Thursday, April 25, 2024

New ferry service for Lake Macquarie

A new fast ferry service is set to shave almost 30 minutes off travel times between key points on either side of Lake Macquarie, setting up lakeside locations for a boom in day-trippers and hop-on, hop-off tourism, Lake Macquarie City Council said in a statement today.

The 120-passenger vessel will ferry passengers to and from Lake Mac Carols at Speers Point Park on Saturday 12 December as a soft launch, ahead of its normal timetable getting underway on 1 January.

The ferry will operate on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, zig-zagging from existing jetties at Speers Point, Booragul, Toronto, Belmont and Wangi Wangi.

Currently, it takes more than 40 minutes to drive from Belmont to Wangi Wangi. The ferry is expected to transport passengers between the two stops in just 12-15 minutes.

Lake Macquarie Mayor, Kay Fraser said the community had long called for a return to ferry services on the lake.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that a regular ferry is something people would like to see on Lake Macquarie,” Mayor Fraser said.

“Connecting these beautiful lakeside spots by boat opens up the opportunity to explore our city without the need of a car, and will provide a new perspective for people who only ever travel around the lake’s shore.”

The service is the brainchild of Peter Hanrahan, Managing Director of Lake Macquarie Cruises and Nova Cruises, and has the support of Lake Macquarie City Council.

One-way tickets between any two stops are $13 for adults, return tickets are $26 and an all-day hop-on, hop-off pass is $30.

Mr Hanrahan said the vessel had been selected specifically for its new role after serving as a ferry in Queensland between Brisbane and Moreton Bay.

“We started cruises on the lake in 2018 and from that we’ve just noticed the growing demand,” he said.

“Attending tourism meetings, there is constant talk of a lack of connectivity, and with so much to do all around the lake we thought there was the opportunity for a quick link between all the sites.”

“And then with COVID, we’ve had this real boom in domestic travellers, particularly from Sydney, so I think it’s a great time to launch to capitalise on that influx that we’re all expecting.”

The five stops were selected for the variety and diversity of attractions, cafes and outdoor activities within walking distance of each.

Mr Hanrahan said Warners Bay was considered, but the bay was too shallow to allow access for a public ferry.

The ferry will initially run as a six-month trial, with plans to continue and possibly expand the service if demand meets expectations.

Go to lakemacferry.com.au for more information and the ferry timetable.

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