A journey 100 yrs in the making Book Now TSS Earnslaw, Queenstown
Stoker shoveling coal in engine room on the TSS Earnslaw vintage steamship Stoker shoveling coal in engine room on the TSS Earnslaw vintage steamship
TSS Earnslaw Cruises Step back in time Book Now Queenstown
A family strolls through the gardens at the Colonel's Homestead at Walter Peak A family strolls through the gardens at the Colonel's Homestead at Walter Peak
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TSS Earnslaw Lake Cruise and Farmyard Walk

It’s New Zealand’s most iconic boat and one of Queenstown’s most historic destinations.

The leisurely cruise on Lake Wakatipu around the Frankton Arm showcases some of Queenstown’s spectacular alpine scenery while offering you plenty of time to explore a piece of Queenstown’s living history – the over one-hundred-year-old TSS Earnslaw.

Inside a visit to the engine room reveals the giant steam engines at work. Close by you’ll be able to view the collection of historical photos in our mini-museum, check out the bridge, or, if you’d rather, kick back and enjoy a wine or beer or some café food at our on-board Promenade Café and Bar.

The TSS Earnslaw has carried many a famous visitor, including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and even President Bill Clinton. Undoubtedly, this iconic tour is one not to miss.

Extra information

  • The lake cruise is suitable for all ages.
  • There’s a Promenade Cafe with delicious food and a fully-licensed bar on board

Departure Location

Real Journeys Visitor Centre, Steamer Wharf, 88 Beach Street, Queenstown

What to bring

  • Shoes/boots (non-slip)
  • Warm clothing/jacket
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses
  • Camera

High Tea Sample Menu

Add on a scrumptious high tea, served onboard the TSS Earnslaw for $45 per adult (includes a glass of bubbles), and $25 per child. 

Enjoy a selection of finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones with cream and raspberry preserve, and a range of handmade pastries and teacakes.

We have a wide variety of loose-leaf tea to choose from and bubbles to add some extra sparkle to the occasion.

Gluten-free scones and pastries options Available

  • Dates and Lemon Scones
  • Cheddar cheese Scones

Sweet treats

  • Eclairs, green tea and Yuzu
  • Chocolate cupcake, salted caramel frosting
  • Coconut and passion fruit cake, Roasted Pineapple
  • Lemon posset, elderflower shortbread
  • Vanilla Macaroon, Hazelnut praline


  • Smoked salmon bagel, cream cheese, horopito, midi watercress
  • Cucumber, shiso cress butter, Szechuan peppercorn, rye bread
  • Manuka smoked ham, Swiss cheese, wholegrain mustard, brioche loaf

Please note: Bookings are essential. High Tea is served in the TSS Earnslaw Saloon and limited to 30 people per day. 

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 Wakatipu. Launched in the same year as the Titanic, the TSS Earnslaw’s maiden voyage was on 18 October 1912. 

TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship, 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 hand 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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