For sale: one hovercraft

By Matthew Martin


Rotorua's Dennis Williamson brought a new and exciting tourist attraction to the shores of Lake Rotorua in 1990, in the form of two hovercraft.

For six years he operated the craft on the lake, taking people on a unique journey over the sulphur flats near the mouth of the Puarenga Stream.

But in 1996, after a major storm destroyed his landing pad at the Rotorua Lakefront, Mr Williamson pulled the plug on the operation and put his one remaining hovercraft into storage.

Now the hovercraft is on the market and was recently posted on the Trade Me auction website for what Mr Williamson described as a real bargain, with a starting price of $60,000.

Since the craft has been in storage he has been working on upgrading it, refitting it with a near new 300hp V6 Nissan turbo petrol motor and a new skirt.

The craft can carry six people but is not allowed on the roads as, among other things, it does not have any brakes.

"We started redeveloping it in a hangar at the Rotorua Airport, but the money ran out and it went into storage for seven or eight years.

"It runs well but someone would have to do a bit more work on it if they want to use it commercially."

Mr Williamson said he would be happy to help the person who bought it with the remaining work.

"But, if you want to use it as a toy, it's fine," he said.

The craft originally ran a 13B rotary motor, which was "as noisy as hell and ran really hot. But we went back to a normal combustion engine and it's as quiet as any car."

He said the craft took a bit of work to learn how to drive but he was confident he could teach anyone the basics in an hour.


 


"They are a lot of fun ... it's a little bit like driving a jet boat.

"I believe it's the lightest, fully enclosed hovercraft in the world available for under US$1 million.

"And it looks like it's something that's just dropped in from outer space."

Mr Williamson can be contacted at kwkcat@xtra.co.nz, or go to www.Trade Me.co.nz and search for the listing under "hovercraft".

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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