Macquarie Wharf Redevelopment


Port of Hobart, Tasmania

Type of infrastructure


Time frame

Near term (0–5 years)

Current Phase

Planning and Design

The redevelopment of Macquarie Wharf will position the Port of Hobart as the international gateway to the Southern Ocean, actively supporting world-class Antarctic exploration and scientific research whilst also enabling growth in key trade areas such as bulk export (forestry), containers and tourism (cruise ships).


The Port of Hobart is a major Tasmanian deep-water port, located in the State’s capital. The Port supports a variety of industries including bulk log export, container export, bulk fuel import, commercial fishing, Antarctic exploration and cruise ships.

The Port also plays host to two internationally significant events, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (annual) and the Australian Wooden Boat Festival (biennial), along with a range of annual community events including The Taste of Tasmania.

Key industry activities at the Port include:

Antarctic exploration: The Port of Hobart is Australia’s gateway to the Antarctic and is the designated home port for the Australian Antarctic Division research vessels. In addition, the Port plays a critical role internationally as a refuelling and restocking point for international expedition ships from countries including China, France and Japan.

Bulk log export: The Port currently supports bulk log cargo export through the TasPorts and Qube Holdings subsidiary, Southern Export Terminals. Annual throughput is approximately 245,000 JASm3.

Cruise: The Port is a popular cruise ship destination (nationally and internationally), with the sector representing a significant commercial revenue stream. COVID-19 has significantly impacted the sector and TasPorts continues to actively support the industry as it seeks to rebuild as government directions permit.

Project opportunity

In 2018, TasPorts launched its Port Master Plan to guide significant capital investment in Tasmanian port infrastructure over a 15-year period.

The Port of Hobart was identified as a key component of this Plan, with significant opportunity identified to enable growth in the tourism, trade and Antarctic sectors.

A key infrastructure asset to enable this is the eastern secure port zone, Macquarie Wharf 4, 5 & 6. The wharf assets are approaching end of life, whereby routine maintenance is undertaken annually in order to sustain a minimal service level.

The Macquarie Wharfs were originally built in the period between 1969 and 1975, and whilst routine maintenance and limited remediation has been undertaken, a significant capital upgrade is required to enable future growth.

Current key limitations include a reduction in deck load limits to 2.5kPa, restricting cargo movements.

The redevelopment of Macquarie Wharf will enable:

  • a multi-user Antarctic Precinct enabling growth in the Antarctic science and research sector;
  • a dedicated cruise ship terminal with capacity to berth the new Oasis-class cruise vessels (5,400 passengers) and passenger processing, turnaround and visitor experience facilities; and
  • an expanded log and container storage facility to support increased throughput of export logs and containers.

In 2021, the Australian Antarctic Division took delivery of its new purpose-built icebreaker, RSV Nuyina to replace the 94.9m-long Aurora Australis. The RSV Nuyina is 160.3m in length and has a 25,394-tonne displacement. The vessel will meet future research and operational demands with a design life of 30 years.

Project scope

Scope under consideration includes:

  • Construct associated fender beam and berthing infrastructure.
  • Install new 100-tonne and 200-tonne bollards.
  • Shore power capacity for the port to support customers.
  • Service upgrades to water, telecommunication and data.
  • Strengthen dedicated heavy-lift areas across Macquarie 5.
  • Construct additional passenger terminal facilities for processing and disembarkation from Macquarie Wharfs 4 and 5.
  • Install new lighting and environmental control technologies.
  • Localised remediation of Macquarie Wharf 4.
  • Undertake freight yard and traffic reconfiguration and associated security modifications.

Project benefits

The Macquarie Wharf Redevelopment will bring significant trade and economic benefits to Tasmania through the provision of essential infrastructure that supports existing trade activity and enables new trade growth over a 30-year horizon.

Key project benefits include:

  • construction of bespoke infrastructure for the Australian Antarctic Division's (AAD) icebreaker RSV Nuyina, strengthening the Port of Hobart as the nation's gateway to the Southern Ocean;
  • development of two multi-user berths for freight, research and tourism vessels, at one of the deepest sheltered ports in the southern hemisphere;
  • future proofing the Port of Hobart for the next generation of modern cruise ships, Antarctic research vessels and bulk or container cargo;
  • actively support world-leading scientific research and attract further international programs, generating up to $3.3 million in additional expenditure from Antarctic ships annually;
  • enabling growth of Tasmania’s key passenger tourism service through the ability to berth the Oasis-class cruise vessels (5,400 passengers), resulting in additional passengers annually;
  • actively support the growth of log export and container throughput, lifting capacity by up to 52 additional container services per annum;
  • generation of up to 1,000 job years over the construction phase of the project, directly benefiting Tasmanian and Australian contractors.
  • enabling a key linkage to Macquarie Point, the last remaining vacant urban infill site adjacent to the Port on the edge of the CBD.

Strategic alignment

The delivery of this project is of critical importance to the State of Tasmania and the Port of Hobart, ensuring a suitable working port, terminal and berthing space for the next 50 years.

The redevelopment is aligned with the following government policies:

Tasmanian Antarctic Gateway Strategy

Designed to build on Tasmania’s reputation as the gateway to east Antarctica and the Southern Ocean by supporting and harnessing opportunities arising from investment by Australia and other countries in Antarctic science and operations.

Blueprint for Sustainable Cruise Shipping in Tasmania 2019-2022

Designed to deliver sustainable cruise ship growth and maximise benefits to Tasmanian communities by increasing regional dispersal and yield of cruise visitors.

The Port of Hobart must retain a fit-for-purpose multi-user export facility for the forestry sector and future container growth export opportunities.