Southern Discoveries is confident its latest expansion into
the competitive Queenstown tourism market will be operating
as planned from November 1.
The operator, owned by the Dunedin family company Skeggs
Group, applied for land use resource consent to establish and
operate commercial recreation and commercial activities
within Mt Nicholas Station.
The application was received by the Queenstown Lakes District
Council on September 20 and is on hold pending further
information from the operator. A council planner is scheduled
to visit the station next week.
Southern Discoveries proposes its customers will travel to
the 42,000ha farm about 20km from the resort on the
operator's commercial catamaran Spirit of Queenstown, sailing
365 days a year with up to four return trips per day in
summer. Mt Nicolas land-based tours will connect with the
boat's timetable, which also includes return lake cruises
Consent is sought to conduct woolshed tours, including a
merino shearing demonstration, vehicle safari tours through
the farm to the musterers' hut and historic points of
interest, walking tours around the lake foreshore and to more
historic points, plus the retailing of woollen products from
sheep reared on the station.
''On arrival at the wharf, the customers will congregate at
the woolshed, where they will be welcomed,'' the application
''The customers will then move into the newly constructed
woolshed extension where they will be shown an
agricultural/shearing themed audiovisual display.''
There will be interactive displays and information plinths,
collaborations between the operator and New Zealand Merino.
Tours would use a 4WD ''safari'' vehicle carrying up to 22
people and go along Von Valley Rd for about 36km, as far as
Bullock Creek. Points of interest include the original schist
homestead, the historic beech slab hut and various other
points for photographs.
At the musterers' hut, customers will be provided with a meal
prepared in Queenstown. Guided half-day walking tours of up
to 22 people per tour will visit the lake foreshore, the
beech hut and the homestead site through to Lovers Leap.
Customers will be provided with a picnic lunch and
refreshments, also from Queenstown.
General manager John Robson, of Te Anau, told the Otago
Daily Times yesterday the application was the legal
support for what Southern Discoveries had been planning
publicly for 18 months.
''The vessel will be operating and we will be providing
tourism services from November 1, there's no doubt about
that,'' Mr Robson said.
''Whether it's the full gambit will be more reliant on the
planners than us.''