Multi-million dollar Spirit of Queenstown makes her way South in time for summer
Thursday 25 July 2013, 3:11PM
Queenstown’s newest tourism attraction moved a step closer to opening today (July 25 2013) when
Southern Discoveries’ multi-million dollar catamaran was launched into the Coral Sea to start her
long journey to Lake Wakatipu.
The purpose-built 26m high-speed catamaran, which will operate unique tours to Mt Nicholas Station,
successfully took to the waves off Brisbane’s coast at high-tide to undergo sea trials for
approximately 10 days.
Launched from shipyards 60km south of Brisbane, the newly-completed Spirit of Queenstown will sail
down the coast of Australia to Eden in New South Wales, the closest point to New Zealand for
Two Southern Discoveries’ skippers from Queenstown and Milford Sound and the company’s New
Zealand-based engineer fly to Brisbane on August 1 to prepare the vessel for sailing to New
Zealand. Alongside them will be Muzza Christie and friend Stew Grant from Wanaka taking care of the
entertainment and culinary requirements.
Good weather pending, the trip across the oceans via New Zealand’s West Coast and down to Bluff
should take just three days. The Spirit of Queenstown will then be partly dismantled to begin her
land voyage through Southland and Central Otago towns, before officially launching on Lake Wakatipu
at Kingston around mid-August.
Southern Discoveries General Manager John Robson said it was very exciting to see “our amazing
boat” unveiled for the first time.
“It’s great to see ‘The Spirit’ in all her glory and the team are excited to get on board and
experience her on the open seas before bringing her home to Lake Wakatipu,” Mr Robson
“She looks every bit as grand as we thought she would.”
“The Spirit of Queenstown will be given a formal Maori blessing when she arrives in Bluff and again
when she enters the sparkling waters of Lake Wakatipu. It’ll be a spectacular sight to see this
huge catamaran transported through the countryside and moor up at O’Regans Wharf.”
The Spirit of Queenstown 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
Mt Nicholas 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
Experiences on offer at the normally inaccessible Mt Nicholas Station, which has undergone some
developments in order to host trips, will include day walks, cycling and musterer safari trips into
the high country.
“The Spirit of Queenstown offers flexible set up arrangements and will be a perfect addition to
Queenstown’s tourism offering,” Mr Robson said.
“As well as regular timetabled excursions, she will be available for conference, incentive and
event groups from late 2013, offering a new and exciting option not currently available in
Queenstown,” Mr Robson said.
Mt Nicholas offers an idyllic location for remote check-ins and as a base for team-building
orienteering type activities, before guests are whisked away on the Spirit of Queenstown to their
centrally-located hotel or restaurant.
The station’s main woolshed is located right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and will be transformed
into the heart of the experience, available as a pre-dinner function space or team-building
“Her limits are endless- an idyllic cruise on the lake while your group enjoys local award-winning
wine and food, pre-dinner canapés watching the sun set over the Remarkables, transfers from the
airport with KJet or remote check-ins at Mt Nicholas Station,” Mr Robson said.
“The Spirit of Queenstown is extremely versatile and we can’t wait for her maiden voyage on Lake
Wakatipu. It’ll be a moment in history.”
The newly-built Spirit of Queenstown gets ready to set sail. CREDIT: Southern
The Spirit of Queenstown gets ready to sail to Bluff, New Zealand. CREDIT: Southern
The Spirit of Queenstown makes her way south to Queenstown. CREDIT: Southern