedules a pupil free day for the Friday of a long weekend?... Organise a camping trip further afield! Well, in this instance, it was more like suggest the idea to my sister's and their partner's/families, and let them do most of the decision making!

Thank you Jeremy for the location, ideas, and research results you provided. Thank you also to everyone for pitching in and helping out with all the kids! Helped make it a very enjoyable long weekend.

Day 1

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Pinnacles

  • Kids had seen pictures of the pinnacles in various brochures, and regularly requested to see them. So the plan was to meet Ayla and family there on the way up to Sandy Cape to finally let the kids see and experience the pinnacles.
  • Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre - Found this rather interesting and well worth looking through. For both adults and kids.
  • Due to earlier toilet stops and some quick lookout explorations (...and hoping to get a decent campsite before they were all taken!), we had to cut our time at the pinnacles short. No extended explorations, or time to wander around and just enjoy the area unfortunately. Will need to plan that better next time!
  • So a look through the Discovery Centre, then a walk up the path (pram friendly) to the edge of all the pinnacles was all we managed while Ayla and family had their lunch (they'd gotten there before us and already completed the drive).
  • Map of the walk trail, and Pinnacles Drive.
|My turn for the camera</th><th>

My turn for the camera

|| Going to see the sunset, Campsite in the background.

Going to see the sunset, Campsite in the background.

Sandy Cape

  • We got there about mid afternoon on Friday, and considering it was a long weekend, found the designated campsites (north and south of the main entrance) to be pretty much completely full! Looked like it was set up really well though with new toilets.
  • Too squashed and crowded for us. Plus we needed a slightly larger area for three 'families' to set up camp together.
  • So we continued north through all the campsites, and followed a track heading into the dunes to find a more accommodating site.
  • The track was a mix of sandy and rocky patches (no real 4wding required, but did need to take it slower over the rocks), and generally followed the coastline, with quite a few nice spots for camping.
  • Finally found one that wasn't already taken and suited us really well. Located in some bush directly behind some dunes, alongside the beach. And a big plus for Ayla, the kids, and I... hardly any wind!!
  • Kids loved it too!! Bush with plenty of 'tunnels' and 'cubby houses', and only needed to climb one dune to get to the beach.
  • The only real downside, was the slow drive out in the morning to go exploring, then back in again at the end of the day. Nice having our own little secluded campsite though!
  • Fees could be paid at the information board at the main entrance, or to the caretaker who caught up with us one morning on his quad bike doing his rounds.
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Day 2

Stockyard Gully

Link 1, Link 2

  • A really nice spot to explore, with the gully and cave feeling a bit like an oasis. Creating a rather nice, relaxed sort of atmosphere.
  • My sister's and I have visited this area before, and still enjoy returning to it, to see and walk through it again. Especially this time being able to share it with the kids, and share in their enjoyment of it all!
  • 4wd access once again, with both sandy and rocky sections.
  • Can be accessed from the south off the Coorow-Greenhead Rd, or from the north off the Coolimba-Eneabba Rd.
  • There are two parking / picnic areas. One at each end of the cave tunnel.
  • The picnic tables were all being used when we got there though, so instead we set up Jordan and Ayla's side awning for some shade, and enjoyed lunch in the carpark.
  • The full loop walk is only about 1.3km long, and the kids loved being able to use their head torches through the cave tunnel!
  • They also enjoyed finding/seeing quite a few beehives.
Lunch in the carpark

Lunch in the carpark

Stockyard Gully - Rocky western entrance

Stockyard Gully - Rocky western entrance

Stockyard Gully - Western entrance

Stockyard Gully - Western entrance

Stockyard Gully - Eastern entrance

Stockyard Gully - Eastern entrance

Bee hives

Bee hives

Stockyard Gully - Eastern entrance

Stockyard Gully - Eastern entrance

Stockyard Gully - Eastern entrance

Stockyard Gully - Eastern entrance

Sand Dunes

  • The remainder of the afternoon was spent playing in some sand dunes... And slowly working our way back to camp along a narrow, rocky, sandy track.
Sand dune fun

Sand dune fun

Slide... climb... slide... climb... slide...

Slide... climb... slide... climb... slide...

Fun on the beach

Fun on the beach

Enjoying the fire!

Enjoying the fire!

Day 3

Beach fun and finding some WWII bunkers at North Head

  • A nice warm morning on the beach was enjoyed by all. No real swimming though, as we found the water to be rather cold. Instead, the making of some much loved sand sculptures!
  • Then time for lunch, help Ayla and family pack up, and finally head off to find the WWII bunkers.
  • Had a basic idea that a track heading south beside the Sandy Cape entrance information board would lead to them. So went to have a look, and before heading down the track, confirmed their location by asking one of the vehicles coming out of the track.
  • After passing many more campsites along the track, we found them.
  • Was rather interesting to explore around and imagine living/working in the area when it was operational as a coast watch station in 1942, and as a radar station in 1943-45. ( ABC News story, Heritage survey report)
  • Was also interesting to see a memorial set up for R.M. Bartle who died there in a shark attack in August 1967.
  • And finally... Time to say goodbye to Ayla and family, and head back to camp for the last night.
North Head WWII Bunker

North Head WWII Bunker

North Head WWII Bunkers

North Head WWII Bunkers

R. M. Bartle Memorial

R. M. Bartle Memorial

R. M. Bartle Memorial plaque

R. M. Bartle Memorial plaque

Day 4

Heading home via a detour to visit family

  • Nothing really spectacular about heading home. Packing up camp isn't the most fun thing to do. Especially if you're 18months, 5yrs or 7yrs old!!
  • Instead of heading straight home down the coast though, we detoured inland to catch up with family.
  • On the way there, we were pleasantly surprised to find a lookout with a familiar name on it! G. E. Lang as we later confirmed, was related to us!!

Lang lookout plaque

Lang lookout plaque

Lang lookout

Lang lookout






Posted by Goannaray 22:29 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches coast kids cave camping toddlers weekend_toddler_adventures_wa wkend_adventures_coral_coast_re coral_coast_wa Comments (0)

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