Julie Wilkins and Pam McCracken. Gladstone welcomes it's first P&O Cruise ship for 2017.
Julie Wilkins and Pam McCracken. Gladstone welcomes it's first P&O Cruise ship for 2017. Paul Braven GLA040117CRUISE

Calls for cruise passenger bus service to Tannum Sands

TANNUM Sands residents say they're missing out on making the most out of the thousands of tourists cruising into the region every year.

While buses transport P&O cruise passengers around Gladstone and to Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy, there are no scheduled tours to Tannum Sands, Boyne Island or Lake Awoonga.

Say Espresso Bar owner Brett McGuiness has lobbied for a bus to Tannum Sands, even offering free coffee for every cruise passenger at his cafe.

But his requests have fallen on deaf ears, with P&O owner Carnival declining to back the service.

The Tannum Sands resident of 16 years said the small coastal town would be the perfect place to spend a day if you've spent more than a week on a ship.

"My mum was on the first cruise ship that came into Gladstone and she said the older generation just wanted to get off the ship, have a walk and have a coffee rather than get on a bus for a three-hour round trip to Agnes Water," Mr McGuiness said.

"We have beautiful estuaries ... walking paths and Canoe Point."

Gladstone Area Promotion Development Limited chief executive Darryl Branthwaite said without organised events or activities, such as segway tours or bike hire, it would be difficult to pitch a Tannum Sands bus tour to the international cruise liner.

"We'd love to run a bus from Gladstone to Tannum, then Lake Awoonga and back, but they just won't do it based on what's there," he said.

"There needs to be something to offer other than the cafes and the beach, like a kayak or segway tour."

The 2018 Gladstone cruise ship dates, released this week, showed five P&O vessels will visit the Port City during the second half of the year, bringing potentially almost 9800 people to the region.

Fit Life Smoothie and Snack Bar new owner Bernadette Breen said it would be a great idea to bring the wave of tourists on board the cruise ships to enjoy the laid-back lifestyle.

"It's beautiful down at the esplanade, they can walk along the beach ... or go to Canoe Point," she said.

"I had some customers here who were holidaying from Tin Can Bay, they'd never been here before or heard of Tannum Sands and they said it was just beautiful, they loved it."

Mr Branthwaite pointed out there were more than 30 cars available for cruise ship passengers to hire, which they could use to visit Tannum Sands, Boyne Island and Lake Awoonga.

Next month he will give Carnival representatives a tour of the region, where they will decide which tours and activities they will promote during this year's cruises.

He hopes to secure a Southern Great Barrier Reef day trip on the itinerary this year.