Walter Peak Eco Experience

Take a short cruise across Lake Whakatipu to one of Queenstown’s most secluded eco destinations, Walter Peak High Country Farm. Be welcomed by our rural team, who will take you to explore the sprawling gardens and tell you all about the grown produce and native plants.

  • Your choice of return lake cruise aboard either the Spirit of Queenstown or the TSS Earnslaw
  • Explore our expansive market garden and see how produce goes from garden to plate
  • Walk along the reforested peninsula and plant a native seedling
  • Learn about native wildlife and conservation in New Zealand with your host
  • Enjoy a high tea selection made up of homegrown and local produce

More Information

Situated on picturesque Lake Whakatipu’s southwestern shores, Walter Peak High Country Farm is an idyllic place to spend a few peaceful hours. The Walter Peak Eco Experience allows you to immerse yourself in nature, learn more about New Zealand conservation, and contribute to biodiversity, only a short cruise from Queenstown.

After your 45-minute journey across Lake Whakatipu, you’ll be welcomed by our rural host on the shore, who’ll give you a tour of the diverse Restaurant Garden and showcase Walter Peak’s native plants. At this point, you’ll have your own part to play in Walter Peak’s Land Restoration Project by planting a native tree or shrub on the stunning peninsula.

Finish off the experience with a walk to the rustic Walter Peak buildings for a delicious light lunch made up of homegrown and local produce. Stroll through the lakeside gardens before you cruise back across Lake Whakatipu onboard the iconic TSS Earnslaw.

Extra Information

  • The tour is suitable for all ages 
  • A licensed café on board the TSS Earnslaw provides great refreshments

Departure Location

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

What to bring

  • Sensible Shoes/boots (non-slip)
  • Warm clothing/jacket
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Personal medication including for asthma and allergies

About the TSS Earnslaw

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 ReaNZ 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 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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About Walter Peak High Country Farm

Walter Peak High Country Farm, on the south-western shores of Lake Whakatipu, is steeped in history. Its sheltered bays were used as camping sites by Māori 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.

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