Major milestone for $60m upgrade


Skyline Queenstown has pushed a major button on its proposed $60 million gondola redevelopment.

The tourism giant lodged a resource consent application this week for a total overhaul of its famous tourist attraction overlooking the resort town.

To cater for predicted growth in visitor numbers over the next 30 years, it proposes replacing its four-seat gondola system - installed in 1987 - with a state-of-the-art 10-seat gondola.

Capacity would lift from 1100 guests per hour up to 3000.

There’ll also be a major expansion of the upper complex, built in 1994.

The Stratosfare restaurant would extend from 330 to 650 seats, the viewing deck would enlarge from 68 square metres to 430sq m, and there’d be an almost-doubling of conference/event capacity to cater for up to 1000 delegates.

Local award-winning architect Michael Wyatt says: “This building, when viewed from town, will give a similar impression to the current complex on Bob’s Peak, but it will be adjusted to make it more interesting.”

From the complex, a new four-seater chair would access Skyline Queenstown’s luge attraction, replacing the current two-seater chairlift.

Wyatt’s also designed a striking new lower terminal building.

The redevelopment should be finished in July 2018, following a two- to three-month closure.

Skyline Queenstown boss Lyndon Thomas says community support for the project, unveiled in June, has been overwhelming.

He says: “It’s pleasing to see that we are getting good feedback from the community, industry, our guests and team members as to how they want to see our offering in the future.”

Mark Quickfall, chairman of parent company Skyline Enterprises, adds: “We know Queenstown’s visitor numbers will accelerate by 2030 and we are dedicated to providing infrastructure that will accommodate this growth.

“It’s an investment for Skyline, our local community and the tourism industry.”

Skyline Queenstown’s original gondola began operating 49 years ago, taking 56,333 people up to Bob’s Peak in its first year.

That figure rose to 787,000 in the past financial year.