Terms and Conditions

Queenstown Charters is a division of Southern Discoveries Limited (SDL), a wholly owned New Zealand company which has operated for over 50 years.

Southern Discoveries Limited

1. Insurance

SDL carries full Public Liability Insurance for all passengers travelling on any SDL vessels or vehicles.

2. Liability and Indemnity

Passengers travel at their own risk (to the extent permitted by law) and SDL is not responsible for any loss, damage, cost, expense or injury suffered by passengers or loss or damage to a passenger’s property.
Without limiting the foregoing, the following conditions apply:
a. In respect of all passengers, SDL is not liable for any loss, damage or delay caused by or arising from an event beyond the control of SDL, including any act of God, inevitable accident, riot, civil  commotion, strike, lock-out, stoppage or restraint of labour, regardless of the cause and whether partial or general.

b. SDL does not warrant that SDL services are available at any particular time or at all. SDL is not liable to a passenger or any other person:
(i) for any consequences arising from any variation or delay in the time of arrival or departure from any stop of any vehicle;
(ii) for any loss or damage as a result of a cancellation or any variation of the time of arrival or departure from any stop of any vehicle;
(iii) for damage to any property of a passenger; or
(iv) for the death of any passenger or other person or for injury, harm, disease or damage to health, whether physical, mental or otherwise (including mental or nervous shock or distress) suffered by a passenger or any other person.
c. If there is contributory negligence on the part of a passenger or other person, SDL’s liability is subject to the law relating to contributory negligence.

d. SDL may vary or cancel wholly or in part the scheduled services shown in SDL timetable or may vary the point at which SDL will pick up and set down passengers.
The passenger indemnifies SDL at all times against any loss, damage or cost suffered or incurred by SDL as a direct or indirect result of a breach by the passenger of its obligations under these terms and conditions.

3. Health & Safety

Health, safety and comfort is SDL’s primary concern. Prior to every cruise departure, the skipper either shows a safety video or gives clear safety instructions over the public address system. Passengers should listen carefully to these messages and comply with all aspects of safety advice. In the unlikely event of an emergency, passengers must obey all instructions from the SDL fully trained skipper and crew.

New Zealand has a ‘no fault’ government-backed medical injury treatment scheme administered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). Under ACC legislation, passengers are prevented from suing the operator for any mishap or misadventure. Should there be a medical incident or injury SDL will do everything in its power to organise prompt medical assistance. In the case of injury the cost of that assistance will be borne by the ACC scheme. The nearest medical centre to Milford Sound is located in Te Anau (120 kilometres away).

All passengers while in an area controlled by SDL must:
a. Act in a safe and reasonable manner
b. Cooperate with, and observe all instructions from SDL staff
c. Follow all signs and notices
d. Not smoke
e. Not consume alcohol unless available on SDL service
f. Not interfere with or use emergency equipment or emergency exits except in an emergency
g. Not behave in an unsafe, noisy, violent or antisocial manner
h. Not litter or tamper with or damage any property of SDL

Queenstown Charters

1. Prices

Charter rates are issued on a per hour basis and include GST. Any catering is at an additional cost. Prices are current at the time of quotation and are subject to change at our discretion.

2. Booking confirmation

A booking is not confirmed until the contract is signed and the specified deposit has been received. Once a booking has been requested, Southern Discoveries will confirm the date of travel. The final passenger numbers must be confirmed seven days prior to the date of travel and can be decreased free of charge up to a maximum of 20% of the confirmed numbers at seven days prior to date of travel.

 3. Cancellations

The following cancellation policy applies:

  • Cancellation of full reservation 30 days prior to departure results in a cancellation fee of 25% of the total contracted value
  • Cancellation of full reservation 21 days prior to departure results in a cancellation fee of 50% of the total contracted value
  • Cancellation of full reservation 14 days prior to departure results in a cancellation fee of 75% of the total contracted value
  • Cancellation of full reservation 7 days prior to departure results in a cancellation fee of 100% of the total contracted value

4. Disclaimer

Southern Discoveries reserve the right to amend charter departure times, cancel charter departures, amend the planned charter route and substitute vessels at any time for safety or operational reasons. Southern Discoveries also reserve the right to cancel a charter at any time due to unsafe weather conditions, vessel maintenance, natural disasters or any other unforeseen circumstance that affects normal operations.

In the event of a charter being cancelled by Southern Discoveries prior to departure, guests will receive any pre-ordered food and given the option of an alternative sailing date or full refund of the charter. If a charter needs to be cancelled part way through a sailing due to unforeseen circumstances, adverse weather affecting guest safety and comfort, unforeseen mechanical issue or any other issue, a partial refund will be offered.

Southern Discoveries will assist in making alternative arrangements if a charter is cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

5. Pick up and return times

Charter start and end times are to be agreed upon between the client and Southern Discoveries.

Guests not checked-in 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure will be cancelled with forfeiture of entire costs. Guests must vacate the vessel within 20 minutes of arrival back at the wharf. If a charter is delayed due to the client, additional expenses may be incurred.

6. Food and beverage

Alcohol may not be consumed while the vessel is tied up at the wharf. This includes prior to departure and on return. All alcohol containers must be empty on disembarking the vessel.

Spirit of Queenstown

Alcohol: Wine, beer, cider and a range of non-alcoholic beverages are available for purchase from the licensed onboard bar on board Spirit of Queenstown. Drinks can be arranged as a cash bar, on consumption or on a tab basis. Any drink tab must be settled before disembarking the vessel, or by an alternative agreement prior agreed with Southern Discoveries.

The client accepts full liability for all food and beverage items and products brought to the vessel. Southern Discoveries cannot be held responsible in any way.

On return charter evening cruises from Mt Nicholas, it may be required to have security guards on the vessel. Up to 60 guests, one security guard is required, and for over 60 guests, two security guards are required. These charges will be added to the total invoice.

Queenstown Discovery

The client must ensure that no more than one bottle of wine or six cans/330ml bottles of beer per person over the age of 18 years is brought onboard for consumption. Spirits are not permitted onboard. The client must provide a selection of non-alcoholic beverages onboard. Southern Discoveries reserve the right to terminate a charter if BYO alcohol limits are breached or exceeded.

Should the client opt to BYO alcohol, substantial food must be provided for all guests onboard. The client must state what food they will be cooking or bringing onboard, and any utensils required will be added to the per hour charter rate.

The client accepts full liability for all food and beverage items and products brought to the vessel. Southern Discoveries cannot be held responsible in any way.

7. Alcohol policy

Southern Discoveries reserves the right to refuse alcohol to any guest at any time during the charter. If a guest arrives under the influence of alcohol, Southern Discoveries reserve the right to refuse boarding to such guest.

Should there be any abusive, dangerous or inappropriate behaviour onboard while under the influence of alcohol or at anytime, Southern Discoveries reserve the right to arrange the removal of the guest/s from the vessel, or terminate the charter completely where there will be no refund of charter.

Southern Discoveries emphasise the risks of personal injury, loss of life or damage to or loss of property that can be sustained on vessels. Alcohol consumption by a guest does affect their liability to adapt to the conditions present on the lake. Southern Discoveries stresses the importance of moderation in alcohol consumptions levels.

Southern Discoveries is alleviated from any liability caused from guests not adhering to or conforming to stated recommendations and rules outlined by crew onboard the vessel.

Should there be an event for which security is required, additional fees will apply. Southern Discoveries is authorised to decide whether this is the case and will inform the client before the start of the event.

8. Swimming

By law, the skipper of the vessel is legally responsible for the safety of guests onboard. As a matter of safety, guests are not permitted to jump off the vessel and swim.

9. Smoking

For reasons of fire safety, this vessel is non-smoking.

 10. Damage

The client agrees to replace or pay for the repair of any damage to the vessel including furnishings or equipment caused by the client or any guests during the charter.

11. Skipper responsibility

Southern Discoveries will provide a skipper for the charter. The skipper shall be responsible for the running and safe navigation of the vessel, and the client and guests will follow the skipper’s judgement as to sailing, weather, anchorage and all other pertinent maritime and safety matters. Should the client or guests disregard the lawful instruction of the skipper, Southern Discoveries authorise the skipper to return to the berth and terminate the charter.

Contact Us

Queenstown Charters
St Omer Wharf, 110 Beach Street
Queenstown 9300
New Zealand

Charter Enquiries:
+64 (0)3 441 8824

General Enquiries:
+64 (0)3 441 1137