Giant catamaran closer to destination

Spirit of Queenstown on Bluff Rd.
Spirit of Queenstown on Bluff Rd.

The Spirit of Queenstown will soon be home.

The 60-tonne, 150-seat purpose-built catamaran was lifted on to the back of a semi-trailer and escorted up the Bluff Highway towards Invercargill at 9am yesterday, seven days after leaving Brisbane.

It arrived in Athol about 4.30pm yesterday and will continue on its journey to Kingston today.

Engineers from Brisbane travelled with the Spirit of Queenstown to supervise the removal of the cockpit and its reinstatement.

Southern Discoveries general manager John Robson said sea trials and the Tasman crossing had gone "exceptionally well" and the skippers were very satisfied with the way the boat had performed.

"We've had daily updates from her crew and they've been impressed with how she manoeuvres in the water.

"They're excited to get her home to Lake Wakatipu," Mr Robson said.

She is due to make her maiden voyage into Queenstown Bay tomorrow.

As of November, the boat will run tours around Lake Wakatipu, giving guests an option to visit Mt Nicholas Station on the west side of the lake.

"We can't wait for her official launch and maiden voyage, which will incorporate an official Maori blessing to welcome her to the lake," Mr Robson said.

The Southland Times