Southern Discoveries is launching its new fleet of glass-topped coaches taking passengers from Queenstown and Te Anau to its Milford Sound cruises.
The operator will officially launch its three new purpose-built, low-emission Scania 400EB coaches this Sunday after trialling and testing the service over winter.
The Queenstown-based company announced in February that it was entering the resort’s competitive coach sector by committing close to $2m to launch its own fleet to provide a “seamless” experience to customers seeking a cruise at Milford Sound.
“With visitor numbers to Milford Sound continuing to rise, we’re expecting strong demand for our new coach and cruise day trips from Queenstown,” said Southern Discoveries chief executive Tim Hunter in a statement.
“The road to Milford Sound is a tourism experience in itself, and these new coaches will enable us to offer a seamless service from Queenstown, on vehicles and vessels that are purpose-built for sightseeing.”
The new coaches will feature an extra-wide glass roof and reclining seats and will run twice-a-day over summer with pick-ups in Queenstown and Te Anau. Summer pricing starts on October 1 and begins at $199 for an adult and $99 for a child from Queenstown.
About nine companies currently offer coach and day trip services on the competitive Queenstown to Milford route costing around $240 per passenger for a round trip.
The launch of the new coach and cruise products comes as Southern Discoveries celebrates impressive growth with significant investment over the past eight years in its Milford Sound and Queenstown operations, said Hunter.
Other new experiences introduced by Southern Discoveries over recent years included kayaking in Milford Sound, scenic cruises on Lake Wakatipu and half-day cycling and high-country farm experiences in Queenstown.