Feature image

Visiting Tasmania stories

Pennicott to go amphibian

Edition 189_Pennicott

Robert Pennicott will use “boats like the world has never seen” in his first eco-tourism project outside Tasmania.

Three amphibious, rigid inflatable boats with retractable wheels at the bow and stern are being built in Western Australia for his venture into Victoria’s Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park.

The vessels will cost Pennicott Wilderness Tours $850,000 each.

“I’ve got the lead on the world on these boats,” Mr Pennicott told The Mercury. “There will be a lot of interest from the boating fraternity, but they are under wraps until sea trials in January.”

The Brand Tasmania Council member has built up an impressive, multimillion-dollar business running high-speed journeys out of Bruny Island, the Tasman Peninsula and Hobart.

The tours have opened up southern Tasmania’s spectacular coastal scenery to hundreds of thousands of tourists, with more than one Asian subscriber to Mr Pennicott’s Seafood Seduction tours describing the experience as “life-changing”.

“I like to think of our new venture off Wilsons Promontory as a Tasmanian export,” Mr Pennicott said.

“I’m a Tassie boy, and it has taken 10 years in the making to get to this point. I’m very excited about it. I’m over the moon to be given this opportunity.”

The Victorian Government has approved the venture which will employ 30 people and inject $10 million a year into the local economy when it begins operations in October 2018.

The design for the new amphibious craft was selected because it will minimise environmental impacts.

The boat’s footprints will mainly consist of wheel tracks on beaches, which will only last until the next high tide.

The vessels will be 11.5m long, weigh 10 tonnes fully laden and be powered by twin 350hp Yamaha outboard engines.

They will cruise at around 25 knots and — except for their wheels — are similar to existing Pennicott Wilderness Journeys craft, but more open, with only a small canopy at the stern.

Each boat will carry two crew and up to 20 passengers.

Costs will be similar to Tasmanian tours, where adults pay $135 and children $75.

The boats will run three-hour tours from a beach at Tidal River into Norman Bay, out to the Anser Group of islands, Kanowna Island, circumnavigate Skull Rock and head back via the Glennie Group and Norman Island.

In between outings, the expensive vessels will be stored in sheds leased from Parks Victoria.

Mr Pennicott said the sea trips would showcase the marine park’s array of seals, dolphins, and whales, as well as many species of seabirds.

In year one, he expects about 15,000 customers, rising to about 30,000 over five years.

At present, the park attracts around 450,000 visitors a year.

“Wilsons Prom is a really beautiful part of the world, and we will make sure we look after it,” Mr Pennicott said.

The Victoria-Tasmania border runs within 6km of the southern tip of Wilsons Promontory, across a line at 39 degrees 12 minutes near Redondo Island.

“It will make a nice addition to any voyage to say we’re off on a quarter-of-an-hour trip to Tassie because the weather is calm,” Mr Pennicott said.

Footnote: Robert Pennicott urged tighter controls on the State’s salmon industry in an October interview with The Sunday Tasmanian. “What has happened in the last 20 years in salmon farming needs a fresh look from governments, the Environment Protection Authority and the salmon farms themselves,” he said. “There have to be strict penalties imposed that are high enough that would make a salmon farm not consider doing the wrong thing. Potentially, offshore salmon farms are the most logical way if there was expansion in Tasmania. If expansion was done incorrectly, it could heavily impact tourism in the State … We also have our brand as being very clean, very sustainable, environmentally friendly.”

Image courtesy of The Mercury

5 November 2017, Edition 189

Back to index

Like to know more?

Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition.

Join us

Become an eFriend

Join our mailing list

Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition.

Brand Partnership

Are you a Tasmanian business or operator? Join us in raising the profile, quality and value of Tasmania’s products.

Apply online

Facts about Tasmania

Tasmania

Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.

Tasmania

Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.

Geography

Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.

Geography

The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.

Geography

About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.

Climate

Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.

Climate

In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.

Population

The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.

Flora

Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.

Flora

Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.

Fauna

Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.

Fauna

The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.

Fauna

The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.

Economy

A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.

Economy

Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.

Economy

The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.

Economy

Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.

Economy

Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.

Economy

The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.

Economy

Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.

Economy

The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

Brand Tasmania

Become an eFriend

Close

Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition.

I’ve already subscribed