There is a Tasmanian beach that’s often named among the world’s best. Wineglass Bay looks more than comfortable on a postcard – its Bombay Sapphire waters lapping a familiar white quartz curve. But you can’t just park your car beside it and whip out your beach umbrella. It takes walking, flying or boating to see this beauty and hopping aboard Wineglass Bay Cruises is my pick.
Why experience Wineglass Bay aboard Schouten Passage II? Because arriving by boat to one of the world’s finest beaches and being fed oysters is pretty special. And having dolphins shadow you along Freycinet Peninsula, as if eager to share their playground, is equally special. Although the boat holds some 140 people, when you’re on the bridge with skipper Duncan Sinclair, it feels like you’re on his private boat.
It’s a premium experience in the upper deck’s Sky Lounge, with the option to pop through and say hello to Duncan at the helm. There’s something about a family-run business – an instant closeness. I pass on condolences, having heard the Sinclair’s lost Rastus, their dolphin spotting dog I’d met on a previous cruise. He nods gratefully, telling me ashes were scattered on the Freycinet water’s Rastus loved patrolling. Next, he leaps into a story of early French explorers beneath the mighty Hazard Mountains.
The four hour cruise takes us from the smooth waters of Coles Bay, down past Schouten Island and into Wineglass Bay for lunch. But it’s not just any lunch. The Ploughman’s offering is prepared by Freycinet Lodge’s Head Chef and is swiftly followed by Freycinet Marine Farm oysters. Turns out Duncan likes to share natural history, sheer granite cliff geology and marine life knowledge with the same generosity as his oysters. I wasn’t the only one accepting seconds!
On the way back, nature has a few treats in store. More dolphins, a sprinkling of seals and an unfamiliar looking fin present themselves. As Duncan noses over to our curious new friend, it turns out we’ve come across a rare sunfish, the heaviest known bony fish in the world. The odd, slow moving creature takes one look at us and drifts away. An apparently clumsy swimmer, the sunfish isn’t a patch on the flying fish that bolted by us only moments earlier. These are the type of characters one doesn’t see from foot or air – this is boat territory.
What’s more, the lavish boat has plenty of open deck space to feel the wind in your hair and enclosed seating for those wishing to preserve hair styling. People with a penchant for adventure can roll with the seas up front (until Duncan feels it necessary to usher them in) while others can sit back with Tasmanian bubbles and natter on the lounges. Wineglass Bay Cruises let you see Wineglass your way. I like that. I think Rastus would have approved too.
Child (4 – 14 years) $85.00
Vista Lounge includes:
•Bento box Ploughman’s lunch
•Drinks can be purchased from our fully licensed bar
Adults from $195
Sky Lounge includes:
•Drinks, freshly shucked local oysters and a Bento box Ploughman’s lunch
•Access to the bridge where guests are welcome to engage directly with the captain
Duration: 4 hours (Returns 2.00pm)
Operates: Sept – May
Departs from Coles Bay Jetty, located at the corner of Jetty Rd and Esplanade
Words and images: Alice Hansen (unless otherwise credited)
Your launch pad for exploring Tasmania like a local.