Media release

Transport partnership developing Lake Wakatipu water ferry business case

Friday 1 February 2019

The ferry is among several options being considered to improve transport in Queenstown and its surrounds

The transport partnership between ORC, QLDC and the NZ Transport Agency is exploring the business case for a Lake Wakatipu public water ferry service.

ORC Chairman Stephen Woodhead said, “We recognise that the Lake can become a natural highway, with people commuting across it much like they do in Auckland, Sydney and other destinations near water.”

The business case will determine the viability of a ferry service to attract commercial operators. The water ferry is among several options being considered to ease congestion.

NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Jim Harland said, “Given Queenstown is wrapped around lake Wakatipu it is great to see this idea being developed, which potentially will improve connection while simultaneously reducing traffic congestion.”

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult is pleased to see progress on alternative ways of getting around Queenstown.

“We have seen unprecedented growth in use of the $2 bus system since it was introduced in Queenstown back in 2017 and it is increasingly evident that any form of public transport will be a popular alternative for people wanting to get around town.

“We are very supportive of looking closely at how we can utilise Lake Wakatipu to provide more public transport options for our residents and visitors,” he said.

At this early stage of the process, the group is holding workshops in Queenstown, working towards a draft business case, set to be completed in late-April, which will be followed by a consultation process.

According to Nick Donnelly, ORC Director of Corporate Services, “There are a number of factors we need to consider to ensure the price is right, and the operation works reliably for the commuter.”

The transport partnership, which is made up of the Otago Regional Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council, and New Zealand Transport Agency, is an integrated program working together to plan the future of transport in Queenstown.



Eleanor Ross
Manager Communication Channels
027 558 9914