Community thanks heroes

Winter in Wakatipu: The TSS Earnslaw PICTURE: ANDREW CLARK

Fifty local unsung heroes are getting their own cruise at this year’s Queenstown Winter Festival.

Real Journeys is set to host a special ‘Thank You Cruise’ on the Earnslaw steamship during the opening night party on June 23.

The hour-long cruise along the Frankton Arm will end back at Steamer Wharf just before the fireworks let rip.

Anyone from Otago or Southland is eligible to be nominated from today until June 1 – via the Winter Festival website.

Festival boss Lisa Buckingham says those who meet the criteria will have given up their time without being paid for it.

“Volunteers – just general people that have done something worthwhile within our community that often wouldn’t get the recognition they deserve.

“This is a really nice opportunity to thank them for their efforts.”

Each hero will be provided with a drink and canapes on board and given three extra tickets to bring loved ones along.

Real Journeys boss Richard Lauder says: “Since we can’t fit everyone on board, we figured the best way would be to invite those unsung heroes who work so hard to make our community the amazing place it is.”

A selection committee from Real Journeys and WinterFest will have the final say.

All volunteers on the cruise will be in to nab a giveaway that includes a Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ lunch and farm tour, and be the person who toots the Earnslaw’s horn to signal the start of the fireworks.

Real Journeys is the new official sponsor of the opening party and fireworks.

Queenstown Winter Festival runs from June 22 to 25.