Australia’s Kangaroo Island Opens Pontoon Landing Facility
International cruise ships can now visit one of Australia’s most cherished wildlife areas thanks to a new pontoon cruise landing on Kangaroo Island at Penneshaw. South Australian tourism officials are hoping to plug into what has become a surge in cruising in Australia. The landing structure, which was funded by the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC), allows international cruise ships to anchor off Penneshaw and tender their passengers to shore.
There are already nine cruise ship visits to Kangaroo Island confirmed between 2012 and 2014, with further bookings expected for the 2013-14 season. A 2011 Access Economics report found that every one-day cruise ship visit to Kangaroo Island delivered $100,000 in passenger expenditure to the local economy.
The landing facility is attached to the same jetty that a local Sealink ferry uses. The new terminal features shops, food and other services for passengers. The facility allows cruise ships anchored in deep water to connect with a 10-minute tender vessel trip for passengers. Two tender vessels will be in operation when larger ships call.
Kangaroo Island adds a special component to cruise itineraries. Sometimes called “the Galapagos of Australia,” the island is home to Australia’s famous wildlife, including kangaroos, koalas, seals, sea lions, echidnas and other species. On Seal Bay, it’s possible to walk among a colony of sea lions. Visitors to Kangaroo Island either make the 20-minute flight out of Adelaide or ride a two-hour Sealink ferry.
Tourism Australia is reporting a growth in cruising of some 30 percent in 2011. At the Australian Tourism Exchange in June, Andrew McEvoy, TA’s managing director, said, “The cruise companies are looking our way. They’re building plenty of new ships and they need new destinations. Many Australian ports are ideal because they’re often that overnight sail in distance from one another that is ideal. It also works well in combination with New Zealand. There’s still much to be done in terms of infrastructure.”