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New Ferry route between Whanganui and Motueka proposed

Home Forums General Discussion News New Ferry route between Whanganui and Motueka proposed

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    • Town/City: Tauranga
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV, BMW R100GS
    • Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter

    This would make getting to the South Island easier for many riders.

    A proposed Motueka-Whanganui ferry could cut up to four hours from a typical journey from Auckland to Christchurch compared to the current Picton to Wellington route.

    A new inter-island ferry service between Motueka and Whanganui that would shave four hours off the journey between Auckland and Christchurch is under investigation.

    Whanganui businessman Neville Johnson, who set up Midwest Ferries in October 2010, has been investigating options for a roll on, roll off service for the last six years.

    Motueka, near Nelson, has been identified as a likely South Island location for the inter-island service that would cater for trucks and freight while also targeting campervan, car and passengers.

    If the service does eventuate, the new ferry would travel between terminals based at Castlecliff and Port Motueka.

    Port Motueka’s main wharf is owned and operated by Talley’s Group.

    Company director Andrew Talley confirmed that Johnson had been in consultation with them as owner of the Motueka wharf, and a potential customer, of a ferry service to the North Island.

    However, he emphasised discussions had not involved Talley’s being an investor or partner in the project.

    “Johnson’s obviously in the early stages of scoping the project so there’s further detail to come, but an alternative North Island transport link from the Nelson/Tasman region would be significant for the area,” he said.

    Johnson did not wish to comment further until next week, while plans were being established.

    Talleys Motueka base is situated close to the proposed ferry terminal.

    However, in the Wanganui Chronicle recently he said that recent discussions with major industries shifting freight between both islands had confirmed a service was achievable.

    Johnson told the Chronicle a start-up fund of $50 million would be required to enable the project. This would cover the dredging, land reclamation, vessel leasing, infrastructure, costs of employing 20 shore staff and administration costs. Johnson said 28,000 fare-paying clients a year were necessary to make the service viable, an average of 76 a day.

    Transport firms have also thrown their support behind Johnson’s proposal.

    The entrance to Port Motueka, which may become part of a new ferry link between Motueka and Whanganui.
    The entrance to Port Motueka, which may become part of a new ferry link between Motueka and Whanganui.

    Motueka-based Westhaul Transport Services managing director Karl Westrupp said the inter-island route was a “fairly substantial part” of his business operations and the reduction in travel time would open up significant avenues for transport operators and local industries.

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    “We’ve had a few meetings with Neville and we’re 100 per cent all for it, not just from our business point of view but from a Tasman district point of view,” he said.

    “It’s a six hour ferry ride from Motueka to Whanganui and then six hours by truck from Whanganui to Auckland, well that’s 12 hours [overall] which is unheard of.”

    As well as the commercial benefits, Westrupp said the link would offer a loop for visitors to connect directly with Tasman and the West Coast, which could have a huge positive impact on tourism.

    “From who I’ve talked to when I’ve travelled overseas, a lot of them say they’ve been to New Zealand but not many of them have come to Tasman – they’d just done a road trip from Auckland to Queenstown and gone down the East Coast.”

    Motueka is close to the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks, and popular visitor spots Kaiteriteri Beach and Golden Bay.

    Newly-elected Tasman district councillor David Ogilvie said he was first made aware of the ferry proposal when Johnson spoke at a Motueka Community Board meeting several months ago.

    Based on what had been presented so far, Ogilvie saw the idea as a positive addition to the town and Tasman region.

    “All the information I’ve received is that it looks a goer, financially as well as actually,” he said.

    The approach to Port Motueka involves a sandbar that is subject to frequent change and therefore some work would be needed to allow larger vessels to enter.

    Johnson has previously indicated that Midwest ferries would provide the necessary infrastructure at both ends, including any dredging and land reclamation required.

    Ogilvie believed that while this aspect demanded careful environmental consideration, initial discussions indicated Johnson given appropriate consideration to such matters.

    “It is one of the issues he would have to deal with, because if you go back to the mid-1990s the Motueka port always had that issue of the bar silting up from the Motueka River.”

    “When those issues were raised he didn’t think it was a major – it was all very positive and the community board accepted it as a possibility.”

    The ferry link would bring an increase of passenger and heavy transport vehicles to the region. The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) was confident it could deal with the extra demands on SH6 and SH60 if the ferry went ahead.

    “The NZTA has a well-defined and robust process for investment and any potential increase in traffic volumes would be considered as part of this process,” a spokesperson said.

    Martin Ewing

    Motueka? You’re shitting me, is it gonna be a dingy?

    • Bike: 2010 R1200GSA, 2018 1090R
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    You have to wonder how trucks will go north from Whanganui. Likely they’d have to detour through 3, past New Plymouth, or south to Marton and then north. Either way, SH4 wouldn’t be that suitable.

    Obviously I’d imagine traffic for wlg (ish) to chch (ish) would still use the main line, but Nelson could benefit big time for increased and faster access to the upper north island?

    Steve Archibald

    They can create as many ferry routes as they like, if they don’t make it affordable to use it means didly squat NZ has some of the highest ferry rates in the world, it adds almost $400 to the trip cost

    Gerald Stuttard

    That is a seriously tidal flat area.

    Marc Goode

    it would take a day to cross and 300 days out of the year it would be to rough to sail . not gonna happen!

    Edward Brodie

    6 hours they reckon

    Natalie Subritzky

    Well I think it’s a sweet idea I wonder if it would be profitable enough to stay in business

    Adrian Godfrey

    Great idea, so long it is not some rough riding thing out there in the wide west, both ends are relativity shallow ports

    Garry Williams

    And we need to get across faster because?

    Gerry Tonkin

    Biggest tides in NZ . 5 metre tides . None of those pathetic Wgtn and Picton – 1 metre tides

    Stephen Clark

    Aimed at the transport & tourism industries…

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