Forget Garden Island or Botany Bay, the north coast of NSW could be prepping for its own new cruise terminal.
According to the ABC, the NSW Government is looking into the possibility of a cruise ship terminal being built at Coffs Harbour of Yamba.
It comes in the wake of news that a terminal at Garden Island could be “doable” by 2022, while another advocate suggested double-stacking at the Overseas Passenger Terminal as the answer, despite major cruise lines rejecting the idea.
Per ABC, the Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance revealed news of a “feasibility study” that will investigate the potential for a terminal, adding the Government’s future transport blueprint did in fact have plans to expand the NSW cruise industry.
“There’s no doubt the experience in my electorate of Eden on the far south coast has been incredible for those local communities,” Constance said in Coffs Harbour, per ABC.
“Here on the mid north coast there is a wonderful tourist offering to entice people to enjoy the benefits of cruise ships. We will now look at the infrastructure opportunities and do the necessary assessment in relation to what would be required.
This is obviously going to be a major investment moving forward, but we want to do our homework first.”
The Australian cruise industry is one heck of a money-maker, worth over $5 billion, with cruise ship visit days jumping 19 per cent to 1401 over the 2016/17 season.
And as far as stopovers go in financial terms, a recent surprise visit from Carnival Spirit in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast pumped an estimated $250,000 injection into the economy. That’s a lotta cash for a day-trip.
“There is no doubt there is a need for cruise ships to come to the mid north coast,” Constance said, per the ABC.
“We want to capitalise on that growth for regional people and that’s why we’re here today.
“I think the demand that passengers have to come into ports, be it Coffs, Eden, Yamba, even Newcastle, shows there’s a real opportunity here and we should explore it.”
According to the ABC reports, the harbour in Coffs Harbour is prone to siltation, meaning it’s unlikely cruise ships would enter and moor at the heritage-listed timber jetty.
Meanwhile, the Government has invested in a commercial wharf extension in Eden, giving 300-metre vessels a place to park when they visit. Currently, though, passengers are ferried to shore when stopping off here.
Per the ABC, Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser said that if Coffs scored a nod to build the newest cruise terminal, passengers would initially need to be tendered to shore. A cruise terminal could be as far as 10 years away in the realistic scheme of things, but boy would it spruce things up for the local economy.
“Coffs Harbour has all the obvious attributes. It has a great harbour, a safe harbour, and an airport with the capacity to take 767 jets,” Fraser told the ABC.
“It also has customs and immigration. We can fly visitors in and out of here, so they could cruise in and fly out. You could triangulate cruises between Cairns, Brisbane and Coffs, or Sydney, Coffs and Brisbane.
“It just ticks every box in my book.”