KIWI: Multi-million dollar Spirit of Queenstown makes her way South in Time for SummerThe Spirit of Queenstown will carry up to 150 passengers from Queenstown across the pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu to the normally inaccessible Mt Nicholas Station for an authentic and nature-based experience.
Queenstown’s newest tourism attraction moved a step closer to opening today (July 25 2013) when Southern Discoveries’ multi-million dollar catamaran was launched into the Coral Sea to start her long journey to Lake Wakatipu.
The purpose-built 26m high-speed catamaran, which will operate unique tours to Mt Nicholas Station, successfully took to the waves off Brisbane’s coast at high-tide to undergo sea trials for approximately 10 days.
Launched from shipyards 60km south of Brisbane, the newly-completed Spirit of Queenstown will sail down the coast of Australia to Eden in New South Wales, the closest point to New Zealand for refuelling.
Two Southern Discoveries’ skippers from Queenstown and Milford Sound and the company’s New Zealand-based engineer fly to Brisbane on August 1 to prepare the vessel for sailing to New Zealand.
Good weather pending, the trip across the oceans via New Zealand’s West Coast and down to Bluff should take just three days. The Spirit of Queenstown will then be partly dismantled to begin her land voyage through Southland and Central Otago towns, before officially launching on Lake Wakatipu at Kingston around mid-August.
Southern Discoveries General Manager John Robson said it was very exciting to see “our amazing boat” unveiled for the first time.
“It’s great to see ‘The Spirit’ in all her glory and the team are excited to get on board and experience her on the open seas before bringing her home to Lake Wakatipu,” Mr Robson said.
“She looks every bit as grand as we thought she would.”
“The Spirit of Queenstown will be given a formal Maori blessing when she arrives in Bluff and again when she enters the sparkling waters of Lake Wakatipu. It’ll be a spectacular sight to see this huge catamaran transported through the countryside and moor up at O’Regans Wharf.”
The Spirit of Queenstown will carry up to 150 passengers from Queenstown across the pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu to the normally inaccessible Mt Nicholas Station for an authentic and nature-based experience.
Mt Nicholas boasts uninterrupted views to Mt Earnslaw and up the lake to Glenorchy, as well as rolling hills, hidden valleys and lakes, and the opportunity to see a working high country station.
Experiences on offer at the normally inaccessible Mt Nicholas Station, which has undergone some developments in order to host trips, will include day walks, cycling and musterer safari trips into the high country.
“The Spirit of Queenstown offers flexible set up arrangements and will be a perfect addition to Queenstown’s tourism offering,” Mr Robson said.
“As well as regular timetabled excursions, she will be available for conference, incentive and event groups from late 2013, offering a new and exciting option not currently available in Queenstown,” Mr Robson said.
Mt Nicholas offers an idyllic location for remote check-ins and as a base for team-building orienteering type activities, before guests are whisked away on the Spirit of Queenstown to their centrally-located hotel or restaurant.
The station’s main woolshed is located right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and will be transformed into the heart of the experience, available as a pre-dinner function space or team-building base.
“Her limits are endless- an idyllic cruise on the lake while your group enjoys local award-winning wine and food, pre-dinner canapés watching the sun set over the Remarkables, transfers from the airport with KJet or remote check-ins at Mt Nicholas Station,” Mr Robson said.
“The Spirit of Queenstown is extremely versatile and we can’t wait for her maiden voyage on Lake Wakatipu. It’ll be a moment in history.”
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