A high-speed circumnavigation of Tasmania’s Bruny Island is a thrilling way to take on board the area’s awesome beauty.

Story & photos by Tim Dub

“Bellissimo” is how eight year-old Italian tourist Mirko Montanari describes his experience of a six-hour tour around Tasmania’s Bruny Island on the powerboat Wild Thing. Back on the reassuring concrete of the quay at Watermans Dock in central Hobart, he is happy to try one of the oysters provided at the end of the tour. But his father Massimo Montanari declines the offer in hesitant English, explaining that, for him, it is better to “allow things to settle” before indulging too freely in seafood.
If the fishing trawlers moored in the working harbour nearby are the ‘utes of the sea’, then the 11.3-metre Wild Thing is unmistakably in XR6 or SS territory. With its sleek curves, a colour scheme of sizzling red and two 300-horsepower engines bristling at the stern, there is no doubt this is a vessel intended for speed. This state-of-the-art eco-cruiser was built in Brisbane to a New Zealand Naiad design and is known as a ‘rigid inflatable’ – a reference to the prominent rubber stabilising pontoon that surrounds the alloy hull. Another unusual feature of the hull is its innovative ‘stepped’ shape that creates a cushion of air bubbles to decrease friction, which improves both fuel economy and ride comfort. Neat rows of seats positioned in front of the wheelhouse are a reminder that Wild Thing can carry up to 26 passengers and two crew while circumnavigating the 100 nautical miles around Bruny Island, or the much shorter one-hour ‘blasts’ either around the Derwent River or to Betsey Island in Storm Bay.

This story excerpt is from Issue #47

Outback Magazine: June/July 2006