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For a dining experience like no other, cruise across Lake Whakatipu on the iconic TSS Earnslaw and discover Queenstown’s incomparable fine dining destination.
Cruise aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw across to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Once at the lakeside Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant savour the delicious aromas as our chef has the best of local produce sizzling away on the grill.
Overlooking Lake Whakatipu and Queenstown's alpine scenery, the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak High Country Farm is the perfect place to spend a few hours. Its colonial architecture and sweeping grounds evoke the elegance of a bygone era.
Our lunch menu has been refreshed with the introduction of our new executive chef. They’ve enhanced the seasonal menu with new salads, vegetables and a variety of succulent meats cooked on the wood-fired BBQ. We do not offer seafood for lunch, but vegetarian options are available and there are delectable desserts to make room for too.
An entertaining farm demonstration is also included or you can explore the beautiful lakeside gardens.
Things you should know
The TSS Earnslaw will undergo its annual maintenance from 30 May - 8 July 2022 and will not be operating during this time.
Walter Peak BBQ Dining excursions will operate from 25 June - 8 July 2022 at a discounted price, using a substitute vessel.
Departure times: 11.00am and 12.15pm
Duration: 2.5 hours
Price: $99 per adult, $50 per child
RealNZ Visitor Centre on Steamer Wharf, 88 Beach Street, Queenstown Bay
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 Wakatipu. 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 RealNZ 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 100 years ago, 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.
Walter Peak High Country Farm, on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu, is steeped in history. Its sheltered bays were used as camping sites by Maori travelling to the Mararoa and Oreti Rivers on Moa hunting and pounamu (greenstone) gathering expeditions.
European settlement commenced in the 1860s with initial farming attempts by Von Tunzelman. Stock deaths, snowstorms and lack of money eventually forced him off the land.
Following a quick succession of owners, Walter Peak Station was taken over in the late 1880s by the Mackenzies. This family is credited with developing many of the principles of successful high country farming during their 80 years working the property.
At its peak, the station was one of New Zealand’s most famous with 170,000 acres, 40,000 sheep and up to 50 fulltime employees. The original homestead block of Walter Peak Station is now known as Walter Peak High Country Farm.
Over time various permanent homes were established and these included the Colonel’s Homestead with its beautiful lakeside gardens. Originally built in 1902, it was carefully reconstructed in 1977 following an accidental fire.
Queenstown has a climate with four distinct seasons however, being located in an alpine environment means the weather can be changeable. A guide for the temperatures you can expect is as follows: summer (December-February) 19-29 Celsius, autumn (March-May) 15-25 Celsius, winter (June-August) 5-10 Celsius, spring (September-November) 9-15 Celsius.
Please allow an additional 30 minutes to find parking for your vehicle prior to your check in time.
There is limited free street parking available in the streets surrounding central Queenstown. There is paid parking available in the Man Street and Church Street parking buildings plus pay and display parking at the Boundary Street and Ballarat Street carparks.
Boundary Street and Ballarat Street carparks are suitable for motorhomes. Please allow 15 minutes to walk to the RealNZ office from there.
The scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak takes 45 minutes and it takes in views of Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and the Remarkables mountain range plus panoramic views around Lake Whakatipu.
Queenstown is around a 2.5 hour drive from Te Anau or around 1hr 15 minutes from Wanaka. For more travel locations please refer to our Driving Times webpage.