Winter Wildlife Scenic Cruise
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Winter Wildlife Scenic Cruise
Explore the exceptional southern end of the bay on our extended 1.5hr sightseeing cruise for just six guests.
The bay is home to a variety of wildlife including seals, dolphins, occasional migrating Humpback whales and Orca in winter and abundant seabirds well known to exceed 70 different species.
Guests view the colourful sandy cliffs and pristine beaches of the Mornington Peninsula as well as Australian Fur Seals at their purpose built haul-out platform. The coastline is part of the Point Nepean National Park and Port Phillip Bay. The journey will take us deep into Point Nepean bay and the area known as The Rip (Port Phillip Heads), the entrance to Port Phillip Bay.
Every trip will offer something entirely new. Whale and dolphin sightings are not guaranteed during the adventure, however every opportunity will be given to exploring the bay and enjoying the exciting spectacle of their appearance.
- On-water boat tour, suitable for families and adventurers
- Limited to just six guests, you’ll enjoy an uninterrupted cruise on the bay
- The tour departs from Sorrento, VIC
- Private tours available
- Our professional guides are passionate locals about our history and wildlife on the Mornington Peninsula
- More detailed information below
1.5 Hours depending on season and logistics
Ages 8 and up. Some restrictions may apply at times
Expect to see
Whales, Seals, Gannets, migratory birds and diverse wildlife (cetacean sightings cannot be guaranteed)
11:30am June to August
*Minimum guest numbers apply for the tour to run.
Children (8-14) must be accompanied by an adult
Style of Tour
Scenic Cruise: Above water tour, wear appropriate warm winter clothing
Make your way to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula to meet your local guide and your rigid inflatable boat (RIB). Sorrento is around a 1.5hr drive from Melbourne.
Meeting at the Sorrento Pier at least 15 minutes before departure (allow more time in busy periods, as much as 30 minutes or more), you’ll be greeted by your Guide and introduced to fellow guests.
Hop on board and listen to a short briefing on what to expect during the scenic ecotour; it may be a lively ride.
Departing Sorrento, we’ll quickly gather pace and zoom our way by Millionaire’s Walk and Point King towards the Chinaman’s Hat, a man-made seal haul-out platform. Passing the wreck of the SS Wauchope (1877-1900), a steamship that sailed between Melbourne, King Island and Launceston, you’ll see the remains of the boiler protruding from the water. Passing by Point King, where Lieutenant Murray declared in March 1802 the ceremony of possession of this fine area by the European Settlers.
Be prepared for a lively ride as you begin to venture into the bay. Port Phillip Bay is certainly underestimated for it’s rich natural wonders and marine life. On the return journey towards port, when you pass by Chinaman’s Hat it’s a grand opportunity to get close to the Australian Fur Seals, where you can watch them play and bark on their haul-out platform. Some may even pop their heads out of the water near your boat.
During the voyage we may see the resident Bottlenose Dolphins and if they’re not fishing they may even come to play. During the winter months we’ll explore the broader waters for whale sightings including Humpback, Southern Right and Killer whales (Orca).
Make sure you dress warmly – warm jackets, scarves, beanies and gloves are recommended in Autumn, Winter and Spring. And remember your camera!
• Excursions are available almost all year round
• Excursions are 90 minutes in duration
• It is recommended that you book at least one week in advance of your preferred date
• Please arrive up to 20 minutes prior to your scheduled departure.
• Tours are weather dependent. In the event of rain or inclement weather your experience may be cancelled and you will be contacted by the experience provider
• If your experience is cancelled you will be rescheduled by the provider
• Please dress appropriately, the tour operates in open water
• The vessel motion may cause discomfort to those who are affected by motion sickness
• Warm layers are recommended as the temperature can vary throughout the day and drop in the evening
• As the vessel is open without shelter, you are recommended to wear clothing that may get wet, including shoes
• Sun Hat or Beanie
• Wind / Spray Jacket
• Safety equipment including life jackets will be supplied by the operator
What to Bring
• Only a very small bag, waterproof is better
• Re-useable water bottle
• Snacks, energy drinks
• Hand Towel
• Camera / Go Pro
• Seasickness remedies
Please note as the vessel is compact, it does not have toilet facilities so please prepare accordingly for the journey. We understand this may not be comfortable or suitable for all passengers. Several toilet facilities are available within 2-minutes walking distance of the departure and return location.
From Melbourne you’ll need to drive around 90 minutes south to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula (allow 2 hours in summer, sometimes longer). Once you’re in Sorrento, you should park near the ferry terminal. Make your way to the Sorrento Boat Ramp jetty (at the end of St Aubins Way, only 5 minutes walk from the main ferry pier).
From Queenscliff, catch the Sorrento-Queenscliff ferry towards Sorrento and once arrived, make your way to the Sorrento Boat Ramp jetty (at the end of St Aubins Way, only 5 minutes walk from the main ferry pier).
Walk from the main Sorrento ferry pier along the beach towards the Sorrento Boat Ramp Jetty, just a 5-minute walk.
Sorrento Jetty (and Boat Ramp) address:
St Aubins Way, Sorrento VIC 3941
*On Google Maps make your way to the pin-drop for WaterMaarq Charters
The excursion includes:
• 90-minute scenic wildlife tour aboard a rigid inflatable boat
• Personalised experience for maximum 6 guests
• Local professional guide and expert commentary
• Insights into the local historical and environmental significance
• Safety briefings
• Opportunity to see migrating seasonal wildlife including Shy Albatross, Humpback Whales and Common Dolphins
Sightseers can see Australian Gannets, Shearwaters, Seals and the rich interior within the Bay, including glimpses of Ramsar wetland site, Mud Island. Discover the bay from a local’s perspective.
• 2-hour snorkelling experience by boat
• Professional local guide
• Safety equipment and pre-tour briefings
• Parks Victoria use fees
- Accommodation Pick-up / Drop Offs
- In-water activities, this is a scenic tour only
- There are no toilet facilities aboard the vessel, please prepare accordingly
· If cancelled within 7 days of the scheduled starting date of the booking, a 50% cancellation fee will required by the company or individual
· If within 24 hours of the scheduled starting date of the booking, a 100% cancellation fee will be required by the company or individual. A cancellation fee will be based on the full cost of the booking at time of purchase
· Refunds are not available for bookings made via tour agents or third party tour booking providers.
Important Things You Should Know
• Children must be accompanied by an adult
• Children must be at least 8 years old to join the tour
• Please note that the minimum height overrules the age for safety reason
• Minimum height: 1.40 m
• Maximum weight: 110 kg
• It is highly recommended that you wear warm clothing and clothing that you don’t mind getting wet, including shoes
• Confirmation will be received at time of booking
• Subject to favorable weather conditions. If canceled due to poor weather, you will be given the option of an alternative date or full refund
• Minimum numbers apply. There is a possibility of cancellation after confirmation if there are not enough passengers to meet requirements. In the event of this occurring, you will be offered an alternative or full refund
• Not recommended for participants with heart complaints or other serious medical conditions
• Not recommended for participants with back problems
• Not recommended for pregnant women