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Southern Discoveries buys shares in Milford Sound Lodge

August 30 2013

Southern Discoveries buys shares in Milford Sound Lodge

The oldest and most established tourism operator in Milford Sound, Southern Discoveries, has purchased a shareholding in Milford Sound Lodge.

Milford Sound Lodge Directors Mike McConachie and Dave Kluken, who have operated the lodge for almost 14 years, welcomed the premier tourism company’s investment and the opportunity to work together in an iconic part of New Zealand.

Southern Discoveries General Manager John Robson said the collaboration was the continuation of a “solid working history” and a desire to support the growth of tourism product in Milford Sound.

“We have worked closely with Milford Sound Lodge for a number of years and are delighted to have the opportunity to invest in this iconic lodge, as well as the region,” he said.

“We have a long history with Milford Sound Lodge as they previously ran the Blue Duck Bar & Café in Milford that we now operate. Southern Discoveries’ and Milford Sound Lodge staff already work closely together, including participating in our Sinbad Sanctuary project.”

The Sinbad Sanctuary project is a partnership between Southern Discoveries, Fiordland Conservation Trust and Department of Conservation to protect native species in Sinbad Gully that lies at the base of Mitre Peak.

Milford Sound Lodge Director Mike McConachie said Southern Discoveries’ investment would enable an accelerated redevelopment of the lodge over the next 18 months, commencing with the construction of eight new ensuite chalets for the up-coming summer season.

Located on a spectacular site beside the Cleddau River, Milford Sound Lodge provides a wide range of accommodation options including luxury chalets, private rooms, dormitories and camping sites. It is a popular base for travellers to explore the area over multiple days.

Director Mike McConachie said the partnership came from a shared desire to “protect the natural wonders of Milford Sound so that future generations, both those that visit and those that choose to live here, can continue to enjoy them.”

“The planned development means we can better cater to current market demands by offering a wilderness base with more choice for independent travellers who are looking for comfort and privacy after spending the day actively exploring the region,” said Mr McConachie.

“We aim to create a world-class facility to enhance the visitor experience and to encourage our guests to slow down and connect with this amazing environment.

“Our staff are attracted here for the same reasons our guests are and enjoy sharing their passion for the area.”

As well as the shareholding in Milford Sound Lodge and ownership of the Blue Duck Café & Bar, Southern Discoveries operates four vessels at Milford Sound, ranging in capacity from 35 to 400 passengers, offering the widest range of trips and experiences in Milford Sound.

The company operates Scenic Cruises, the Encounter Nature Cruise and Discover More Cruise, which incorporates a visit to the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory, New Zealand’s only floating underwater observatory.

Southern Discoveries also owns and operates Harrisons Cove Kayaking, four information centres in Te Anau and Queenstown, and Te Anau-based coach service Go Milford.

The company operates the Queenstown Discovery which provides day and charter cruises on Lake Wakatipu. It also owns 50% of KJet, Queenstown's original Jet boat operator.

The purchase by Southern Discoveries is in line with a number of significant investments the company has made in its operation and product offerings over the last four years.

Earlier this month Southern Discoveries’ new catamaran ‘Spirit of Queenstown’ arrived in Queenstown after crossing the Tasman and taking to the road from Bluff to Kingston before being lowered into Lake Wakatipu. Spirit of Queenstown will commence operation in November, offering a range of tourism products at Mt Nicholas Station.

ENDS

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