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Luxury Encounter cruise famil in Milford Sound

Media Release from Tourism Holdings Limited
October 25 2006

Luxury Encounter cruise famil in Milford Sound

A group of 35 frontline staff and agents from Te Anau and Queenstown were treated to an encounter with nature on a familiarisation trip on Milford Sound’s latest small luxury boat nature cruise.

Tourism Holdings Limited has launched Milford Sound Encounter Cruises on the most comfortable and luxurious small boat in the Sound, and this week the trip lived up to its name with sightings of up to a dozen playful bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and birdlife.

The trip caters for visitors looking for a more interactive and natural experience of the scenic icon of New Zealand, delivering up close and personal experiences with nature.

The less wary were also treated to an obligatory drenching from powerful cascading waterfalls as they attempted to catch pure glacial water in a cup, always a tricky one after heavy rain.

Skippered by the aptly-named Fjord Ellis (named after the fjords of the Sound where he lived with his parents) and with two roving nature hosts on board, the trip proved enjoyable and interactive, as agents stroked smooth greenstone (pounamu), learned how to recognise crystals of garnet and potential gold seams in the near vertical Sound walls, and viewed marine life and rare coral in the Milford Deep Underwater Observatory.

Operations Manager John Robson said the Encounter Nature Cruise was “not just another small boat cruise”.

“This is unabashedly the most attractive small boat in Milford Sound, but what makes this trip is the people running it,” he said. “Fjord has been a skipper here for three or four years and his passion and love of this area comes across in everything he says and does.

“People come for the scenery, but they remember the person to person interaction and the honesty that rings true in how Fjord and the hosts interact with them. The feedback we’ve had in the first few weeks of operation has been superb.”

The THL-owned boat was refitted last year at a cost of half a million dollars. An upper deck has covered seating for year-round unobstructed viewing, and walkways around the entire boat for easy access to photo opportunities.


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