Cruising upon Lake Wakatipu is one of the last remaining coal fired passenger ships operating in the southern hemisphere. The vintage steamship was originally built in Dunedin and once completed it was dismantled, shipped by rail to Kingston and then reassembled before being launched onto the lake where it has been transporting goods and passengers since 1912.
You can take a cruise aboard this magnificent vessel to Walter Peak High Country Farm to see a sheep station at work, enjoy dinner at the Colonels Homestead or take a high country horse trek. See below for the many options.
TSS Earnslaw Cruise
A 1 ½ hour scenic cruise on board the coal fired vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. You will cruise from Queenstown Bay to Walter Peak High Country Farm (without going ashore) and return. During the sailing the captain provides an interesting commentary as you enjoy spectacular views of Cecil and Walter Peaks and the western shores of Lake Wakatipu. The original steam engines can be seen in operation from the open viewing area. During the cruise the ship's pianist entertains with a variety of old favourites and you are encouraged to join in the sing-a-long around the piano. Guided tours of the vessel are available and you are welcome to visit the Fo'c'sle Gallery to view the historic displays. Tea, coffee and delicious cafe style food can be purchased on board from the Promenade Café/Bar.
TSS Earnslaw Walter Peak High Country Farm cruise
A return scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. Following the 40-minute outward voyage from Queenstown, you disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm where you can experience farming life. There is time to wander through the beautiful lakeside gardens and enjoy tea/coffee and home baking in the Colonel's Homestead, surrounded by views of the lake and mountains. Farm demonstrators take you on a walking tour of the farmyard and there is ample opportunity to view the farm animals - sheep, red deer and Scottish Highland cattle. Highlights of the farming experience are watching the farm demonstrator shear a sheep, and sheep dogs working stock. After the farmyard tour there is still time to do a little shopping and view a wool spinning demonstration, before boarding the TSS Earnslaw for the return cruise to Queenstown.
TSS Earnslaw Walter Peak Farm and BBQ lunch
A return scenic cruise Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. Following the 40-minute outward voyage from Queenstown, you disembark at Walter Peak where you are warmly welcomed. The BBQ is cooked on the terrace in front of the Colonel's Homestead overlooking Lake Wakatipu and is served either on the terrace, or when the weather is not suitable, inside the charming Colonel's Homestead.
Before, or after the BBQ, you may wander amongst the farm animals (sheep, red deer, Scottish Highland cattle) and join in the farmyard walking tour, which includes dog handling and sheep shearing demonstrations. There is also plenty of opportunity to relax in the magnificent lakeside gardens. Good value souvenir shopping is available at Walter Peak from the ‘Woolshed'.
Walter Peak Evening Dinner Cruise
Enjoy a return scenic cruise from downtown Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. On disembarking at Walter Peak you are warmly welcomed and escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming Colonel's Homestead. Relax in the unique ambience of the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, the heart of the stately homestead at Walter Peak. Here, you’ll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The delicious seasonal menu includes an expansive array of New Zealand and local produce, from succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie or grill, a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Then finish your meal with our irresistible desserts, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea & coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country. On the magical night-time cruise home, you can enjoy the camaraderie of a sing-a-long with the ship’s pianist or breathe in the fresh night air on the moonlit decks as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.
TSS Earnslaw cruise and Walter Peak Guided Cycling
Cruise across Lake Wakatipu on board the TSS Earnslaw vintage steamship to Walter Peak and then join this small group guided cycling tour. Cycle along a quiet country road through beautiful tussock high country and enjoy stunning views of the Von River, surrounding mountains and snow covered Mount Earnslaw at the head of Lake Wakatipu. You are accompanied by a van with cycle trailer which allows you to cycle as little or as much as you choose. An experienced guide is on hand to provide assistance and answer questions. Along the way visit Mavora Lakes, traditional musterers’ huts and learn about the neighbouring high country sheep and cattle stations. On arrival back at Walter Peak visit the Colonel’s Homestead before boarding the TSS Earnslaw for the return cruise back to Queenstown. Maximum group size is 9 per guide with 2-3 hours or 15-35 kms of riding available. Includes picnic lunch, hot drinks and afternoon tea. Bike and helmets are supplied.