Regular scheduled cruises are set to return to Lake Macquarie from Friday in a windfall for local tourism.
Nova Cruises, which has operated in Newcastle since 2006, will launch its first Lake Mac cruises to coincide with the start of the peak summer season.
The cruises will range from 90-minute journeys taking in the western end of the lake, to half-day expeditions travelling as far as Wangi Wangi.
Mayor Kay Fraser said the cruises would capitalise on burgeoning demand to get out on the lake.
“Our tourism team has been receiving a growing number of enquiries and requests from people who want to get afloat on Lake Macquarie and see it from a new perspective,” Cr Fraser said.
“That includes tourists visiting our city and locals who have lived here for years but have never actually been out on the water.”
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Nova Cruises general manager Peter Hanrahan said his company purchased a vessel in August that previously operated in Port Macquarie.
Tours aboard the newly renamed Lady MAC, which has since been refitted and modernised, will depart from the public wharf at Booragul.
“We were able to secure a vessel that met our requirements in regards to shallow draft, tonnage, guest capacity and budget,” Mr Hanrahan said.
“I saw the decline in charter vessels operating from the lake and have always thought there is an opportunity to venture down that way.
“We are now in a position where we have developed a team and crew that I am confident will offer a great product.”
Council’s cultural services manager Jacqui Hemsley said the return of regular scheduled cruises would provide a shot in the arm for local tourism.
“These cruises give people another reason to visit Lake Macquarie, whether it’s for the day, the weekend or a longer stay,” Ms Hemsley said.
“People who visit spend money here, so there will certainly be flow-on benefits felt across our city.”