CROWDS of up to 150,000 are expected to flock to Jervis Bay to view the 25 warships gathering for the International Fleet Review (IFR) next week.
The warships will be in the bay from Tuesday October 1 until Thursday, October 3 when they’ll begin their journey to Sydney for the national celebrations.
Jervis Bay Tourism and Promotions president Melissa McManus said it was difficult to prepare for something of this scale but it was going to bring a great deal of exposure to the area.
“There are all sorts of crazy numbers being thrown around, but we won’t really know what it will be like until the day,” said Ms McManus.
“We have never had anything like this before and we’re expecting it to be very busy.
“This is going to be great for our little part of the world,” she said.
Ms McManus said the waters will be very busy as well because private vessels are expected to travel to the area to sail back from Jervis Bay, following the fleet of 25 warships as it enters Sydney Harbour for the IFR.
“They will add a whole other aspect to the numbers we are expecting to the area…it’s going to be huge,” she said.
Jervis Bay Wild office and domestic marketing manager Elizabeth Abood said the cruise company had a new vessel arriving today, especially for the IFR demands.
She said they were expecting to take up to 2000 passengers out next week.
“It is the first vessel on the South Coast with disabled access and facilities. It has five viewing decks and currently holds 100 passengers,” said Ms Abood.
“Because of the vessel’s arrival we still have lots of seats available.
“We will have strictly navy cruises on Wednesday to view the ships and a fireworks vessel will also be going out on Wednesday, October 2 at 7.15pm.
“This (IFR) is really great for tourism and our area,” she said.
Jervis Bay Caravan Park office administrator Maree Whatmough said they were almost at full capacity and they were making all their customers aware of the IFR local festivities.
“We are expecting lots of excited people coming to stay,” said Ms Whatmough.
“We have the advantage of having our own boat ramp, so people are able to launch their own boats to go and view the warships,” she said.
Dolphin Watch Cruises owner Stuart King said they were also experiencing the high demands for the IFR festivities.
“We are extremely busy and are almost sold out,” said Mr King.
“We will be sending the main boat out to Creswell every two and half hours and the smaller boats between,” he said.