31 May 2012

Hayman: The Whitsundays & Great Barrier Reef

Hayman is a world class island resort offering luxury 5 star accommodation, a range of free activities, wellness-orientated spa treatments and unique culinary experiences. 

An extensive restoration in 2010 has seen the development of Beach Villas, each with their own private plunge pool. Relax on your balcony on a day bed overlooking the Coral Ocean while enjoying the exclusive Beach Butler service. 

Beach Villa, Hayman
Beach Villa, Hayman
All other rooms still provide wonderful views from their balconies and the lovely Pool Access rooms give you effortless access to the Hayman Pool from your private balcony.

Pool Access Room, Hayman
Pool Access Room, Hayman
The dining options on Hayman extend from the beach views and contemporary buffet breakfast at Azure restaurant to the casual bar menu at Beach Pavilion, the Italian and Mediterranean style La Trattoria to the Asian specialist Oriental and Australia’s signature resort restaurant Fontaine.  

Waterfront dining at Azure Restaurant
Azure Restaurant, Hayman 
Dining options continue with Hayman’s signature experience – The Chefs Table. This is a weekly event hosted by the island’s top chefs, where guests participate in the gourmet experience backstage, learning the food pairing concepts and conversing with over guests over carefully selected wines. Finally don’t miss the chocolate room and kitchen tour – a behind the scenes experience to Hayman’s popular Chocolate Room.

Activities on the island cover romantic desert island escapes to family activities including the Hayman Kids Club ranger program. To enjoy the surrounding Great Barrier Reef book a cruise or scenic plane flight to the outer reef where you can enjoy some of the world’s best snorkelling and diving.

Hayman Pool
Hayman Pool

Hayman Spa offers guest more than pampering, it has an extensive menu of wellness-oriented treatments to compliment the traditional favourites. Each treatment is programmed to indulge the senses, restore and rejuvenate. Couple treatment rooms are available plus a vichy shower, sauna, steam rooms and the popular ocean massage. 

Ocean Massage, Hayman
Ocean Massage, Hayman
For this signature experience a floating massage table is taken out to waist depth water for a floating massage in calm water surrounded by tropical fish. 

29 May 2012

Those that stay together..

I’ve heard it all in this business, stay-cations, fly-and-flop holidays but the term friendcation was new to me. Really it’s a glorified way of saying a group of friends, or in our case couples, going away and staying together. So when a friend asked if I’d like to go along to the Noosa Good Food and Wine Festival I didn’t think twice before mentally packing my bag so when this came along with an invitation to stay in a three bedroom treetop villa at Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa Noosa with two other couples I was beyond excited.

Outrigger Little Hasting Street Noosa
Outrigger Little Hasting Street and Spa Noosa

To be honest, there were a few moments of hesitation; you see I come along as a 2.15 package which comprises of a husband and a very active and loud 15 month-old but after my mind was put at ease by our holidaying housemates we were in the car on our way. Upon arriving at the 5-star Outrigger Little Hasting Street & Spa Noosa I realised that I shouldn’t have worried. To say that our 300 square meter three bedroom, three bathroom villa was big is an understatement, it was vast.

Kitchen of 3 Bedrom Villa at Outrigger Little Hasting Street & Spa Noosa

The bedrooms were more like three separate living spaces and thankfully our room was politely situated at the other end of the villa so that our beloved 5am alarm in the form of a toddler impatiently wanting breakfast didn’t intrude on the slumber of our friends. In fact we were able to feed her, shower and leave the villa for a morning of beachcombing before anyone else even woke.

On top of a glistening view of the resort, Noosa National Park and Noosa North Shore from our generous fourth floor balcony the finishes and furnishings in the villa were also instantly impressive. We felt rich just being there.
And even though six adults and a toddler were running around inside we still all had room to stretch out and could have comfortably stayed for a week.

View from villa

Outside our room the resort facilities include a heated resort pool, lap pool, private Brooke’s Pool, the uber relaxing Stephanies Ocean Spa and View on Little Hastings Restaurant & Bar which served up one of the most delicious buffet breakfasts I’ve had in a while.

The Outrigger Little Hastings Street & Spa Noosa is perched among the trees beside the Noosa National Park but is literally a 500 meter stroll or a buggy ride away from famous Hastings Street, luckily for ABC TV chef Poh Ling Yeow who scurried past with a happy wave on the way to her morning presentation at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival that started in less than three minutes. I’m confident she was on stage effortlessly whipping up something delicious on time.

Private Brooke's Pool at Outrigger Little Hasting Street & Spa Noosa

The Outrigger Little Hastings Street & Spa Noosa provided other opportunities for us to rub shoulders with our country’s cooking elite; Matt Preston, Adriano Zumbo and Masfterchef darling Justine Schofield were all seen walking up and down the hill towards Hastings Street at some point.

The Outrigger Little Hasting Street & Spa Noosa is a prefect place to stay during the Noosa Food and Wine Festival which with its overwhelming food options and constantly flowing wine is close enough to gracefully waddle home and flop into bed…

28 May 2012

Cairns & the Great Barrier Reef

Cairns is situated in Tropical North Queensland. This modern city is famous for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, making it the perfect base to explore Australia's natural, wildlife and cultural attractions.

Great Adventures – Great Barrier Reef and Green Island Cruise
Great Adventures – Great Barrier Reef and Green Island Cruise

The World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef is as diverse as it is beautiful and should be on your 'must see' list. There are many day tours available from Cairns such as the Great Barrier Reef and Green Island Cruise with Great Adventures. 

Book an optional Helmet Dive
Book an optional Helmet Dive

On this day tour the morning starts with a pick up from your Cairns accommodation in the morning with transfers to the marina where you will board your vessel. Enjoy 2 hours on Green Island to take in coral off the beach, underwater observatory or visit the crocodile farm. Then re-board the vessel to travel out to the Great Barrier Reef pontoon to enjoy 3 hours of swimming, snorkelling and a seafood buffet lunch. The day ends with return coach transfer back to your hotel.  
Snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef
Snorkelling at Green Island, Great Barrier Reef
In Cairns there is so much to see and do so its worth while to stay at least 3 nights to  explore its beautiful sights and visit the many attractions. There is a range of accommodation from 3 star backpackers and motels, city hotels, apartments and luxury resorts in the near by beach side suburbs of Trinity Beach and Palm Cove. If you prefer to be in the heart of town, walking distance to the city's attractions then consider Shangri-La hotel, situated right on the marina or stay at Mantra Esplanade located in the restaurant precinct. 

22 May 2012

The Flavours of Fraser Island

For my husband, Fraser Island is the definition of paradise, the beach, natural landscapes, the wildlife oh and the fishing so much so that this question was asked about 501 times as we explored the island Are you seeing that gutter DK? It’s beautiful!"

So after seven years of mancations to Fraser Island I decided to finally join him on a trip, I jumped in our 4WD (along with our 15 month-old) and really experienced Fraser Island. The four wheel driving was an adventure within itself the tracks were well maintained and signposted, it was an adrenaline rush within the confines of safety.

Donna 'DK' Kramer at Eli Creek, Fraser Island
Once on the road, well sand, we swam in Lake McKenzie for hours, floated out to the beach in the crystal clear waters of Eli Creek, walked through the stunning rainforest at Central Station and picnicked beside the Champagne Pools at Indian Head.

Lake McKenzie
Lake McKenzie
I was impressed ten times over, and I now wished I’d done it years earlier. Fraser Island is a beautiful place on all levels and trust me when I say that it is a destination that you have to experience and if you have overseas friends visiting get out their to-do list and put Fraser Island at the top.
It will be the highlight of their trip, I promise.

We stayed at Kingfisher Bay Resort and I instantly felt at home. Our spacious room looked straight out to the ocean and with ramps everywhere it made getting around with a pram super easy. While I loved the room and its view, the heated pool and stunning common areas at Kingfisher Bay Resort I’m not deep when it comes to accommodation, if it’s clean and the staff are friendly then I’m happy (I do love camping you see) so I tend to measure a resort by its food and Kingfisher Bay Resort received a shiny big gold star in my books.

We ate like KINGS at the buffet breakfast both mornings and the overflowing fresh seafood buffet dinner was so good I literally could not move for 15 minutes afterwards, I’m having flash backs to the Moreton Bay Bug induced food coma writing this! On our final night we had wines and a cheese platter on the jetty followed by wood-fire pizza.
And they say that the secret to a mans heart is through his stomach?
I was in love.

Bush Tucker Class
Bush Tucker Class

But a firm highlight of our trip for me aside from the amazing fishing gutters (between you and I, I have no idea what I was looking at other than the ocean) was the Kingfisher Bay Resort Bush Tucker experience. Hosted by Kingfisher Bay’s chefs from their signature restaurant Seabelle (which sadly was undergoing renovations when we were there) and a ranger Jermaine who’s indigenous ancestors used to call Fraser Island home, the bush tucker experience is intimate, we were one of five couples. Not only did we taste an array of native seeds, herbs and plants but we left full of knowledge about what native plants the indigenous Australians used each day in their cooking. It was fascinating.

Bush Tucker Menu
Bush Tucker menu
Kingfisher’s Seabelle restaurant incorporates many local native ingredients into each of their dishes; the thought process behind producing basic foods with a native food twist was impressive. Clear highlights were – jam infused with quandong or ‘desert peach’, panna cotta with lemon myrtle picked straight from a small native garden and herb farm on the Island, relish with bush tomatoes and lillypilly and my all time favorite pesto with bunya nuts was divine.

Now as a vegetarian (pescitarian to be precise) the low-fat meats such as kangaroo, emu and crocodile steaks that were offered were wasted on me, not so my husband who happily snapped up my share with rave reviews, but the fresh prawns covered in aniseed myrtle and the barramundi baked in paperbark was swoon-worthy. Aside from being a tutorial into native deliciousness the hour-long Bush Tucker class is fun and entertaining with the banter between the ranger and chefs keeping us in constant hysterics. I left feeling full of good food and interesting facts.

Bush Tucker treats
Bush Tucker treats

Next trip I’m adding the Seabelle’s bush tucker-inspired degustation menu, which I’m told contains countless delights including the freshest of Queensland’s famous seafood and Australian wines, to the top of my to-do list… oh along with finding amazing fishing gutters.

21 May 2012

10 Big Things you’ve never heard of

1. The Big Barramundi
Found in Normanton, Queensland The Big Barramundi offers fresh saltwater fish available for lunch al fresco in the barbeque gardens.

2. The Big Beer Can
Cobar in country NSW now has a place in the Guiness Book of Records thanks to The Big Beer Can. If filled the 5 metre tall structure would fit 10,000 schooners of beer. That’s more glasses of beer than people in the town!

3. The Big Mosquito
Living ominously above the Hexham Bowling Club north of Newcastle, The Big Mosquito draws tourists off the Pacific Highway for a photo and cool drink.

4. The Big Tennis Racquet
Found in Barellan, in the Riverina region of NSW, the 13.8m wooden Dunlop tennis racquet was built in honour of Evonne Goolagong, 14 times Grand Slam winning Australian Aboriginal tennis player.

5. The Big Penguin
Found in the appropriately named town of Penguin on Tasmania’s north west coast this statue represents the friendly visitors to the town each night at dusk. The town has a gorgeous ocean side drive past manicured gardens, sandy beaches and rugged .   

6. The Golden Gumboot
Tully, south of Cairns is the Australia’s wettest town, holding the record for 7.9 metres of rain in 1950. To celebrate this in true Aussie humour The Golden Gumboot was built at exactly 7.9 metres high in 2003.

7. The Big Ned
The famous bushranger Ned Kelly’s legendary story has put Glenrowan in the history books. To ensure we don’t forget this infamous period of history a giant statute of Ned was erected in 1992.

8. The Big Ant
This structure was designed by artist Pro Hart then donated to Broken Hill in 1990, where it can be found sitting proudly beside the Tourist Information Centre. To enjoy the outback scenery why not journey to Broken Hill on the Indian Pacific train from either Adelaide or Sydney.

9. The Big Sundial
The World’s Biggest Sundial is found in Singleton, NSW almost 200km north west of Sydney. Lemington Mine presented it as a gift to the town for Australia’s Bicentennial in 1988. Singleton is close to several Hunter Valley vineyards.

10. The Big Poo
Found in Kiama, NSW The Big Poo was built by local residents as a protest against Sydney Water’s decision not to reuse waste water in the area. The structure, unveiled in 2003, is built out of foam.

Broken Hill
Broken Hill

20 May 2012

5 weekend escapes from 5 cities

Brisbane   -   Maryvale
Spicers Peak Lodge
Spicers Peak Lodge
If you are looking for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane, a short drive to picturesque Maryvale is the perfect getaway. Sit by the fire and read a book or sample some of Queensland’s finest wines and gourmet foods.For the adventurous,  why not take a bushwalk through the World Heritage listed Main Range National Park, or enjoy a day mountain biking. The 5-star (self rated) Spicers Peak Lodge will look after your every need for your backyard getaway.

Sydney   -   Blue Mountains
Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa
Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa
Less than a two hour drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains will allure you with its breathtaking scenery. Check out the Three Sisters at Echo Point in Katoomba, or follow one of the many walking tracks into the Blue Mountains National Park. Take a guided tour and be intrigued by the fascinating limestone Jenolan Caves. There is a multitude of accommodation options from heritage listed buildings, boutique hotels and the luxurious 5-star (AAA rated) Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa.

Melbourne   -    Mornington Peninsula
Peppers Moonah Links Resort
Peppers Moonah Links Resort
Just an hour and a half drive from Melbourne lays this seaside bliss, filled with art galleries, golfing and great food and wine. Take a walk along the calm waters of Port Phillip Bay or visit the sea-battered cliffs around Cape Schanck. Visit one of the vineyards, indulge yourself in some locally produced delicacies or pick strawberries at the Sunny Ridge Farm. The 4-star (AAA rated) Peppers Moonah Links Resort offers luxurious accommodation for the avid golfer or spa indulger.
Adelaide   -   Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island Seafront
Kangaroo Island Seafront
One of Australia’s great natural wonders, Kangaroo Island is often known as the ‘zoo without fences’. Meet local sea lions at Seal Bay, sandboard dpwn the Little Sahara dunes or have an encounter with penguins at Kingscote and Penneshaw. Hang ten at one of the islands sensational and uncrowded surf breaks like Pennington or Stokes Bay. Taste locally produced wines, pure honey and gourmet cheeses and yoghurts from the Island Pure Sheep Dairy. The 3-star (AAA rated) Kangaroo Island Seafront offers delightful seaside accommodation for an affordable price.
Perth   -  Margaret River
Quay West Resort Bunker Bay
Quay West Resort Bunker Bay
The Margaret River offers a little piece of everything. You’ll find yourself lying on a beach one day, exploring forests and caves, to indulging in locally produced wines and gastronomic delights the next. Check out some waves at Surfers Point, or sit back and watch the experts take on breakers at the world famous beach. The Quay West Resort Bunker Bay offers fantastic 5-star (AAA rated) accommodation located right on the beach.  

To view more city escapes visit http://www.sunloverholidays.com.au/. For assistance booking your city escape call 13 88 33.

19 May 2012

15 Tips for travelling with kids

Travelling with your children can be a tonne of fun, but also hard at times. So to help you be as prepared as possible for your next family getaway, here are a 15 tips to make the trip much easier for you and more entertaining for them!

  1. When you are choosing accommodation, consider staying in self-contained apartments or villas. This allows you to cook meals rather than pay for expensive takeaway, wash clothes and close bedrooms doors during nap times. It will feel like a home away from home.

  1. Be prepared for the possibility your children may suffer from motion sickness. Frequent rest stops, watching the road meet the horizon and lots of air circulation in the car will help reduce the risk.

  1. Pack small play equipment items like a frisbee, skipping rope or football to play on the grass with during a rest stop to keep the kids entertained.

  1. Be prepared for accidents or illness and pack a medical kit containing basic items such as pain killers, bandaids, oral rehydration preparation, antiseptic and anti-itching lotion.

  1. Keep a change of clothes for each child for the trip. Depending on the season, you might also want to take hats or something warm to put on. 

  1. On the plane, try feeding your children during take off and landing. The swallowing and chewing helps to reduce any pressure build-up that causes discomfort in your child’s ears.

  1. Reduce the mischief in the backseat with a game of ‘ABC’. The first child starts off with “I went to the market and bought an apple”, the second then has to name a product from the market beginning with the letter B, and so forth. Whoever says the last word wins!

  1. Portable DVD players or iPads are also a great entertainment option – just remember to charge the battery before you leave home!

  1. ‘Draw it’ is a great way to pass the time away during your travels. One person is the ‘drawer’ and has to think of something and draw it within 30 seconds. Then, the others have to guess what it is. The first one to guess correctly wins and gets to be the drawer next round.

  1.  Children today are very technologically savvy. So why not let them use a disposable camera or your camera if it’s not too valuable, to take photos of the trip through their eyes. It can be like their personal holiday diary.

  1.  Have fun with a game of ‘Monsters’. Fold the paper into six sections. The first begins the drawing the monster’s head then folds the paper over so you can’t see what has been drawn. The second person draws the monsters shoulders, the third the chest/arms and so on. The fun part is seeing how the monster looks when the paper is unfolded!

  1.  Play the guessing game, for example, ‘I'm thinking of an animal that’s thin, slimy and slithers’. 

  1. The kids will be excited about the holiday, so to avoid any extra hyperactivity steer the kids away from soft drinks and give them water instead.

  1.  ‘Spot it’ is a simple and fun game to keep the kids out of mischief. Have a couple of boards in the car and have a competition of who can mark off the most items on the board first e.g. a kangaroo, a stop sign.

  1.  Handy items to bring with you in the car include: fruit to snack on, water, re-freshening wipes, a rug and pillow for each child, plastics bags for rubbish or dirty clothes and sun protection for the window to allow for restful sleep. 

17 May 2012

Discover regional Victoria

Great Ocean Road
Take in the Victorian coastline and all of its charms as you drive the iconic Great Ocean Road. From the laidback coastal towns and maritime villages to famous surf beaches and amazing rock formations, you’ll never be lost for amazing sights. The postcard iconic Twelve Apostles are just
one of the trip’s highlights.

Port Fairy, Great Ocean Road
Port Fairy, Great Ocean Road
Yarra Valley
The Yarra Valley is a must visit for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Stopover at the famous Domaine Chandon winery, sample delicious cheeses at Yarra Valley Dairy or combine the two indulgences and call into cellar doors and restaurants that offer amazing local wine and produce. There’s a bounty of great food and wine in the area.

Mornington Peninsula
Escape to the beaches and rolling hills of the Mornington Peninsula. Right on Port Phillip Bay just an hour and a half from Melbourne, tee up for a game of golf or go exploring the hidden vineyard retreats. Take a slower pace here. It’s all about life’s little pleasures as you fill your days with beachcombing, golfing and food and wine tasting.

Mornington Peninsula
Mornington Peninsula
Phillip Island
Phillip Island is famed for its wildlife. Catch the spectacle of the daily penguin parade along the sand dunes at dusk and see seals and koalas up close. Nature is at its best here but there’s so much more to see. Kids are well_catered for, with plenty of attractions and family friendly beaches. Phillip Island also plays host to two big events on the motor racing calendar, the V8 Supercar Championship and the Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Phillip Island, Victoria
Phillip Island
Victoria’s Gippsland region offers up a combination of national parks, enormous lakes and laidback beaches, mountain towns and alpine country. Ninety Mile Beach and the Gippsland Lakes are the centre of activity for fishing, boating, swimming and water-skiing. Or visit the historic gold mining town of Walhalla.

Picnic at Gippsland
Picnic at Gippsland
Relive the days of the gold rush of more than 150 years ago in the Goldfields region. Local towns and villages now blend contemporary boutiques, galleries and restaurants with historic architecture. But you can still feel part of the hustle and bustle of an old gold mining town with a visit to the outdoor museum; Sovereign Hill in Ballarat.

Spa Country
Rest and relaxation are a given at Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. For more than a century people have flocked here in search of the therapeutic benefits of the natural mineral springs. There are more here than anywhere else in Australia. Indulge in decadent spa treatments and decadent dining while staying in boutique accommodation.

Daylesford, Spa Country
Daylesford, Spa Country

The Grampians
It’s rugged and spectacular and renowned for its outdoor activities, from bushwalking and rock climbing, to fishing and canoeing. The Grampians National Park has walking tracks ranging from a casual stroll to overnight treks. Traverse the series of five sandstone ridges to see spectacular views, wildflowers and Aboriginal rock art sites.

The Murray
You’d go a long way to find a more scenic place to enjoy great food, wine and weather than The Murray region. Watch the afternoon sun shimmer on the mighty Murray River and sample the wares of local citrus growers, vineyards and restaurants.

High Country
Victoria’s High Country is the perfect all-rounder holiday destination. Ski the alps in winter and return when the weather is warm for outdoor adventure activities. Eating your way around the region’s villages is also highly recommended. Family-run restaurants and boutique wineries offer a delightful place to return to after a day’s outdoor fun.

Victoria's High Country
Victoria's High Country

16 May 2012

Gold Coast - Top 5 hottest bars & restaurants

Choosing from the many bars and restaurants available on the Gold Coast can be hard - so we've made picking easier by sharing the top 5 hottest bars and restaurants on the Gold Coast.

1. Stingray Lounge – QT Gold Coast
Discover Californian cool, in this classic timber bar sprinkled with designer furniture and the sounds of soul and Latin beats coming from all corners. There are plenty of delicious cocktails on the menu, wine, beer and over 50 in house tequilas. If you get peckish there is a delicious Mexican inspired bar menu. We suggest sipping on orange sherbet mojito while waiting for your angus beef slider to be cooked to perfection.

2. Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill - BroadbeachMoo Moo is no ordinary steakhouse, offering a choice of over 350 wines. The menu celebrates fresh seasonal flavours from family farms and steak from the best breeders in the country. The service here is definitely first class, ask your waiter for a recommendation of which wine to pair with your meal.
3. FIX Bar – Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residences
Enjoy this fashionable bar that has been designed as a 1930s cocktail bar. With sophisticated vintage style interior and views of the glistening Surfers Paradise this is where you can find the in-crowd. You can sip on a vintage wine or sample a cocktail designed by the mixoligist Grant Collins and sway to the smooth grooves. 

Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residences
Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residences

4. Justin Lane Pizzeria & Bar – Burleigh Heads
Justin Lane is soaked in atmosphere, as the restaurant is split over a narrow arcade with the bar on the one side, kitchen on the other side and tables in-between. It has quickly become the hottest place to be from Wednesday to Sunday nights. With a simple, authentic Italian inspired menu the food is fresh and tasty. Enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine at the bar before your meal and enjoy the laid back surroundings.

5. Skypoint Bar – Q1 Towers Surfers Paradise
Skypoint Bar is located on level 77 of the world’s tallest residential tower - Q1 Towers. Visit of a Friday or Saturday night and you will get to experience the electric atmosphere as the locals arrive to enjoy the smooth beats and cocktails. If you prefer a quiet drink then visit on a weeknight and slowly take in the 360 degree views of the Gold Coast.

Q1 Resort & Spa

15 May 2012

Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise

By Sunlover Holidays ambassador David Reyne.

The D’Entrecasteaux Channel has been whipped into a frenzy. The ferry plows through the waves smacking at its side and even though Bruny Island is barely visible its paddocks and trees manage appear appealing.

Bruny Island Cruises
We wind down through rolling hills and along the narrow spit of sand that separates the vast Tasman Sea to our left and the Channel to our right. Timber cottages grip the hillsides determined to capture the heartbreaking views. The only industry visible seems to be farming: cattle, sheep, oyster, cheese and salmon. There’s even a chocolate farm.

We arrive at a seaside hamlet where neat holiday huts and fishermen’s cottages pump wood-smoke from stone chimneys. Since we’re here to take to the ocean on a Bruny Island Cruise on this winy day I’m a little concerned to discover we’re in a place called Adventure Bay.

Sunlover Holidays stars on Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise
Sunlover Holidays stars on Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise
Several open-decked, open-sided boats battle at their moorings and you can imagine my apprehension when told they’d be taking us out into the heaving Tasman. We’re issued thick, red jackets which cover the entire body from head to foot. I look to the storm-whipped seas beyond the bay and as I drop my head in silent prayer I notice a label stitched to the front of my waterproof gear. It says, ‘Stormy’.

Three massive, super charged outboard engines purr. Our skipper nudges the throttle and we gun across the bay and slice effortlessly around the headland. Before us, an extraordinary coastline of magnificent, vertical cliffs rise from the ocean to soar more than 250 metres above us. The incredible manoeuvrability of the Bruny Island Cruise boat puts us right at their face, despite the threatening sea.

Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise
Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise
We hurtle towards a massive rocky finger thrusting skyward at the edge of the plunging cliffs. A tiny gap of water appears between fingered monument and land mass. We’re headed directly for it. We squeeze through the gap at tooth loosening speed, too scared even to shiver. I throw a concerned glance back at our skipper. He’s grinning.

We edge forward hesitantly to a point at the cliff face that seems strangely unremarkable. The outboards roar thrusting us backwards just as the rolling swell climbs the rock. A haunting, guttural bellow emanates from the depths as an angry gush of seawater surges from its hidden abyss to rain down upon the deck of the boat.  

Bruny Island cliffs
Bruny Island cliffs
We gun south, barely metres from the jagged land’s edge and scoot into a tiny bay. The dark opening to a sea cave yawns at the point where the cliffs plummet into the sea. The skipper pokes our nose into it and we rise and fall at its entrance with the surging ocean.

If it wasn’t for the absolute power and stability of the Bruny Island Cruise boat, I’m convinced that right about now I’d be turning the key in Davey Jones locker.

With a brutal squall behind and a lurching sea beneath, we dash home, screaming across the heaving swell. We finally turn into Adventure Bay, frozen to the core but utterly invigorated by the entire incredible experience.

Tasmania excels on many levels when it comes to offering the traveller something unique, breathtaking and inspiring, but the ace up Tassie’s sleeve is always Mother Nature. This time, once again, she turned it on but in a way that was completely unexpected.

Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise
Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise