Kempsey Shire Council has been working with the Port Authority of NSW and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to develop South West Rocks as a key cruise ship location along the Mid North Coast of NSW.
In October 2018, Council, the Port Authority and RMS, welcomed the luxury cruise ship MS Caledonian Sky for the first time to Trial Bay as part of its three-week voyage of Australia’s East Coast.
During the seven-hour stopover, passengers had the opportunity to participate in organised activities, taking in the area’s iconic heritage with guided tours to Trial Bay Gaol and Smoky Cape Lighthouse. There was also enough time to explore the beaches and town centre.
The visit was a success and with cruise tourism continuing to be the fastest growing tourism sector in Australia, local businesses are supportive of Council’s efforts in diversifying the Macleay’s visitor profile into the luxury cruise market.
The market has been identified as a key opportunity to grow the local economy in Council’s Economic Development and Tourism Strategy.
A key consideration for Council before pursuing this, however, was the effect it would have on the natural environment and the community.
Cruise tourism has aligned with these principals as it offers no impact on the pristine waterways of South West Rocks and is well within the carrying capacity of the destination with approximately 100 guests being on land at any point in time.
The smaller style expedition cruise ships (90.6m) can anchor perfectly in the protected waters of Trial Bay, with guests transported by zodiacs to shore.
With the success of last year’s visit, Council and South West Rocks businesses are preparing to welcome the cruise ship back to Trial Bay on 29 October 2019 with visitors largely coming from the UK and Europe.