Hutt at Heart
Tour group about to board a bus, looking happy and waving

We’re helping cruise passengers into Lower Hutt

Earlier this summer local businesses hosted 70 of Wellington’s volunteer cruise ambassadors for a familiarisation (famil) tour of Lower Hutt’s big backyard based at Williams Park, Days Bay to encourage cruise passengers spend more in Lower Hutt.

Cruise ambassadors are local volunteers, coordinated by the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, who’ll greet this summer‘s record 220,000 passengers due in to Wellington and their recommendations can directly influence self-guided day-trips dollars spent around in and around Wellington. Many step off the ship wanting to do or discover something themselves.

Cafes, tour operators, galleries saw the value contributing product or services in kind – that promoted what a typical cruise passenger could do on a number 83 bus and ferry loop of Petone, Lower Hutt, Moera and Eastbourne with a ferry back to Wellington from Days Bay.

WREDA’s Volunteer and Cruise Operations Coordinator, Shonti McVarnock, loves her knowledge-hungry volunteers who always want to soak up what’s new to share with visitors.
Local businesses (cafes, tour operators, galleries) saw the value contributing product or services in kind – and we promoted a self-guided day trip option using the number 83 bus and the East by West ferry to complete a loop back to central Wellington.

The afternoon was a result of Hutt City Council’s growing partnership with WREDA and a conversation at an earlier industry networking event. Combining an annual Christmas party to thank volunteers doubled as a chance to promote our city to key influencers – as our second “famil tour” for the cruise ambassadors after one in Petone two years ago.

Positive feedback has come in thick in fast like this from Clare who, like our residents and Wellingtonians, was pleasantly surprised by the stories shared and what’s on offer.

“Thanks for a great Christmas function you even organised the weather!! It was such a good idea to collaborate with the team at East by West Ferries, and James & Jodie from Hutt City Council, as well as introducing us to other local business operators. The afternoon was well coordinated, well catered & we were well informed by James on the bus tour about what the Hutt has to offer the ‘sweet stop’ at Zany Zeus [for an icecream] to end our tour was a bonus. This ‘born & bred’ Hutt Valley girl was impressed!

The famil tour was possible with thanks to WREDA, East By West Ferries, Tranzit, and Zany Zeus who gave significantly to this event. A dozen local businesses from Days Bay, Eastbourne and around Lower Hutt also joined in.

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