Eco Tourism Pioneer Robert Pennicott is excited to announce the launch of Wilsons Promontory Cruises from Tidal River in Victoria. These world class wilderness cruises will allow visitors to explore the spectacular waterways, history, culture, flora and fauna of the Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park.
This will be the seventh product from Pennicott Wilderness Journeys and the first outside of Tasmania. It will build on the company’s 17 years of ecotourism expertise which has been recognised with multiple accolades including 12 Australian Tourism Awards and 25 Tasmanian Tourism Awards. In 2014 Pennicott Wilderness Journeys was twice inducted into the Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame, for Ecotourism and Excellence in Sustainable Tourism.
“We’re honoured to have the opportunity to operate cruises that will showcase Wilsons Promontory, hopefully commencing in December 2017. In the months ahead we look forward to consultation with local stakeholders and community groups as we develop our proposal and work towards obtaining a licence to operate from Parks Victoria.” Robert says.
Wilsons Promontory is one of the world’s most stunning natural treasures. The Park is well known from land but few have experienced the same beauty from the sea. This eco cruise will make the waterways accessible for Victorians, as well as interstate and overseas visitors. By having an opportunity to experience this precious environment first hand, visitors and locals alike will be inspired to help preserve its beauty.
In the first year, the operation will employ a team of 16 Victorians from the local region. This will grow to over 30 staff after five years. The $3.5 million venture is expected to generate $9.7 million in economic benefit for the local community per year and will directly contribute to the ongoing conservation of Wilsons Promontory.
"We understand how important it is to work with the community and together help protect it for future generations. Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and we will work hard to ensure this venture operates with environmental best practice,” Robert says.
The cruise will travel beneath sheer cliffs plunging deep into the sea and explore caves, coves, beaches, granite boulders and dramatic coastal dunes. Nearby islands provide fascinating geology like Skull Rock which is uniquely shaped and unlike anything else in the world.
The picturesque National Park coastline is home to a variety of wildlife including migrating whales, Leatherback turtles, dolphins, sharks and abundant seabirds in their thousands. At Kanowna Island the boat will drift past large colonies home to thousands of Australian Fur Seals.
“I truly believe it’s going to quickly become one of the world’s most iconic wilderness cruises” said Robert.
Three ground breaking 32-seat vessels will be custom-built for the operation. The design of the vessels will enable guests to immerse themselves in this raw environment, engaging every one of their senses. Their specialist amphibious technology removes the need for any new infrastructure to be built on land. Instead, they can drive themselves directly onto the beach and out into the water, delivering a truly sustainable, minimal impact operation.
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys is 100% Carbon Offset and an Advanced Ecotourism Certified operator. Being assessed annually by EarthCheck, it exceeds world's best practice standards for efficient fuel, energy and water use.
In the coming months Pennicott Wilderness Journeys will be engaging in consultation with stakeholder groups across the community as they go through the approval process with Parks Victoria.
Today, Robert Pennicott was excited to join Victoria’s Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren to launch the project at Tidal River, which has been made possible by a $650,000 grant from the Australian Government’s Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure program.
“I love the coastlines that we showcase in Tasmania. This will be our first step interstate and I’m really looking forward to sharing more about this project as it develops.”