Port Chalmers is the main port on Otago Harbour. It’s situated 5 miles from the harbour entrance and 8 miles from Dunedin city. It host approximately 450 vessels every year. The shipping movements are made up of container, log, cargo and cruise ships. It is one of the busiest ports in NZ after Tauranga, Auckland and Lyttelton.
The secondary port is the port of Dunedin which hosts approximately 150 shipping movements every year. These are made up of navy vessels, log ships, bulk carriers, fertilizer ships, cruise vessels and oil and LGP tankers.
Making use of the often windy conditions are some 13 yacht clubs on Otago Harbour. Recreational fisherman are a common sight in small craft, hoping to catch Quinnat Salmon. Water sports are popular, such as Waka Ama, windsurfing and rowing.
There are a variety of commercial craft going about their work locally too. The University of Otago has a number of research vessels. Other common sights are search and rescue craft, passenger vessels, dive training schools, tug boats, dredgers and pilot boats.
The maritime history of Otago Harbour tells of early settlers, Antarctic explorers, and industries of goldmining, whaling and sealing. Export trade has been strong, both in the past and present day.
The harbour is somewhat of a ship’s graveyard with many historical maritime disasters having occurred nearby. Old shipwrecks and their stories remain on the shoreline here, ready for discovery.