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Milford Discovery Centre opened in 1995 completes refurbishment in 2010

Dorothy - 17/05/2010


At the end of 1995 the remarkable Milford Deep Underwater Observatory – now known as the Milford Discovery Centre - was opened in Harrison Cove in Milford Sound.

Early in 2000 I had the chance of visiting Milford Sound and taking a launch trip which included a visit to the observatory. I wrote an NZine article about this fascinating visit and the history of this unique building.

The Southern Lakes region of New Zealand's South Island was rated the top outdoor and adventure destination in the South Pacific according to the Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2010. This area includes Fiordland.

For those who are not able or inclined to take part in adventures demanding a high degree of physical fitness a visit to the Milford Discovery Centre provides a venture into a new environment and extends the visitors' visual horizons.

Every effort is made to maintain and develop the visual experience at the Centre.

Fiona Woodham sent the following media release about the Milford Discovery Centre from Southern Discoveries in April 2010.

Final panels 'drop in' to Milford Discovery Centre

The spectacular Milford Discovery Centre has had its final panelling choppered into Milford Sound, signalling the final stages of a $300,000 refurbishment and structural redevelopment.

The structure is the only one of its kind in the Piopiotahi Marine Reserve, where visitors descend more than 10m below the surface to marvel at spectacular marine life in its natural habitat.

The Discovery Centre has operated in Milford Sound for 14 years and the significant investment in the refurbishment was driven by a desire to create more of a 'wow' factor for customers and offer a more interactive and educational experience.

The 29 information panels, ranging in size from 3.4m high by 2.7m wide, will enable visitors to 'learn above before venturing below'.

The panels were designed by Southern Discoveries and Jonathan Sagar of Voice Brand Agency, and constructed and laminated in Invercargill by Grant Elliotte of Signworld before making the over 270km journey to Milford by road.

There they were picked up by helicopter pilot Jeff Shanks of Milford Helicopters and carefully lowered onto the pontoon alongside the centre in Harrison Cove.

Southern Discoveries General Manager John Robson said the final stage of moving the panels to the centre last Wednesday was "quite an achievement."

"There were definitely a few people holding their breath as in true Milford style there was a little bit of precipitation and it wasn't exactly a blue sky day," he said.

The helicopter carrying panels passes by Mitre Peak
The helicopter carrying panels passes by Mitre Peak
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John Stitt (front) and Nick Pauson of the Southern Discoveries' Milford maintenance team help gently lower panels to the Discovery Centre pontoon.
John Stitt (front) and Nick Pauson of the Southern Discoveries' Milford maintenance team help gently lower panels to the Discovery Centre pontoon.
Click here to view a larger version

"It feels great to finally put the icing on the cake and enable visitors to have a truly informative experience.

"It was heartening to see the enthusiasm and interest from customers as we were installing the panels.

Customers admire new panels at the Milford Discovery Centre as they are installed
Customers admire new panels at the Milford Discovery Centre as they are installed
Click here to view a larger version

"The new-look centre creates a more interactive environment for children and visitors alike while providing visitors the opportunity to delve into the history, geology and environment of Piopiotahi (Milford Sound)."

"The new Discovery Centre is the only place in New Zealand where visitors can learn about the glacial formations, the unique marine life, environmental initiatives, Maori legends and early European settlers."

Southern Discoveries, which operates the Discovery Centre along with the Blue Duck Café and Bar in Milford Sound, offers the most modern cruising experience in Milford Sound with a fleet of three spacious catamarans and the Encounter Cruise.



 
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