'Flagship visitor centre' opening

Southern Discoveries will open a ''flagship Queenstown visitor centre'' late this year, when it relocates its Shotover St information and booking centre to the top end of the Mall in October.

The new premises, opposite Starbucks, will be the information base for the Southern Discoveries portfolio of products - KJet, formerly Kawarau Jet, of which Southern Discoveries owns a 50% share, and national bus carrier InterCity.

The store, now home to a Real Journeys and Shotover Jet booking office, will be refurbished ahead of the move.

The Southern Discoveries general manager, John Robson, said that the relocation was exciting news.

''This is one of the most high-profile and high-foot-traffic sites in the CBD and it is ideally positioned at the gateway to the town centre in full view of all new visitors into Queenstown.

''As we continue to invest in new products and experiences in Milford, Te Anau and Queenstown, we need to increase our street presence and the prestigious Mall location is perfect to capture visitors as they drive in or stroll around Queenstown.''

Over the past four years, the company had made significant investments in its operations and product offerings, cementing its position as the ''oldest and most established operator in Milford Sound'', Mr Robson said.

Recently, it announced the November launch of a high-speed, multimillion-dollar catamaran - Spirit of Queenstown.

The catamaran will offer a Lake Wakatipu boat experience and a ''safari-style'' farm tour at Mt Nicholas Station.

Southern Discoveries has also become the third shareholder in its lakefront offices at the St Omer Wharf and a berth at the O' Regan Wharf, having formerly leased the premises from Ngai Tahu.

The office was renovated to include a retail information centre and ticket office and ensures the company has a lakefront base for the Spirit of Queenstown catamaran tour and a street presence at both ends of town.

The company also operates five boats and three cruise options in Milford Sound; owns and operates Harrisons Cove Kayaking, the Blue Duck Cafe and Bar in Te Anau, five information centres in Te Anau and Queenstown and the Te Anau-based coach service Go Milford; and operates Queenstown Princess, providing day and charter cruises on Lake Wakatipu.