Rob Pennicott, one of Tasmania's most successful wildlife guides, crosses Bass Strait this spring to conduct a new series of boat tours exploring the marine wilderness around Victoria's Wilsons Promontory.
Wilsons Promontory Cruises, which begin in September, depart from the Prom's tourism village, Tidal River, and sail into the waters of Wilsons Promontory National Park.
"We come off Norman Beach at Tidal River and are straight into the marine park, alongside islands and headlands, to learn about the flora, fauna and the history of the traditional owners," Pennicott says.
Sailing custom-built amphibious vessels, he advises adventurers to keep their eyes peeled for dolphins, Australian fur seal colonies and humpback and Southern Right whales on their journey to and from Antarctica – the whales are best seen on their southern migration between late September and early December.
"I've been fortunate to see quite a bit of the world, but Skull Rock is one of the most incredible formations," says Pennicott, on the highlights of the tour. "It's carved by the wind, sea and the rain and inhabited by seals. It's almost spiritual when you're up against it."
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys is best known for its full-day Tasmanian Seafood Seduction wildlife and seafood foraging tours between Hobart and Bruny Island, during which guides dive for abalone and sea urchins, shuck local oysters and cook up the catch of the day on the back of their expedition boats, with a healthy dose of Tasmanian sparkling wines, craft beers and ciders.
"We're all action," says Pennicott of the upcoming Wilsons Prom tours, "and our boats are fully air-conditioned [by which he means open to the elements], so we'll dress people appropriately on the day."
The Wilsons Prom tours run from September 23 and bookings are open now. Tours depart at 11am daily, with additional departures between November and April. Cost: $135 for adults, $85 for children (three to 16 years), and $430 for families (2 adults, 3 children). See pennicottjourneys.com.au