Thousands out for CentrePort open day

00:23, Feb 23 2013
Port Open Day 1
Paraparaumu's Alan Watt gets a close-up of cruise liner Queen Elizabeth.
Port Open Day 2
Garth Mincher and Helen Jordan from the Johnsonville Lions collecting for Wellington Free Ambulance.
Port Open Day 3
Queues to get on-board the tugboats.
Port Open Day 4
Thorndon's Barbara Lavin attends the open day every year.
Port Open Day 5
The tug Toia taking people out into the harbour and to see the Queen Elizabeth liner.
Port Open Day 6
Bevan Ellis, 6 and his brother Christopher, 4, from Lower Hutt on board the Toia as it slides past the Queen Elizabeth.

The public are flooding Wellington's waterfront in their thousands to explore all things nautical as the capital's usually strictly controlled port opened its gates today.

CentrePort Wellington is the country's third largest port and handles about one million passengers every year, including 225,000 visitors on 91 cruise ships in 2012, which generated $43 million for the region's economy in the record-breaking cruise season.

Organisers are expecting more than 5000 people throughout the day.

Barbara Lavin, of Thorndon, is a third-year veteran of the open days and queued for an hour to get aboard the tugboat Toia, which took her for an up close and personal look at the $670 million, 294-metre mega liner the Queen Elizabeth.

''I just really love tugboats, they're just really quite cute and the Queen Elizabeth was great, it was really interesting to see it from that perspective - to see how big it was, it was quite elegant too. I'll go again next year,'' she said.

The day's activities were based out of the Interislander wharf oposite Wellington Railway Station and included coach tours and tugboat rides and an opportunity to see the navy vessel HMNZS Taupo, which was berthed along the wharf along with a number of other vessels also open for the public to clamber over. 

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