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Proposal To Link Queenstown and Lake Te Anau

Multi Million Dollar Tourism Proposal To Link Queenstown and Lake Te Anau

An exciting $150 million tourism project that will bring considerable benefits to the Southern Lakes/ Fiordland region was launched in Queenstown today. (Tuesday Sept 7).

The Fiordland Link Experience will incorporate a catamaran, all terrain vehicle and monorail trip between Queenstown and Lake Te Anau.

The project was unveiled by Riverstone Holdings Ltd and will also be presented at a public meeting in Te Anau on Thursday (Sept 9).

The majority shareholder of Riverstone Holdings is Infinity Investment Group Holdings Ltd, led by CEO Bob Robertson of Wanaka who is also Riverstone's CEO. Other shareholders are Queenstown businessman Philip Phillips and a Singaporean Investment Company, Waterfall Communications Ltd.

Mr Robertson said the project would bring significant tourism growth and new investment to the region.

"This project will increase visitor growth with the least possible environmental impact, while further enhancing New Zealand as a leading tourism destination in key international target markets."

"The Lake Te Anau monorail terminus will feature kiosks and visitor information areas where Te Anau operators can showcase their attractions."

"The trip is simply breathtaking. It will take people across Lake Wakatipu by catamaran to Mt Nicholas Station, then into back country New Zealand by specially designed all terrain vehicles along the existing Von Road, before an amazing monorail journey through Beech forest and open countryside delivers them to Lake Te Anau," he said.

The founder of the monorail concept, Riverstone Holdings' Executive Director Philip Phillips, said that while the Fiordland Link Experience did not travel to Milford Sound, it had the potential to significantly reduce pressure on this area. The proposal would allow better management of tourist flows, and greatly improve access to alternative destinations for the 450,000 people who travel to Milford each year.

"The Fiordland Link Experience will be a significant positive factor in any Milford Sound solution," he said.

Mr Robertson stressed the trip would not travel through the National Park, and was designed at every level to deliver maximum visitor experience for minimum environmental impact.

"It will become an icon, a once in a lifetime opportunity to live the beauty and drama of New Zealand's Southern Lakes and Fiordland region."

The infrastructure required to operate the Fiordland Link Experience will also deliver regional development opportunities, particularly for Te Anau said Mr Robertson.

Approximately 100 engineering and construction jobs will be created by the project, and around 100 permanent jobs created in Te Anau and Queenstown once it was up and running. It would also encourage the development of new tourism activities in the region.

"There are areas where short walks can be developed, and at Lake Te Anau there is the potential to build a new wharf that will allow the development of lake trips into beautiful areas such as the little known Middle Fiord on Lake Te Anau," he said.

The Fiordland Link Experience is planned to be up and running within four years. This timeframe includes approximately two years' consultation and development, and two years of construction. "We're delighted to present a proposal that can benefit local communities while enhancing the visitor experience," said Mr Robertson.

"We're confident it will quickly become established as a 'must do' experience for New Zealanders and overseas visitors."

A detailed application for a concession to construct and operate the trip has been lodged with the Department of Conservation. This is supported by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The EIA will be subject to a rigorous and lengthy assessment before any decision is made to notify the application.

Full information relating to the proposal including the entire EIA is available at www.fiordlandlink.com.


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