Port Arthur’s new cruise ship tender jetty has been officially opened, forming a small but significant part of Tasmania’s tourism access infrastructure. While most visitors to Port Arthur 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 jetty is now complete and was officially opened today by Federal Liberal MP for Lyons, Eric Hutchinson. 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 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 have had new bookings from cruise lines that have never previously visited Port Arthur Historic Site, effectively adding a day to their Tasmanian itineraries,” said Ms McVilly.
“This is a significant and strategic piece of tourism infrastructure for Tasmania that will deliver benefits across the region. We are delighted to have been able to access the Tourism Infrastructure Regional Fund to help install it.”
Further information on the jetty and for cruise vessels visiting the Historic Site is available at www.portarthur.org.au