Catamaran ready to go next summer

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013
Catamaran
Supplied
QUICK CAT: A computer-generated image of the Southern Discoveries catamaran that will be cruising the waters of Lake Wakatipu by next summer.

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Bullish tourism company Southern Discoveries has announced that a multimillion-dollar state of the art catamaran will be plying an exclusive route on Lake Wakatipu by next summer.

The custom-built 26m high-speed cat, to be christened the Spirit of Queenstown, will embark on its maiden voyage at the start of next summer.

The vessel will carry up to 150 passengers from Queenstown to the normally inaccessible Mt Nicholas Station for "an authentic and nature-based experience".

Southern Discoveries general manager John Robson said investment in the catamaran was significant for the company, and reflected the entrepreneurial and forward-thinking vision of the Queenstown-based Skeggs Group, owners of the company.

"Over the last four years, Southern Discoveries has gone from strength to strength thanks to continued investment in its current products as well as new opportunities," he said. "The latest investment is one we have been discussing and planning for more than a year, so it's hugely exciting to be able to finally announce that we're going ahead."

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 per cent shareholding in KJet, the rebranded Kawarau Jet, and reopened the Milford Discovery Centre and Milford Deep Underwater Observatory.

The company also launched a new kayak operation in Milford Sound, opened new visitor information centres in Queenstown, and launched a scenic sightseeing cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the Queenstown Princess.

"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," Mr Robson said.

As well as running daily operations with a range of product packages, which are still being finalised, the new catamaran will also be available for private charter and conference and incentive work.

grant.bryant@stl.co.nz

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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