Take a hop around the harbour
Famous Harbour Hoppers could be coming to Sydney harbour
A famous tourist attraction in Halifax may soon find itself hopping harbours to Sydney come the end of the summer.
Atlantic Ambassatours Ltd., a Halifax-based company, is hoping to expand its business by putting its Harbour Hoppers amphibious vehicles in Sydney for the months of September and October to coincide with tourism season on the island.
The company has applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for approval to have the amphibious tours in Sydney for the two-month period.
Terri MacCulloch, communications manager for Ambassatours, said the company is hoping for a positive outcome with its application.
“If we get approved we will be in Sydney for sure,” she said. “It’s just pending approval at this point, and our intention is to come.”
The Harbour Hoppers are popular with tourists and locals in Halifax.
The amphibious adventure showcases the city by land and sea, taking people to places of interest such as Citadel Hill National Historic Site, the Victorian Public Gardens, and St. Paul’s Church, to name a few.
The tour continues through the downtown core of Halifax before making a slash into Halifax harbour. The cruise continues in the water, passing George’s Island lighthouse, the Halifax waterfront boardwalk, historic properties as well as the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
The tour is fully narrated with topics such as the Halifax Explosion as well as the history of the naval dockyards in Halifax.
“There are certainly lots of demand for Harbour Hoppers in ports in our region, but we’ve had Sydney on our radar for a while as a place where we would like to bring the hoppers,” said MacCulloch. “I know the city has been very keen to have us there — it’s like a match of our abilities with the city’s interest.”
The company hopes to have two Harbour Hoppers in Sydney. They will be made available to the public and tourists when cruise ships are docked, pending approval by the NSUARB.
MacCulloch said the company is interested in having the Harbour Hoppers in the area for a number of reasons, including the 50 per cent increase in tourism traffic to Sydney this year.
“It’s a combination of the city tour aspects of it — the Harbour Hopper of course spends half the time on land and half the time in the water, and just the beauty of the harbour and the view for everybody certainly made an appealing choice for us.” she said.
“It looks like we’re going to come up after the end of August, bringing the units up to test them out through cruise season.”
Atlantic Ambassatours Ltd., has six Harbour Hoppers in Halifax. The company recently added two more to its fleet.
MacCulloch said the feedback for the vehicles have been positive in Halifax.
“People love the Harbour Hopper — I think it’s a combination of being on the water and on the land, but it’s the transition between land and water that people find really thrilling,” she said. “Many people have never had the chance to be on an amphibious vehicle — it’s certainly appealing to all ages.”
Lindsay McKinnon, owner of Defiant Darlings Fashion and Accessories Inc., in downtown Sydney, said the Harbour Hoppers would be good for the downtown area.
“I think it would be good for the retail business,” she said, citing the potential of customers shopping in the area after the tours. “Anything that brings anybody downtown is a good thing.”
In Halifax, the tours last 55 minutes and the cost ranges from $11.99 for children to $35 for an adult.
MacCulloch said the tour route and prices for Sydney won’t be confirmed until the utility and review board makes a decision. The company is hoping to have a decision by the summer.
The famous Harbour Hoppers may soon begin tours in Sydney for two months, starting in September. Atlantic Ambassatours Ltd., is hoping to have two of its Harbour Hoppers in Sydney to provide tours, on land and in the water, for the general public, tourists and cruise ship passengers.