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Port Arthur's cruise ship tender jetty now operational


A new jetty facility specifically designed for cruise ship tender vessels is expected to increase the already growing number of cruise ships calling directly at the Port Arthur Historic Site as part of their Tasmanian cruise itineraries.

The World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site, located 90 minutes’ drive southeast of Hobart on the Tasman Peninsula, is the best-preserved convict settlement in Australia. It is the place that Australians and international visitors come to connect with our history and the origins of contemporary Australian culture. The Site combines scenic beauty with memorable experiences and storytelling to convey the harsh discipline and determined industry of the settlement.

While most visitors today come via road, during convict times all people and goods were transported by sea. In recent years it has become an increasingly popular destination for cruise ships, due to its proximity to Hobart and its safe, deep water anchorage.

Cruise ships moor in the harbour and tender their passengers ashore, where they explore the Historic Site and embark on shore excursions to other local scenic spots and attractions. A limiting factor to date has been Port Arthur’s jetty, which had only one berth, and it was shared with the ferry operating the Historic Site’s harbour cruise. This bottleneck was cited as a reason for some vessels not to include a port call at Port Arthur in their itineraries.

The solution has been the installation of an extension to the side of the jetty that allows simultaneous docking for two tenders, completely independent of the ferry. The installation has been supported by the Commonwealth Government through a Tourism Regional Infrastructure Fund (TIRF) grant, with matching funding from the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority. The jetty is now complete and was given its first operational test when Pacific Pearl visited on Sunday 27 April 2014.

Port Arthur Historic Site Director of Tourism Operations, Anne McVilly, said that the new jetty worked brilliantly.

“Tenders tied up and were disembarking passengers within about 90 seconds, which is around about 1/5 of the time previously taken on the shared jetty.”

Cruise vessels generally visit for a day on their way either to or from Hobart, allowing more passengers to visit Port Arthur and the chance to visit other areas and attractions during their time in Hobart (a day tour to Port Arthur being one of the most popular shore excursions for passengers of vessels that are not stopping at the Historic Site en-route).

“We expect that even more cruise ships will now visit the Historic Site, effectively adding a day to their Tasmanian itineraries,” said Ms McVilly.

Further information on the jetty and for cruise vessels visiting the Historic Site is available at

Port Arthur

Cruise ships moor off the Isle of the Dead, a short tender vessel ride from the Historic Site's jetty, which offers two berths which can be used simultaneously

Port Arthur

The new jetty enables tenders to berth and be disembarking passengers within around 90 seconds of arrival

Port Arthur

The pontoon jetty also enables passengers to land and embark in comfort and safety

Port Arthur

The berth provides immediate access to the World Heritage listed Port Arthur Historic Site