RealNZ Visitor Centre on Steamer Wharf, 88 Beach Street, Queenstown Bay.
Covered shoes/boots (non slip), long trousers, warm clothing/jacket, sunscreen/sunglasses, camera and personal medication.
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. Today, the TSS Earnslaw is the only passenger-carrying 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.
Brilliant views, great ride, excellent experience!5 April 2021
We came to Queenstown over the Easter break and spent all our time on thrill seeking rides, so it was so pleasant to spend a more laid back afternoon taking the Earnslaw out to Walter Peak Farm and go on the horse trek. Lloyd our lead guide was fantastic. Friendly, knowledgeable with a dry wit. There were only four of us on the trek and it was really value for the money. A beautiful view. Quiet, well cared for horses. And some lovely company. Lloyd walked with us and had his hunting dogs join the trek. that a pack of characters. No danger of them getting in the way - the horses tolerated their presence! And there was another guide, riding at the back of our group. The afternoon tea is brilliant and the ride on the Earnslaw really is all part of an excellent overall experience. Highly recommended!!!Tanea H Wellington, New Zealand, Via TripAdvisor
Incredible views, nice relaxing ride19 December 2019
One of our favourite activities in NZ. The guide was great, horses very relaxed and used to the walk. Great for new riders, and incredibly scenic and worth it for experienced riders!HannahHuntley, Via TripAdvisor
A wonderful afternoon20 February 2022
I absolutely loved this activity- the steam ship was great, the horse trek was by far the stand out part. I haven’t ridden for a couple of decades, however the instructor was helpful and the horses relaxed and know what they are doing. Afternoon tea was much bigger than expected- more lunch than afternoon tea. All round great day.Corinne G, Auckland Central, New Zealand, Via TripAdvisor
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.
Yes, for the welfare of our horses, we have a maximum allowable weight of 100kg (and this is strictly adhered to). The minimum age is 7 years and the minimum height is 120cms.
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.
The TSS Earnslaw is scheduled to operate every day of the year (except when she undergoes annual maintenance). During the survey, the TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak High Country Farm experiences will not be operating.
All prices and transactions on the RealNZ website are in New Zealand dollars (NZD). This is specified on the Terms & Conditions page.
Our staff are trained to deal with incidents and in case of an emergency you should listen to their instructions.
We have a portable defibrillator on each of our overnight cruise vessels (Milford Mariner, Milford Wanderer and Fiordland Navigator).
In addition to this we also have portable defibrillators at the following locations:
• Milford Sound Visitor Terminal
• RealNZ Visitor Centre, Manapouri
• Cavern House (Te Anau Glowworm Caves)
• Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, Walter Peak
• TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship
• Stewart Island Ferry (Bluff - Oban - Bluff)