New Zealand is set to host a new type of cruise ship to its shores, a 1,200-metre vessel called the Westerman.
The ship will travel to New Zealand’s northern islands of Christchurch and Otago and then sail to the Australian mainland in two months.
It will join two other ships currently in port at Nelson, on the south-east coast of New Zealand, and is expected to arrive in the Australian port of Darwin by November.
The Westerman will be the first ship to make the long journey between New Zealand and the mainland.
It will take about eight weeks to complete its journey from Christchurch to Christchurch, and the ship will then travel north through Otago to Darwin, before making its way across the Tasman Sea to Perth.
Its construction is the first for the port of Nelson, and a major expansion in the port has been undertaken.
In 2014, Nelson had one of the fastest-growing populations in the world.
“The fact that this ship will make the journey from New Zealand via Otago, and then to Darwin on the northern part of the island of New Britain and then into Australia is just incredible,” said Nelson Mayor Michael Daley.
This is the third ship for Nelson Port, following the Westermans in 2011 and the Queen Elizabeth, a 350-metres cruise ship that was christened in 2015.
Nelson is the largest port in the country and it has been the home of the Nelson-based Port of Nelson for over 70 years.
A total of 15 vessels are registered to Nelson, with about a dozen currently in service, including two cruise ships.
Tourists can also get a glimpse of Nelson’s famous shipbuilding facilities in the town’s town hall, where the Westermann will be fitted with a specially-designed engine and sails.
New Zealand’s new shipbuilding sector has been boosted by the introduction of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, which will boost the country’s exports of passenger ships to Asia, Europe and North America.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also announced on Tuesday that Australia will invest $4.4 billion in New Zealand shipbuilding and will support up to 2,000 new jobs over the next four years.