A concept image of the new Southern Discoveries Spirit of
Queenstown catamaran on Lake Wakatipu. Photo supplied.
A new multimillion-dollar catamaran will carry passengers
on Lake Wakatipu by the end of the year.
Tourism company Southern Discoveries has invested in excess
of $4 million in the high-speed catamaran, which will be
named the Spirit of Queenstown and carry 150
The 26m vessel will be launched in November and travel from
Queenstown to Mt Nicholas Station for what Southern
Discoveries is calling a ''nature-based'' experience.
It will be the only commercial boat offering direct
excursions to the Mt Nicholas Station and the company has not
yet released what activities they have planned for passengers
when they arrive, although it would include a high country
experience, Southern Discoveries General Manager John Robson
Mr Robson said the company planned to team up packages with
their K-Jet boat based in Queenstown and the catamaran was
the start of a planned expansion in the area.
Southern Discoveries already has five boats operating eight
trips a day from Milford Sound employing more than 90 people
and the introduction of the Spirit of Queenstown would
mean hiring an extra 10 to 12 people.
Mr Robson said the boat was not in direct competition with
Real Journey's TSS Earnslaw as it offered a different
package, including weddings, night cruises and private
''It is a different offering to the Earnslaw and can
never compete with that.
''It is something with a clear difference.''
The decision to invest in the single-level catamaran was
significant and reflected the ''entrepreneurial and
forward-thinking visions'' of the owner of the company the
The boat was designed by Brett Crowther, of Incat Crowther,
and will be constructed by Aluminium Marine Pty Ltd, of
It will sail to Bluff, then be transported to Kingston to be
launched on Lake Wakatipu.
Over the past four years the company has rebranded from
Milford Sound Red Boats to Southern Discoveries, acquired Te
Anau-based coach and tour operation Go Milford, invested in a
50% shareholding in KJet and reopened the Milford Discovery
Centre and Milford Deep Underwater Observatory.
The company also owns Queenstown Princess, a scenic
cruise on Lake Wakatipu.
''We're happy that we have been successful and sustainable in
our expansion aims, but also that we've maintained our status
as tourism operator of excellence, in keeping with this
incredible region we operate in.''
The boat will run three trips daily and the company has
already confirmed resource consents to run into the Frankton
Arm before 10pm.