Another Australian region seeing a year-over-year increase in ships and passengers is Darwin. The host of this year’s Cruise Down Under conference, the facility in Darwin is also being joined by another berthing opportunity in Northern Territory, Arnhem Land, which is an aboriginal territory east of Darwin.

“During the 2015-2016 season, Tourism NT will be working to map anchorage points along the remote northern Arnhem Land coastline,” said Richard Schoonraad, manager of market development for Tourism Northern Territory (Tourism NT). “This will provide expedition ships with access to aboriginal communities.”

This is a big plan for the territory, as it will give expedition ships year-round access to local communities.

Schoonraad said passengers want to meet locals, and they have been developing their shoreside experiences accordingly.

“Passengers can now join a local lady, Carol McKenzie, and some of her friends at a hosted morning or afternoon tea in a typical Darwin suburban home,” he said. The new shore excursion, A Cuppa with Carol (a cuppa is a cup of tea) includes homemade sweet and savory treats, including samples of crocodile, buffalo and camel meats, tropical fruits and local delicacies. McKenzie and her friends will share their stories, including life on a cattle ranch, living and teaching in remote indigenous communities, and travel in Australia’s Outback.

There is a lot more going on too, as the Darwin Waterfront Corporation has a seven figure budget earmarked to improve connectivity between the pier and central business district.

“Darwin’s geographic location in the center of Australia’s northern coastline makes us a natural gateway to Australia for cruise ships redeploying from Asia,” Schoonraad said. “We have good aviation connections with full-service carriers direct into Singapore, so Darwin is also an ideal turn-around port.”