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13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

by Family Globetrotters

If You’re Ever in The Southern Most State of Australia, A Bruny Island Cruise Is A Must Do Activity. This Wilderness Experience Will Be Something You’ll Never Forget!

Tasmania is small island state in the southern most part of Australia. If you continued heading south from Tasmania, you’ll hit Antarctica! Bruny Island Cruises is a wilderness experience of expansive views of the Southern Ocean, heart thumping adrenalin on their speed boats coupled with being able to see wildlife in their natural habitat. The Bruny Island Cruises is a 3-hour expedition which has given us a lifetime of memories. To get the most out of the cruise, here are some useful things to know to make this adventure for the family even better.

#01 – BOOK THE BRUNY ISLAND CRUISES IN ADVANCE

Each of the cruise boats takes 43 passengers. And even though they may run more than one speed boat for each time slot for the day, it is an extremely popular activity.

Booking in advance does not incur a charge as you only pay when you get there.

They have a 100% cancellation policy only if you don’t show up or cancel on the day.

So, if you’re still unsure but don’t want to miss out, just book online as you have up to the day before to cancel should things not work out.

#02 – HOW MUCH DOES THE BRUNY ISLAND CRUISES COST?

At the time of writing, the costs of the Bruny Island Cruises are:

Adult – $135.00
Child (3-16 yrs.) – $85.00
Family (2 adults, 3 children) – $430.00

Not sure why but for some reason people think the price of the ticket includes a meal. Well, it doesn’t so don’t get disappointed when you don’t get any!

Was it worth it? OMG yessss……

#03 – HOW LONG DOES THE BRUNY ISLAND CRUISES GO FOR?

The cruise itself goes for 3 hours. Allow for a 30-minute check in and briefing session prior to the cruise departing.

The cruise travels 50km along the coastline to the Friars and back. You will also cross the point where the Tasman Sea meets the Southern Ocean. Antarctica here we come!

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#04 – WHAT ARE THE CRUISE TIMES?

At the time of writing, here are the cruise times according to their website:

10:00am Cruise (16 Dec to 28 Apr)
Catch 7:30, 8:00, 8:30 Ferry from Kettering if you’re doing a day trip from Hobart
Check in at the Visitor Centre by 9:30am, Cruise 10am to 1pm

11:00am Cruise (All Year)
Catch 8:30, 9:00, 9:30 Ferry from Kettering if you’re doing a day trip from Hobart
Check in at the Visitor Centre by 10.30am, Cruise 11am to 2pm

1:30pm Cruise (16 Dec to 28 Apr)
Catch 11:30 or 12:00 Ferry from Kettering if you’re doing a day trip from Hobart
Check in at the Visitor Centre by 1pm, Cruise 1:30pm to 4:30pm

As you can see, the cruises are very popular in the warmer months so do make sure you book in advance.

#05 – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BRUNY ISLAND FERRY CROSSING FROM HOBART

To get to Adventure Bay on Bruny Island, you have to catch a ferry from Kettering.

This exercise proved to be an incredibly frustrating one for us and thank goodness we stayed on Bruny Island for a couple of nights as it meant that we didn’t have to deal with this on the actual day of the cruise. For you day trippers, please read the following carefully, so you’re well prepared.

The ferry terminal is located in Kettering, a 45-minute drive south of Hobart. The process essentially is to then purchase a ticket at the ferry terminal, get on the ferry in your car for a 20-minute crossing and then drive another 40 minutes to get to the visitor centre for check in.

What we did not anticipate was the amount of time it would take us to get the ticket and board the ferry.

Where this all became unstuck was the fact that you are not able to pre-book tickets, to be guaranteed a boarding time. This service runs on a first in best dressed scenario. When we arrived at the ferry terminal, we had to stop a fair way from the ticket booth because the traffic to get the tickets started snaking at the top of the road. Lining in single file, we moved at snail’s pace for about 45 minutes.

We finally managed to get to the one ticket booth and the costs are below. The ferry ticket is a return ticket.

Driver and Vehicle – Length: less than 6.0 metres – $38.00
Driver and Vehicle – Length: 6.0 metres up to 10.0 metres – $65.00
Driver and Vehicle – Length: 10.1 metres up to 15.0 metres – $90.00
Driver and Vehicle – Length: greater than 15.0 metres – $110.00
Driver and Vehicle with Trailer: Unlimited Length – $85.00

After you get your ticket, you will be ushered to drive towards the ferry. The vehicles are split up into 4 lanes of which it was a random selection of cars. Its just a way to reduce the length of the queue which by this stage was looking like it would start from Hobart!

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

Top: The Queue After Buying Tickets and Waiting to Get on The Ferry.
Bottom: How the Cars Are Parked on The Ferry.

We were unlucky as we missed the last ferry before the lunch break, so we sat there for another hour. And we were literally the next vehicle to board the ferry! Luckily there is café and some toilet facilities, so we weren’t exactly stuck in our car. Many people got out and went for walks and came back before the next ferry.

When it was time, we were then ushered onto the ferry in a very orderly manner. The ferry is very much like a big barge. There are 2 that alternate between crossings of which one is single storey and the other is a double storey ferry.

There are no seats for passengers. You are welcome to get out of your car the minute you have parked and roam the ferry as you wish. Cars are instructed to turn off once parked.

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

Andrew Enjoying the Ferry Ride.

Once you’re at Bruny Island, you are also ushered to depart in a very orderly manner.

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

Getting Off the Ferry And The Queue For Those Departing Bruny Island.

Based on our experience, we therefore recommend that you get to the ferry terminal nice and early. There are plenty of things to do on Bruny Island if you find yourself too early to check into the visitor centre.

The same process applies for the return except that you already have your return ticket. As you can see from our photo, there was also a queue. So if you’re doing a day trip, it makes for a very long day and you might like to make sure you’re well prepared with the kids.

#06 – PRE-ORDER YOUR LUNCH

Upon arrival at the visitor centre, you will be taken upstairs to pay for your cruise tickets.

During this process, you will be advised that should you wish to have lunch after the cruise, it would be prudent to book it prior to departure so the wait is not as long when you get back in.

This was great advice as there were 2 boats in our 10.00am time slot which meant that we would have waited quite a bit at the café.

We pre-ordered and pre-paid our lunches and the wait was minimal after the cruise. The kids were starving by that time so not having to wait forever was excellent.

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

The Visitor Centre on The Top And The Café At The Bottom.

#07 – HOW TO GET THE BEST SEAT ON BRUNY ISLAND CRUISES

About 15 minutes before departure, we were asked to head outside for a briefing session.

After the briefing session, you will be asked to start heading down towards the pier. Looking out into the water, you have to head left.  As the boats are first in best dressed rather than allocated seats, you want to be standing on the left-hand side, so you have the first dibs on the seats. Looking at the photo of the briefing session, we were standing on the wrong side!

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

The Briefing Session and Yeah, We Were Standing On The Wrong Side Of The Guide!

As mentioned, our time slot had 2 boats leaving at the same time. When we got to the pier, we could decide which boat we wanted to get on. It wasn’t a case of filling one boat first before allowing passengers to board the second boat. Each boat takes 43 passengers and we managed to get a seat in the 4th row of 4 seats.

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

What It Would Like If You Sat in The Front. We Were in the 4th Row. Great Views!

Pros and Cons of sitting in the front:

  • If you love the adrenalin of smashing into the waves, sit in the first few rows. On this day we had “mild” 2m swells of which we were told wouldn’t be too choppy when we were out in the Great Southern Ocean. Well, not quite true. Some parts were a bit choppy and we did get some air! When the swells go up to 6m, they still go out so be warned!
  • The first row has 2 seats if you want uninterrupted views.
  • The first 3 rows are not under cover so be prepared to get wet if it rains. Mind you, if it did rain, sitting in the 4th row where we were would mean we would get very wet too.
  • Sitting in the front also means your face gets some serious wind burn. We were prepared and brought our neck scarves which we used to cover our faces and we were fine. I could see the people in front of us were suffering towards the end.
  • If you are prone to sea sickness, do not sit in the front as you’ll experience the most movement.

Pros and Cons of sitting in the back:

  • There are some seats behind the driver of which you don’t get a great view when the boat is in motion. You are permitted to move from your seat when it stops, and they will tell you when. Plenty of opportunity to get up but just means you always have to get up. We were able to see a lot without getting up from our seats.
  • The toilet is also at the back which is great if you’re prone to sea sickness and need to use it quickly. But at the same time annoying when you’re trying to get up and about because you’re sitting at the back.
  • The back area is the least choppy so sit there if you think you might be sea sick.
  • It is roomier behind the driver. It was hard work getting in and out of our seats as there is minimal leg room.
13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

We Stood Up for Quite Some Time Watching The Dolphins And We Were Cruising At Low Speeds.

In terms of views, the driver does well to turn the boat constantly, so everyone gets a vantage point at every stop for a photo opportunity.

On the day of our cruise, the last 5 people to get on between the 2 boats was a family of 5 with young kids. There were 2 seats on one boat and 3 seats on the other. The staff tried their best to ask people to move between boats so the family of 5 could sit together but unfortunately no one was able to assist.

We were even offered discounts on our tickets upon our return if we were willing to move to the other boat. In the end, they had to split up but the whole family was refunded 50% of their ticket. So, if you don’t want to get split up and you’re a big group, make sure you stick together and head on out first. We were lucky, all 10 of us managed to get on the same boat.

#8 – HOW TO COMBAT SEASICKNESS

If you are prone to sea sickness, you will most likely be seasick. Whilst this is called the Bruny Island Cruises, it’s not a cruise at all because you’re never really at “cruising” speed. You’re in a speedboat and the swells in the ocean can make the boat trip extremely choppy and rough.

One of our friends was unfortunately sick pretty much the whole time and once you’re out there, there is no turning back. No matter how sea sick you get, they will not turn back nor, will they send another boat to come and get you.

She said when we were flying through the water at high speeds she was fine but when we stopped, and the boat just bobbed around, it was a terrible feeling.

Before departure, the crew offered everyone free ginger tablets of which most people took the tablets. Unfortunately, they did not work for my friend and she wished she had taken much stronger medication to combat the problem.

Hannah wore her sea bands and they did the trick. She only had very mild sea sickness when we stopped to see the seals and that was out in the open water of the Great Southern Ocean. On the way back, she slept like a baby!

The crew are great at helping you as best they can, and they do allow you to stand so you can get constant fresh air. In the end, they encourage you to vomit overboard if that will make you feel better. But there are only 2 crew members on board which essentially is the driver and the tour guide, so they won’t be able to give you undivided attention.

A reminder that we went out on a mild day of low winds, 2m swells and a glorious sunny day. And still it was choppy at that speed and she still got sick. Be very prepared before boarding and check the weather conditions.

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#9 – WHAT TO WEAR ON BRUNY ISLAND CRUISES

We went on the cruise in the middle of summer. The sun was out, and it was about mid 20-degree Celsius (mid 70-degree Fahrenheit). And yet we were advised to bring jackets, scarves, gloves, and beanies. And we thought they were nuts. Luckily, we decided to heed their advice just in case.

Just before departure, they distributed thick red, rain jackets to keep you both dry and warm. They also had smaller jackets for the kids. That jacket is extremely warm and from the time they gave it to us to the time we left, it was about 30 minutes and I was dying inside. So hot. Had I known, I would not have put it on until the first stop as the ride was very short from the pier.  My jacket was sufficient for the first leg of the tour.

But let me tell you that it does get cold. Don’t let the warm temperatures deceive you as once you’re out in the open water, it is cold. And maybe when you’re on the way out you may not feel it so much as there are heaps of stops but on the way back when they don’t stop for 45 minutes, it is freezing. Thank goodness we had our scarves and beanie. I could see some people just suffering the whole way.

In saying that, each to their own. The man sitting right up front only had on his T-shirt and shorts on the whole time.

I can only imagine what it would be like in the cooler months or when it rains. Just bring all your warm clothes along. Better to be safe than sorry because it makes for a very miserable 3-hour journey otherwise.

Bring clothes to change into if you think its going to rain. That way when you get back to your car after the cruise, you can get changed so your trip back isn’t so miserable. Bring a towel too in case you’re completely drenched.

Heading to Tasmania, Australia and looking for an adventure? You can't go past Bruny Island Cruises! Adrenalin, wilderness, dolphins and sea cliffs. Great family expedition! #brunyislandcruises #brunyisland #tasmaniatourism Click To Tweet

#10 – DOES THE CRUISE CONTINUE IF THE WEATHER IS BAD?

In most cases the cruises will continue to operate. The Tasmanian coastline is subject to some severe weather changes so forecasts aren’t always super accurate. They do still go out at 6m swells!

It has been said that it is miserable when it rains. Between being cold and wet, flying across the ocean at high speeds can make for a very unpleasant experience. As you can cancel the day before, make a smart decision about whether to go out if the weather is not favourable.

Some reviews have said that they were upset that the cruise operators were not upfront enough about weather conditions. As they will go out anyway, I guess they don’t want to scare off the passengers and have to provide refunds.

So be sure to make a very informed decision. I would advise against going if you’re elderly and not very mobile, pregnant, or if you’re thinking of bringing your baby and very small children.

#11 – CAN I BRING A BAG ON THE BOAT?

Yes, you can bring a small backpack with you. There are overhead net compartments you can use although they are not super convenient if you’re sitting up front as they are towards the back of the boat.

You can also keep it with you if you wish but our backpack was probably too big as the seats have no leg room. In hindsight I wish we carried 2 small bags instead.

#12 – CAN I BRING A CAMERA?

Absolutely and you should! The crew encourage you to get out of your seats to grab the best photos you can.

You’ll just need to worry about housing for the camera on a rainy day.

Just be weary of the cameras when you approach the blow hole. We got drenched!

We used our GoPro, DLSR and phones the whole way.

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

Those Who Sat in The Front Got A Good Spray So Watch Your Cameras!

#13 – WHAT WILDLIFE WILL I SEE ON BRUNY ISLAND CRUISES?

On our day out in mid-January, we saw sea eagles, albatrosses, seals basking in the sun and a pod of about a hundred dolphins. We were very lucky with the dolphins and it was the highlight of our Tasmanian holiday. It was just glorious to be gliding with them in the water and loved how playful they were.

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

Bliss!

We didn’t see any whales. Sigh, just means we have to go back again!

Many who have been disappointed on this cruise are those who feel that all they saw were some birds flying overhead, sleeping seals and a ton of rock formations. Understand this is not a zoo. They can’t conjure up dolphins and whales for your pleasure. You are here to enjoy the sea cliffs, what the Tasmanian coastline looks like from the Tasman Sea and also enjoying the crazy speedy boat ride. If you’re not going to be satisfied with that, perhaps this cruise is not for you.

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

This Is the Furthest Point the Cruise Will Go in The Southern Ocean. These Seals Were the Cutest and There Were So Many of Them.

All in all, we had an amazing experience! In saying that however I feel we were blessed with a few things. We had perfect sunny weather, smaller swells and we saw a pod of hundred dolphins.

Also, we stayed in Adventure Bay, so we didn’t have to battle the long queues at the ferry terminal and worry about a 2-3-hour journey before and after the cruise. The visitor centre was only a 5 min walk from our Air Bnb. We weren’t tried. In fact, we were on a bit of an adrenalin rush from our experience.

We paid full fare for this activity and our reviews are honest and based on our experience. As long as you’re prepared, this could be an adventure like no other, as it was for us!

BONUS TIP #1 – RELATED ARTICLES

14 Kid Friendly Things to do in Hobart, Tasmania

14 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Mona in Hobart

10 Tips on How to Prevent Seasickness on Cruise Ships

BONUS TIP #2 – WHERE TO STAY ON BRUNY ISLAND

Boutique – 43 Degrees Bruny Island
This 3-star environmental accommodation is well located in Adventure Bay. 43 degrees is Adventure Bay’s latitude and features Studio Spa and Spa Suite Apartments. It is only 50m from the beaches of Adventure Bay close to many walking trails. The Apartments include kitchenettes, double glazed windows and natural timbers are used through the space.
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here

3.5 Star Cottages – Bruny Island Escapes and Hotel Bruny
Bruny Island Escapes offers award-winning accommodation situated in various locations in Lunawanna and Alonnah. Each cottage has a private balcony, a cosy log fire and full kitchen facilities. The Explorers Two Bedroom Cottage are perfect for families of 4 or 5.
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here

House – Adventure Bay Holiday Home
If you prefer to have a whole house to yourself, this home fits 6 people in its 2 bedrooms and 1 sofa bed. Located in Adventure Bay, this holiday home features a balcony and a garden with a barbecue. It provides free private parking and free WiFi. This home is very child friendly and plenty of space for the kids to run around.
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here

13 Things to Know About Bruny Island Cruises Before You Go

Disclaimer: The Family Globetrotter’s website contains affiliate links which help us to maintain this blog and assists us with our travels, at no extra cost to you. Family Globetrotters have also posted articles based on sponsored products and/or services, but all opinions are our own, truthful and unbiased.

17 comments

14 Things to Do on Bruny Island for Families | Family Globetrotters April 17, 2019 - 10:29 am

[…] more about things you need to know before going on the Bruny Island Cruise. This will ensure you’re well prepared for this day […]

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Sinjana March 30, 2019 - 12:28 am

Never been to. Australia but I’ll surely keep bruny cruise on my itinerary after reading this. To be able to watch the dolphins up close is enough of an incentive. Loved the minute details and tips you shared.

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Family Globetrotters March 31, 2019 - 8:13 am

Thanks so much! Just want to make sure that everyone who goes gets the best experience.

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Medha March 29, 2019 - 10:18 pm

I was in Australia recently and my biggest regret was that I couldn’t make it to Tasmania. And now I’ve chanced upon your post which makes me feel even worse because I see what an amazing place I missed out on. I would’ve loved to take a Bruny Island Cruise, those thousands of dolphins and sea lions look amazing. Thanks for all the tips on how to make the most of the cruise, especially about the part of the boat that’s less choppy for people who’re seasick. My sister in law has motion sickness and sometimes when we travel together, she hates little boats and ferries because they make her sick!

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Family Globetrotters March 31, 2019 - 8:13 am

Oh Medha I didn’t want you to feel bad! LOL! It is impossible to see all of Australia in one trip. I live here and I haven’t seen it all and it has taken me years. But Tasmania is a wonderful destination and not over run by tourism yet. If you ever come back, make sure you go!

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blair villanueva March 29, 2019 - 4:22 pm

Though I am not a huge fan of group tours, I could make an exemption for taking this cruise. It is more fun to experience the heavy tides, while watching the waves, the flying birds, and those dolphins are a huge plus.
I will definitely adding this activity as I am preparing my Australia trip soon.

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Family Globetrotters March 31, 2019 - 8:11 am

How exciting that you’re preparing for a trp down under! What’s your itinerary?

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Bhushavali N March 29, 2019 - 11:13 am

First of all I’m yet to visit Australia, so I’m pretty sure now that when I do make my plan I wouldn’t miss Bruny!
This whole thing with moving slow and parking car and roaming about ferry reminds me much of crossing English Channel.
The actual cruise is indeed so much fun. I would definitely take the front row inspite of getting wet or windy!

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Family Globetrotters March 29, 2019 - 3:19 pm

I have never crossed the English Channel. Its the same? You’d think with today’s technology there would be a better way! Hope you make it to Australia soon!

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Anda March 29, 2019 - 9:48 am

Australia is very high up on my list, so I’m glad I found out about Bruni Island too. It looks like a wonderful day trip. Good to know we need to bring gloves and beanies as well, even if it’s in the middle of the summer. I would have brought a light jacket anyway, but it seems it get’s colder on the Tasman Sea when you sail. Those seals resting on the rocks are absolutely adorable. We have them in northern California too.

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Family Globetrotters March 29, 2019 - 3:18 pm

I would love to see them in Cali! They sure were cute, lounging on the rocks in the middle of nowhere!

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Jane Dempster-Smith March 29, 2019 - 8:29 am

What a fun adventure. How exciting to see so many seals in their own habitat. A pod of dolphins with around 100 of them that would have been a highlight of my day. Thanks for the tips about taking the right clothes.

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Family Globetrotters March 29, 2019 - 3:17 pm

Seeing the dolphins was a major highlight. They are so beautiful and oh…. I can still see them so clearly!

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Maggie March 29, 2019 - 1:24 am

What a fun family adventure! My daughter would have loved this. I’m personally not a fan of anything water related because of seasickness but I think I could even handle this.

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Family Globetrotters March 29, 2019 - 3:17 pm

Oh too bad you suffer from seasickness. Would have been a great activity to do with your daughter.

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ca March 29, 2019 - 12:34 am

I don’t like to wait to eat so I’ll make sure to pre-order. I’ll also make sure I’m standing on the correct side to get optimal seating. The dolpins are one of my favorite water creatures, so I’ll be excited to see them.

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Family Globetrotters March 29, 2019 - 3:16 pm

Wish we managed to see whales too but I guess I shouldn’t be greedy!

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