Portarlington Safe Harbour and Bellarine Ferry Group 2nd Quarter 2018 Update -  June


 How is the ferry going?  

It’s been great to now have the opportunity to compare a previous year of patronage, and pleasing to see that numbers are up on last year on all fronts.

Commuter numbers have increased, and although they are not the fastest growing sector, they are the most loyal users of the ferry and do a wonderful job spreading the word to potentially new commuters.

All passengers, including commuters, are pleased to see the huge changes in recent months with the new boat, café commencing and recent liquor licence.

Seniors groups continue to play a large part in Monday to Friday patronage but it’s the packaging with other businesses that are most effective.

People are really drawn to having an entire experience mapped out for them, with a one stop shop on Port Phillip Ferries website. Therefore partnerships with the likes of the Q Train, Terindah Estate and others, are making a big difference to passenger numbers.

Trials for a possible direct Geelong to Melbourne ferry

Port Phillip Ferries will run a two day trial from Geelong in late July 2018. In conjunction with a local business group, Committee for Geelong the trial will gauge the interest in a regular ferry service running between Geelong and Docklands. For a gold coin donation the trial will take ferry passengers on a tour of Corio Bay.

It is believed that to be viable a long-term ferry service would have to attract at least 130 passengers per day.

The target market would be the estimated 17,000 Geelong commuters who currently travel to Melbourne each day. With a trip time of 100 minutes it remains to be seen if a regular ferry service while being 30 to 40 minutes longer is more attractive than sitting in a car on a gridlock highway or travelling to Melbourne via V-Line in a packed train.

As a regular daily service would be direct between Geelong and Docklands there should be no impact on the Portarlington - Docklands service.


  Portarlington Safe Harbour

Upgraded North, West corner of pier

Actions have been performed on the north /west corner of the pier to remove the rotting bearers and planks. New foundations and walkway have been added to bring that area up to the standard of the rest of the pier. 









 Calm Day

During the first week in June, we had one of those magnificent days when the bay was perfectly calm and the sky was perfectly clear.  Standing on the new pier, the conditions made it possible to see the remains of prior structures many meters under water



The future of the old pier

Decommissioning of old Portarlington Pier.

Parks Victoria have notified us of the decommissioning of the old Portarlington pier.

"Portarlington Pier has been a popular destination for summer holidays, anglers catching fish and a major contributor to the Portarlington economy through commercial fishing and tourism for half a century.

The old Portarlington Pier has reached the end of its practical design life and needs to be permanently closed for public safety. A new replacement pier has already been constructed adjacent to the old pier.


The old Portarlington Pier pictured on the left is now closed for public safety. The new pier on the right will continue to serve the Portarlington community.  

Portarlington Harbour is an important recreational and commercial destination. In February 2018 the first stage of works to deliver the Portarlington Safe Harbour Master Plan were completed. The project was designed to support the Bellarine Peninsula's growing aquaculture industry and help boost tourism and the local economy.

As the manager of over 40 piers and jetties around Port Phillip and Westernport, Parks Victoria continually monitors the condition of piers across Port Phillip and programs regular maintenance and major works to ensure the continued safety and enjoyment of our bays and waterways.

The old pier was built in the 1970’s with a 50-year design life. As the old pier approached the end of its design life, plans to build a new pier were incorporated into long term plans for the safe harbour precinct.

The new Portarlington Pier, which opened in July 2015, was constructed as part of delivering stage one of the Portarlington Safe Harbour Master Plan. 

The new pier at Portarlington has been designed to ensure long term access for pedestrians, commercial fishing, recreational vessels, passenger ferry services and other aquaculture related activity.

Portarlington Pier is monitored regularly and recent inspections by specialist engineers identified that the old pier is no longer safe for pedestrian access.

Prolonged exposure to saltwater has caused the steel reinforcement to rust which slowly undermines the concrete and weakens the structure. 

The inspections found elements of the ageing structure have deteriorated to the point that concrete has started to break away from steel reinforcements and fall into the water. 

With a closure now in place, the public and commercial users of the pier will now need to use the new pier.

Parks Victoria has commenced planning to eventually decommission and remove the old pier and will provide further community updates as these plan progress.  

For more information call Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or visit www.parks.vic.gov.au"

Geoff & John

Portarlington Safe Harbour and Bellarine Ferry Group 1ST Quarter 2018 Update


Portarlington Safe Harbour

  Construction of Sand Movement Groyne

As part of the Portarlington Safe Harbour work, a new groyne needed to be constructed between the new and old pier. The new groyne is designed to reduce sand movements and wave action and alleviate beach erosion within the harbour. Parks Victoria scheduled the work to have the minimum disruption to the commercial users and the general public, this was particularly difficult as a long weekend occurred during the construction period.  The construction is just about complete.

Old Groyne                                                                                                   New Groyne

Dredging of Hard Material

Parks Victoria has called for tenders to dredge and dispose of up to 6,000 m3 hard material (clay and weathered rock) from shallow waters in the area between the pier and the eastern wall . Works also include a pre/post construction survey and the installation of temporary navigation markers for the period of dredging. The existing pier will not be used for handling of dredged waste as this material will be removed by barges.

The tender will close on the 28 March 2018. It is expected work will begin sometime in June and the work should take approximately 2 months to complete depending on the weather.

   The Ferry

The ferry with visiting cruise ship in background

Port Phillip Ferries have seen out the end of their second summer with good results in passenger numbers. This Labour Day long weekend saw 300 people come over to the Bellarine on both Saturday and Sunday. That is more than twice the numbers that visited the same time last year. Large numbers of senior groups continue to visit during the week with sometimes upwards of 150 people visiting on the Tuesday and Thursdays.

The new vessel, the Bellarine Express, is being enjoyed by all especially with the new café now in operation. In particular the regular commuters are enjoying a coffee to and from Melbourne and the day trippers both ways enjoy the freedom to purchase a snack or drinks. It certainly is a great value add to the service. The daily commuters are also noticing an increase in regular numbers and the crew are meeting more and more new residents to the region.

The service is creating a lot of great publicity for the region, including the inclusion in the February edition of the Jetstar magazine that featured Portarlington. Many internet users, or "on line influencers" as they are referred to in the marketing business, are spreading the word about the service and what there is to do once they arrive at Portarlington. Port Phillip Ferries packaging of the service with the QTrain and other products have also stirred a lot of interest in the media.

In Melbourne, the new docking location has created great interest. The location directly on the tram lines has made the ferry much more visible to capture the passing public’s interest.

Port Phillip Ferries featured in the Herald Sun recently around the services announced for Geelong. The first of these Geelong direct to Melbourne services will ran on March 25. It is running to suit the Geelong vs. Melbourne AFL match at the MCG. They will trial a small number of these services over the football season in the hope that it generates enough interest to consider some permanent services on that route. These Geelong trials will operate with the Bellarine Express and the Capricornian Dancer will continue  to run the Portarlington to Docklands service during the trials. The Portarlington timetable will not be affected in any way and will remain in place as is.

Port Phillip Ferries expect that passenger numbers over the Easter period will be up significantly over last year.


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