This is your chance to pedal into an incredible part of New Zealand’s stunning back country. A non-guided cycling option for experienced cyclists.
Walter Peak was founded in 1860. It is a 25,758 hectare working high country sheep station on the southern shore of Lake Wakatipu.
It runs approximately 18,000 Merino and Perendale sheep and about 800 beef cows.
Take your own bike across Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak before exploring at your own leisure.
With this non-guided cycling option you cruise across Lake Wakatipu on board the TSS Earnslaw and then explore the very scenic Back Road on your own bicycle (or one you’ve independently hired). The countryside is stunning as you climb through a golden tussocked valley into the rainforest surrounding the Mavora Lakes, where you can tour several Lord of the Rings locations.
We’ll provide you with a map plus a food and beverage voucher that can be redeemed on board the TSS Earnslaw. Just be sure that you don’t miss the last cruise back – there’s no accommodation at Walter Peak!
Things you should know
The TSS Earnslaw returns to Queenstown at 2.45pm and 4.45pm all year except when the TSS Earnslaw undergoes annual maintenance from mid-May to mid-June. During this time departures do NOT operate.
Please check in 30 minutes prior to departure times shown above.
The booking process only requires you to select your departure time from Queenstown. At check-in, you can choose your preferred return time from Walter Peak and you will be advised of return check-in procedures.
It is essential that you allow adequate time to make your return cruise to Queenstown. (There is no accommodation or direct road access back to Queenstown from this western side of Lake Wakatipu).
Real Journeys Visitor Centre on Steamer Wharf, 88 Beach Street, Queenstown Bay
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 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.
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.
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 Real Journeys 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 Wakatipu.
From Christchurch to Queenstown by car takes around 7 hrs 15 mins. For more information refer to our Driving Times webpage.
The TSS Earnslaw is scheduled to operate every day of the year (except when she undergoes annual maintenance). This is currently planned for early June 2019 - early July 2019 and during this period travel to/from Walter Peak is by one of our smaller boats. Walter Peak Independent Cycling does NOT operate during this time.
All prices and transactions on the Real Journeys 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 board 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
• Real Journeys 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).