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
RealNZ Visitor Centre on Steamer Wharf, 88 Beach Street, Queenstown
If you have pre-purchased tickets, please meet us in front of the TSS Earnslaw, Steamer Wharf Dock.
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.
Highly recommended!!!17 July 2022
A must have experience while in Queenstown and a great piece of history in one. The boat ride is relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. The view of the lake with mountains around it helps to feel one with nature. The steam engine which you can see, feel and experience brings the history to life. The farm and dog show brings you closer to New Zealand spirit and shows you what you may never see especially for city people. And for dessert they have a great option for an afternoon tea with a delicious selection of treats and drinks. Returning from this trip always feels surreal.Andrey K, Via Google
Just do it…definitely worth it!!17 July 2022
This buffet lunch and experience was like no other! Having travelled many times to Queenstown and Walter Peak, we were gently talked into by the booking agent in attending the buffet lunch….thank goodness she did, as make no mistake, every element was perfect. We were so impressed with the organisation, friendly staff and the food was definitely NOT the usual buffet food….it was more fine dining with designer salads, hot food and an assortment of protein that was presented beautifully. Now to the deserts, which need a further 5 star review…. Not being much a desert person normally, I was then blown away by the well presented individually crafted deserts that suited everyone’s palette. Well done to the team who executed this experience perfectly, I would HIGHLY recommend this experience to anyone travelling to Queenstown!!Haley0372 Toowoomba, Australia, Via TripAdvisor
A must do in Queenstown8 January 2022
Back for the fourth time in 18 months. This is an experience you cannot miss when going to Queenstown and there is something there for everyone - the historic steam ship and the ability to watch that engine at work, the absolutely delicious buffet (best buffet in my life) to the sheep dog show, picture perfect gardens and farm animals.Megzadventure, Via TripAdvisor
This is a must do experience5 October 2021
The food was amazing, better than any wedding we have ever been at! The selection was incredible and tasted so good. 5 different meats as well as vegetables and salads. Definitely fit for a King. Overall an 11 out of 10mfiddynz Little River, New Zealand, Via TripAdvisor
Fantastic trip with amazing food.26 September 2021
Absolutely loved this. Fantastic trip with great scenery and super friendly crew. One of the highlights of our honeymoon. The food was amazing and my partner enjoyed the seafood especially. We will be back to so this again. So worth the money.Paws W Christchurch, New Zealand, Via TripAdvisor
Wedding Anniversary20 March 2021
If you have the opportunity to do one of the steamship cruises then don't hesitate - do it! We chose the cruise and BBQ dinner at Walter Peak to celebrate our wedding anniversary and it was such a memorable evening. The steamship is beautifully restored and maintained and was a fun way to get out onto the Lake. Walter Peak is outstanding in its beauty and the food was so delicious. Customer service was fantastic right from when we first bought our tickets through to disembarking at the end of the evening.Tanya R Auckland Central, New Zealand, Via TripAdvisor
Fabulous6 October 2021
We went for the evening cruise including dinner. It was a fabulous cruise and a fabulous meal. Beautiful scenery to watch on the way. The full workings of the boat are on display as the guys tend the engines. Polite and friendly service from the waiting staff. Sensible prices for drinks. The meal at the lodge was seriously impressive. 3 courses with fresh seafood cheeses cold cuts and olives etc. followed by a range of freshly cut beef lamb pork and venison. Plus vegetables. The desert course was superb. And all can be requested as many times as your appetite can handle. Fantastic service too from Angelica. Peter the shepherd was very informative and gave a great display with Skye and Kim. We loved this cruisey evening and thoroughly recommend it to all young old families singles in fact everyone.nyman251, Via TripAdvisor
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.