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Real Journeys Visitor Centre on Steamer Wharf, Queenstown Bay
About the TSS Earnslaw
TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship, 1912
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.
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 Real Journeys 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 a 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.
About Walter Peak High Country Farm
Walter Peak High Country Farm, Queenstown
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.