The History of Skyline Queenstown
- As early as the 1920’s there were ideas of putting a roadway to Bob’s Peak. It was not until 1961 that Mr Ian Hamilton (the owner of a small bus company) had the strength of his convictions and had a very steep road (1.5 miles with an average grade of 1 in 7 and in places 1 in 4.5) constructed so he could bring visitors up to this vantage point by bus.
- Mr Hamilton was tragically killed in a car accident and his shares were bought by Mr John Dumble. Skyline Tours was formed by Mr Hensman, Mr Dumble, and Mr Cliff M. Broad. In November 1963 construction of a Chalet on Bob’s Peak was started.
- The Chalet on Bob’s Peak was officially opened by the mayor of Queenstown, Mr George Cochrane, in January 1964. Skyline Tours used two minibuses to ferry clientele to this vantage point or, alternatively, people could walk up, receiving a certificate for doing so.
- Queenstown Borough Council gave permission to use the land for a cableway to the chalet.
- Skyline Enterprises was formed as a public company with the purpose of building an aerial Gondola from Queenstown up to the chalet. Quotes for cableways were obtained from several overseas companies and it was decided to install a gondola type by Pomagalski of France in conjunction with C.W.F. Hamilton and Co., Christchurch. Construction of the cableway was started in August.
- The first Gondola travelled up Bob's Peak on November 17, 1967.
- The world-famous multi-coloured bubble cars are replaced with the new “Doppelmayr” lift from Austria. The restaurant and base terminal was refurbished.
- In 1994 the Skyline complex underwent a $6 million upgrade. The project can be described as an ambitious design which was an amazing engineering feat. A new wall of 30 tonnes of plate glass was installed. This new, curved wall expanded the already amazing vista to take in views of Coronet Peak and the valley towards Arrowtown. It was opened on October 27th 1994 by Murray McCully, Associate Tourism Minister.
- Skyline wins New Zealand Tourism Award Winner for 'Best Visitor Attraction'.
- New Luge track opens at the Queenstown site, after the success of the Luge in Rotorua.
- Skyline wins New Zealand Tourism Award finalist for 'Best Visitor Attraction'.
- Skyline hosts Olympic torch relay for Sydney Olympics. In November 2000, Skyline celebrated 1 million Luge rides at Skyline Luge – Queenstown.
- Skyline is a tourism award finalist for 'Best Adventure Tourism' product.
- Hosted Commonwealth Games Queen’s Jubilee Relay.
- Kiwi Haka opens for business at the Skyline Queenstown complex.
- Skyline welcomed its 10 millionth visitor late in the year.
- Skyline Gondola celebrates its 40th anniversary.
- The whole lower level of the Skyline complex undergoes refurbishment. With a modern bar, lounge and newly renovated restaurant making it as beautiful inside as the view.
- Another major year for complex development. The Gondola was upgraded which increased its capacity by 60% and the bottom terminal ticket office was completely re-designed to cater for the larger groups. A new Gondola photos department was also set up in the development of the bottom terminal. Up at the top, the Wakatipu room was renovated along with the Level 2 corridor transforming the space into a contemporary function, conference and special event facility.
- The Queenstown Luge site undergoes an upgrade.
- Skyline Gondola, Restaurant & Luge gets re-branded to Skyline Queenstown.
- New Zealand's first Gondola assisted bike lift begins with a 4 month trial season from Jan - May. It's so successful that the first official Queenstown Mountain Biking season opens on the 17th Sept 2011 to allow bikers access to the Queenstown Bike Park for an 8 month season. The souvenir shop also joins the refurbishment list as it's renovated this year to modernise the shop within the rest of the Skyline complex.
- Stargazing tours open for business to show off our incredible night sky.
- The cafe undergoes re-development and is transformed into a modern casual dining eatery called Market Kitchen.
Into the Future . . .
Skyline Queenstown is investing to build a brand new 10-seater gondola and iconic new base terminal building, as well as undergo a major expansion of its upper complex, in order to accommodate the anticipated growth in visitor numbers to Queenstown over the next 50 years and improve the overall guest experience.
For more information please visit: Skyline Queenstown Development