Interest builds for returned Lucky Bay ferry

BACK: The Aurora V ferry is back in service between Lucky Bay and Wallaroo. Photo: supplied
BACK: The Aurora V ferry is back in service between Lucky Bay and Wallaroo. Photo: supplied

The return of the ferry service between the Yorke and Eyre peninsulas has been welcomed with increased interest being reported for the service.

Spencer Gulf Searoad has been operating the ferry service from Lucky Bay to Wallaroo since November 14, marking the first time a service between the two towns had been operating since 2017.

Company general manager Sue Cassidy said the first day saw the ferry carry 17 cars, 31 passengers, a truck and a field bin, which was good considering there was no advertising beforehand and official approval was only received the day before.

She said interest had continued to build now online booking was available with a surge going into the coming weeks and into the summer holidays.

"We're very excited to once again have the opportunity to be 'The Gateway to the Eyre Peninsula'," she said.

Regional Development Australia Eyre Peninsula has welcomed the return of the ferry service and believes it would further compliment self-drive visitors to the region.

RDAEP tourism development manager Sondra Stewart said of all intrastate visitors who stayed overnight on Eyre Peninsula, 82 per cent were self-drive.

"This passenger ferry service will give people alternative and flexible mode of transport and this investment that supports the drive market and encourages people to stay longer and foster dispersal to other parts of the Eyre Peninsula including the inland routes," she said.

Ms Stewart said this year Eyre Peninsula tourism and hospitality operators had enjoyed an influx of locals holidaying at home in South Australia and with plans for a broader relaxation of restrictions local tourism should see an even bigger boost.

The ferry Aurora V's returned to service in South Australia after travelling back from South America this year, although there had been a challenge for it to depart Venezuela due to political upheaval and then was held up in Colombia due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The vessel finally arrived back in Wallaroo in October.

While it had been quite an international journey for the ferry vessel to make it back to Australia, Ms Cassidy said with further restrictions on international travel for Australia it would mean more domestic travel in the near future.

"Since international travel has been curtailed and with Australian domestic travel being encouraged, we feel we have a lot to offer to both locals and visitors alike," she said.

"We believe that we have an exciting role to play in helping to open up both of our unique and beautiful Peninsulas to travellers from near and far."

This story Ferry tale return of service first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.