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Millions invested in new high-speed catamaran

Media Release from Southern Discoveries
February 5 2013

South Island tourism operator invests millions in new high-speed catamaran

Premier South Island tourism company Southern Discoveries is continuing to invest in new business opportunities after signing on the dotted line for a multi-million-dollar new high-speed catamaran.

The purpose-built 26m high-speed catamaran, to be known as the Spirit of Queenstown, will launch for the start of the 2013/14 summer season.

She 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.

Southern Discoveries will be the only company offering excursions to Mt Nicholas Station, which will undergo some developments in order to host the trip.

Designed by Brett Crowther of Incat Crowther, a very reputable boat designer with several examples of their designs already operating in New Zealand, construction will be by Aluminium Marine Pty Ltd of Brisbane.

The finished catamaran will be sailed to New Zealand and then transported from Bluff to Kingston where she will be launched on Lake Wakatipu.

Southern Discoveries General Manager John Robson said the decision to invest in the single-level catamaran was a significant one that reflected the entrepreneurial and forward thinking visions 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 re-branded from Milford Sound Red Boats to Southern Discoveries, acquired Te Anau-based coach and tour operation Go Milford, invested in a 50% shareholding in KJet (formerly Kawarau Jet) and re-opened the Milford Discovery Centre and Milford Deep Underwater Observatory.

In addition, the company 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,” said Mr Robson.

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


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