Walter Peak Independent Cycling

This is your chance to pedal into an incredible part of New Zealand’s stunning backcountry. A non-guided cycling option for experienced cyclists.

  • Explore the quiet backcountry road behind Walter Peak in your own time
  • Suitable for experienced cyclists only
  • Price includes bike transfer and cruise on the TSS Earnslaw Cruise to and from Walter Peak 

Booking Requests

Please contact us directly for all booking requests for the Walter Peak Independent Cycling trip. [email protected] or 0800 656 501.


More Information

Take your own bike across Lake Whakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak before exploring at your own leisure.

With this non-guided cycling option. You cruise across Lake Whakatipu on board the TSS Earnslaw and then explore the very scenic Back Road on your own bicycle (or one you’ve independently hired). The countryside is stunning as you climb through a golden tussocked valley into the rainforest surrounding the Mavora Lakes, where you can tour several Lord of the Rings locations.

Extra information

  • Moderate fitness recommended
  • This cycle activity is suitable for experienced cyclists only
  • Contact us for timetable information
  • Please note: The TSS Earnslaw undergoes annual maintenance from 15 May - 26 June 2023 and will not be operating during this time.

Key Information

  • You can hire mountain bikes in Queenstown from Outside Sports or other local suppliers
  • You need to be fully self-sufficient with food and drinks and to be well equipped in terms of gear and clothing. The cycling route along the Back Road is remote and there are no shops or other services of any kind
  • Safety helmets must be worn on the road and cyclists must not enter adjoining privately owned farmland
  • In the colder months be aware there are fewer daylight hours
  • There is no accommodation on the western side of Lake Whakatipu, so it is important cyclists ensure they make their return cruise back to Queenstown

How to book this trip

This trip cannot be booked online, so please contact us by phone or email to make your reservation. 

It is essential that you allow adequate time to make your return cruise to Queenstown.

Departure Location

RealNZ Visitor Centre on Steamer Wharf, 88 Beach Street, Queenstown Bay

What to bring

  • Mountain bike
  • Safety helmet
  • Bike repair kit
  • Day pack
  • Lunch, drink/snacks
  • Walking shoes
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm sweater/fleece jacket
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses/sunhat
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera
  • Personal medication including for asthma and allergies.

About the TSS Earnslaw

TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship docked in Queenstown

TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship, 1912

The TSS Earnslaw is an integral part of Queenstown’s pioneering history and to this day a Queenstown icon.

She was commissioned by New Zealand Railways to service the communities around Lake Whakatipu. Launched in the same year as the Titanic, the TSS Earnslaw’s maiden voyage was on 18 October 1912.

Soon known as The Lady of the Lake, she provided an essential link between the isolated farming communities along the lake and the outside world. At 48 metres long, she was the biggest boat on the Lake and carried passengers, sheep, cattle, mail and supplies.

Nearly scrapped in 1968, she was rescued and purchased by Real Journeys and put to work once again carrying passengers around the Lake. Since then the TSS Earnslaw has been painstakingly restored to its original condition – everything you see is pretty much like it was a 100 years ago. Today, the TSS Earnslaw is one of the only coal fired steamship in operation in the southern hemisphere, making her one of the most unique experiences in the world.

The TSS Earnslaw has featured in several movies including a cameo in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as an Amazon River Boat. Parts of the trawler SS Venture in Peter Jackson’s King Kong were inspired by the TSS Earnslaw. Famous composer Ron Goodwin composed a piece of music inspired by the rhythm of the TSS Earnslaw’s engines.

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In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions our customers ask about our trips. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.

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