Regional ports investing in infrastructure to accommodate the growing cruise industry


A number of cities in Australia are building up their ship access to take advantage of the lucrative cruise ship industry which is seeing increasing numbers of ships visiting the country.

Regional cruise ports Cairns
, Geelong, Hobart and Newcastle are all adding to their facilities and activities in order to entice cruise ships and their valued passengers into their ports.  According to the organisation Cruise Down Under, which represents regional ports and tourism bodies, there is a great deal of interest from smaller cities to better accommodate the cruise industry.

For example, in Geelong, Victoria, $5 million has been earmarked to enhance and redevelop the Yarra Street Pier. This development will add to the safety and simplicity of the arrival and docking of cruise ships. It will mean that the current swing mooring system used presently to get passengers to the shore will be replaced by a system allowing for better berthing for larger vessels and will allow dredging an approach channel to enter the new pier.

Furthermore, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club has confirmed that it has committed $2.5 million to help finance the project. And the council is trying to secure additional funding from the State and Federal Government. It is anticipated that these investments will pay off a great deal, and it is hoped that the number of cruise ships that will visit the local area will increase by twenty-five vessels each year until 2025.

A similar project has been launched in Cairns, which is also looking to expand the number of cruise ships it will be able to cater for. In this project, the end result will hopefully see very large cruise ships up to Voyager Class able to visit Cairns by 2016. The current channel at Cairns, which presently stretches 90m, will be expanded to 140m and the depth will be lowered an additional 1.1m from 8.3m to 9.4m.

A similar increasing of the depth of a cruise berth has been recently carried out in NSW, by the Newcastle Port Corporation.  This dredging programme has expanded the cruise berth to a depth of 9.7m and will mean that larger ships can travel through. In addition, in an effort to attract additional cruise ship passengers, Newcastle Museum has decided to put on an Art Bazaar which will provide fantastic entertainment for visitors to the area.

Finally, Darwin, in the Northern Territory, has increased its ship capacity, with an investment of $21 million in infrastructure. This is targeted at the Stoke Hill Wharf, and the additional development will mean that it will be able to accept ships of up to 300m long and 30,000GT.

The Darwin Cruise Ship Terminal at Stokes Hill Wharf was opened in 2008 and the new investments will add to already existing facilities for cruise ship passengers. The Stokes Hill Wharf already provides a number of features for holidaymakers, including shuttle bus with pick-ups and drop-offs, a coach rank and a range of restaurants and cafes.

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