Starting his first business at the age of 12, Robert is the former fisherman of Tasmania’s southern waters that founded Pennicott Wilderness Journeys in 1999 with the launch of Bruny Island Cruises. As someone that comes face to face with Australia’s most spectacular natural highlights daily, we were eager to ask him a few questions…
What inspired you to begin Pennicott Wilderness Journeys?
I used to take a lot of friends fishing with me. They loved the drama of this place. It blew them away. That’s what really gave me the idea for the business. It was a natural progression from fishing to showing off this beautiful coast – I went from catching fish to catching people.
What’s been your most amazing ‘wilderness moment’ in Australia?
When my daughter Mia was 2 weeks old and on a tour I showed her to two wild dolphins. They came right up to the boat within 8 inches and stared at her. A couple of weeks later the same dolphins physically nosed their baby to the side of the boat as if to introduce me as I had done previously with my baby. I cried.
Do you hope your children will take on the business one day?
I would love my daughter or son to take over the business one day but more importantly I hope that they are able to follow their passions.
Where do you go for a break when you aren’t taking tours?
Unbelievably I take my family and friends on a boat to a secluded bay and gather abalone, crayfish and fish. This is where the inspiration for the Tasmanian Seafood Seduction Journey came from.
What is your favourite coastal region of Australia?
The South East Corner of Tasmania, however, South of Whitsundays, The Kimberly and Wilsons Promontory would be a close second.
Considering you circumnavigated Australia in a raft for charity and passed many beautiful spots, where would you want to go back and explore?
Norwegian Bay on the Western Australia Cost on the Southern Edge of Ningaloo. I hope to take my family here again one day for a week camping holiday.
What is the Pennicott foundation working on this year?
In 2015 the Pennicott foundation donated to over 236 Organisations or projects of our own. This year we will be embarking in another big project to eradicate rats on an Island between Tasmania and Victoria. We will work closely with the Indigenous community, farmers and Parks and Wildlife to achieve this goal. We will be supporting over 200 Australian Schools in a project promoting healthy eating and non-competitive exercise with the aim to reduce type two diabetes. Along with numerous other local projects.
Describe the perfect feast on-board one of your tour boats?
Abalone – bashed, pan fired with garlic, chili and butter and sliced thinly
Oysters – freshly shucked and served natural
Sashimi Crayfish served with soy sauce and wasabi
Hot and cold smoked Salmon
Fresh sea urchin
Cold platter of Bruny Island Cheese, dips, bread and olives to graze on!
Where is your favourite beach in Tasmania? In Australia?
Ocean Beach – Strahan (TAS)
Whitehaven Beach – Whitsundays (Aus) but it’s a little bit crowded
What is Tasmania’s best kept secret, natural and man-made?
Natural – swimming into sea caves that dot the Southern Coast of Tasmania – so far I’ve never met anyone else.
Man Made – Masaaki sushi, Geeveston
What is your favourite time of day to take the boats out? When can you see the best wildlife?
Early Morning, Easterly light – the cliffs glow!
We see great wildlife all year round and at any time of day. Every day out on the water is a new adventure.