The '70s - a decade of alternative living and wild parties -
has been relaunched on the waters of Lake Wakatipu.
Those wanting to escape the current decade, with its rap and
forgettable pop, can step on to Luanda, a 58ft (17.7m)
yacht on Lake Wakatipu, and acquaint or reacquaint themselves
with the disco era.
Most recently a charter vessel on Lake Wakatipu under former
owner Nigel Brown, the 1960s-constructed boat is now
embracing the decade in which it received a major refit and
is literally up for anything.
It features a stack of Mills and Boon novels, an abundance of
purple, green bathrooms with orange and purple trim, a split
sound system, a bar and a 60-inch television screen that
lends itself to both gaming and PowerPoint presentations.
Its new owners, Anthony Ruski-Jones and Marcus Barnett, have
extensive tourism experience in Queenstown. They took over
the boat in October and ran their first charter on December
7, with skipper Andre Cockburn.
The men felt Lake Wakatipu was Queenstown's most
under-utilised asset and available cruises catered for the
sight-seeing tourist, so The Luanda Experience was born.
''Twenty-five percent of the two million visitors to
Queenstown are backpackers,'' Mr Barnett said.
''The '70s was quite a cool scene ... it's probably an era we
all wish we were adults in.
''We've still got a few things to finish it off ... just
Since Queenstown's tourist stores do not quite lend
themselves to the cause, the search for appropriate
memorabilia is nationwide - though authentic finds can be
made in Southland, Mr Ruski-Jones said.
When asked to describe the difference between Luanda
and other chartered cruises, ''fun'' and ''groovy'' were two
Although the boat has a solid '70s outfit, Mr Ruski-Jones
said they were encouraging people or companies to ''dress the
whole boat up'' with their own theme or company brand.
''We can do anything, really.''
Having a hen or stag party on a boat offered some unusual
options, such as having a stripper or similar entertainer
arrive on a jet ski to perform.
Since Mr Barnett and Mr Ruski-Jones were already local
tourism operators and Mr Cockburn an experienced skipper, the
men said they had earned a certain amount of trust with local