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Southern Discoveries’ Spirit of Queenstown Home Safe

Southern Discoveries’ Spirit of Queenstown Home Safe and Sound On Lake Wakatipu

Multi-million dollar catamaran Spirit of Queenstown arrived safe and sound at her new home on Lake Wakatipu yesterday afternoon (Thursday August 22).

Flanked by two KJet Jet boats, the ‘Spirit’ glided her way seamlessly into Queenstown Bay bang on time at 3pm and was greeted by staff and the general public who clapped and cheered as she docked at O’Regans Wharf.

Those who want to take a closer look will soon be able to do so.

There will be an open day on the Spirit of Queenstown next Tuesday August 27 for the general public to get their first glimpse of the interiors. People will be able to get up-close and discover what this new state-of-the-art vessel has to offer from 11am to 1pm.

There will be opportunities to check out the open wheelhouse and people can have their photo taken with the ‘Skipper’ and staff will be on hand to answer any questions.

Queenstown’s newest tourism attraction has had quite a journey over the last few weeks, taking to the open seas off Brisbane, Australia on July 21 for sea trials.

After three-and-a-half days at sea, she arrived on schedule into Bluff, Southland last Thursday August 15 where she spent the weekend being waterproofed and readied for her road trip north to Queenstown.

The purpose-built 26m high-speed catamaran successfully navigated the narrow streets of Invercargill on Monday 19 August, a striking sight as she made her way through the city bringing traffic to a halt and capturing the attention of the general public en route.

It took just two days for the ‘Spirit’ to make her way by road to Kingston, spending the night outside Athol on Monday, and she was lowered by crane into Lake Wakatipu at 12pm yesterday.

Supervised the whole way by engineers from Australian boat building company Aluminium Marine Pty Ltd of Brisbane, the ‘Spirit’ was skippered by long-serving Southern Discoveries captain Richard Moore who steered the catamaran into Queenstown Bay and her mooring at O’Regans Wharf.

Southern Discoveries owner Sir Clifford Skeggs jumped aboard the impressive ship for her maiden lake voyage, accompanied by his son David Skeggs, Managing Director of the Skeggs Group Ltd and close family and friends.

Sir Clifford expressed his joy that Spirit of Queenstown had arrived safely in her new home.

“It’s nice to see her finally arrive and it was great to be on board as she made her way into the Bay. Lovely to see a good crowd of people welcome her in as well,” said Sir Clifford.

“She runs really well, so smooth and quiet.”

Southern Discoveries’ Skipper Richard Moore said the boat was “a dream to captain”.

“She’s a real little ship. Made for the ocean but will live on the lake. I’m looking forward to starting the trips to Mt Nicholas,” said Mr Moore.

Spirit of Queenstown will operate unique tours to Mt Nicholas Station for an authentic and nature-based experience.

From early November she will carry up to 150 passengers from Queenstown across the pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu to Mt Nicholas which 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 a woolshed experience, half day high country walks, cycling and musterer safari trips into the high country. 

Details of the official launch and maiden public voyage will be announced shortly and will include a Maori blessing.


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