Walter Peak - An Epic Day Trip!
Welcome to the adventure capital of the world! Leave your city life behind and immerse yourself in a town full of fun and laughter, offering you the rare opportunity to enjoy every minute of every day you spend here.
Queenstown is a tourism destination located in the south of the South Island of New Zealand. In addition to boosting the title of adventure capital of the world, many would say that it’s a truly universal town. It has a little of everything for everyone - action sports, a vibrant cafe, bar and restaurant scene, retreats, shopping & vineyards, mountains and lakes! Queenstown also delivers exceptional tourism in every season with summer sports equalling the popularity of the stereotypical winter ones.
Historically, the discovery of gold led to a rapid population growth in the 19th century, in which the township flourished and commerce developed at a staggering rate.
The TSS Earnslaw at Walter Peak
The historic and iconic coal fueled steamer "TSS Earnslaw" was commissioned by New Zealand Railways and delivered to Queenstown, in early 1912 to service and connect remote farms located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and was tasked with safely moving all manners of cargo, from food staples to animals, mail, building supplies and people. After a brief break in the mid 20th century, accredited to a downturn in business due to the creation of the national highway system, the Earnslaw or the “lady of the Lake’ as she is affectionately known as, was sold to a major local tourism provider in 1968 and was promptly restored to become an attraction in her own right. The TSS Earnslaw is the only coal fired steamship in operation in the southern hemisphere, making her one of the most unique experiences in the world
Today the Earnslaw serves the tourist and will faithfully transport you to Walter Peak, a high country working sheep farm which sits some 17 kms away across the Wakatipu on the Western shores. Initial Maori occupation had the local tribes using the sheltered bays as camps for greenstown foraging and Moa hunting, and it wasn’t until the 1860’s that Von Tunselman attempted the first farm. Alas, after numerous disasters, the ownership of the farm was bounced around before settling with the Mackenzies in the late 1880’s.
Sheep Shearing at Walter Peak
Ownership stayed with the family for over 80 years and are credited with creating Walter Peak Station and laying the foundations for the tourism destination that is now known as Walter Peak High Country Farm (a parcel of land which had been previously split off from the main Walter Peak Station), which has been hosting visitors since the 1960’s.
Visits to the farm on the Earnslaw will introduce you to aspects of typical New Zealand rural farm life. Farm tours include sheep mustering and shearing, horse trekking and electric farm biking. Stay on the shores and enjoy a gourmet BBQ lunch or dinner, or simply compliment your farm tour with traditional scones and tea in the idyllic setting of the Colonel’s Homestead with its beautiful lakeside gardens which was originally built in 1902, and carefully reconstructed in 1977 following an accidental fire.
Then it’s back to Queenstown, after an enjoyable day of activities starting and finishing on the iconic Lady of the Lake.