Artist's impression

Multi-million dollar investment in future of TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak High Country Farm

Date: 2 March 2017

Media Release

Real Journeys has announced a $20 million dollar further investment into its iconic TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak High Country Farm tourism attractions.

For the first stage, the company plans to transform the Walter Peak Farm Tour into a more versatile, extended experience with a new amphitheatre for its farm demonstrations, designed to complement the natural landscape.  The building will be discreetly set into the contours of the land and screened by a large berm covered in plantings.  The roof has overlapping blades and is pitched, so those seated have perfect views not only of the sheep shearing but the dog trials which take place beyond the stage on a second natural amphitheatre formed by the hillside.       

“Since acquiring the land in 2013, Real Journeys previously leased at Walter Peak, we have invested in upgrading the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, kitchen facilities and most importantly the food offering.  It has built up a reputation for being world-class and its popularity has grown even faster than the current growth in tourism. Now our vision is to ensure that we continue to deliver our remarkable experiences as well as manage the challenges of growth well into the future,” says Real Journeys Chief Executive Richard Lauder.

The project, which is subject to building consent, will maintain the rural character of the area. The historic Ardmore House will be restored to create a new restaurant and conference/events facility along with a multi-denominational chapel with stunning views across Lake Wakatipu.

Lauder says the company had constant demand for conferences and weddings at Walter Peak, particularly during summer, but the Real Journeys Events Team was unable to cater for them without displacing other guests. 

Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ dining is no longer seasonal, running year-round and the additional facilities will create a number of new jobs.  Existing staff accommodation will also be upgraded and extended to eventually cater for up to 50 workers.  Much of Walter Peak’s existing infrastructure will also be replaced.

The natural beauty of the Central Otago landscape has already been enhanced as with the Real Journeys award-winning Walter Peak Land Restoration Project which has so far planted over 6000 native shrubs and trees after removing thousands of tonnes of invasive wilding pines that were spreading across the region.

The beautifully tended cottage gardens around the Colonel’s Homestead continue to play a major role and a new working kitchen garden will be planted.  The extended farmyard will be landscaped to incorporate a water feature, more native planting and a children’s playground.  

Building is expected to start on the amphitheatre, the first stage of the plan, when the TSS Earnslaw goes on survey in May and should be complete in time for the summer season.  It has been carefully scheduled to work around the current farm tours and dining experiences. 

To view video about the current TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak High Country Farm:

To view video about Real Journeys:

For further information contact:

Tsehai Tiffin - Real Journeys Corporate Communications Manager
Mobile: +64 21 523 899
Email: [email protected]