A non-guided cycling option for experienced cyclists to explore stunning back country.
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 independently hired). The countryside is stunning as you climb through a golden tussocked valley into the rainforest surrounding the Mavora Lakes – home to several Lord of the Rings locations.
We provide you with a map and a food/beverage voucher that can be redeemed on board the TSS Earnslaw. Don’t miss the last cruise back though – there’s no accommodation at Walter Peak!
Includes cruise aboard vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw
Quiet back country road through mostly gently rolling terrain
Suitable for experienced cyclists only
Moderate fitness recommended
Please note: The TSS Earnslaw will undergo annual maintenance June 2018 - early July 2018. During this time departures do NOT operate.
Book Your Walter Peak Independent Cycling
Season:All Year (except June 2018 - early July 2018 when TSS Earnslaw will undergo annual maintenance)
This 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
Child rates apply for 5 - 14 years
The TSS Earnslaw will undergo annual maintenance June 2018 - early July 2018. During this period departures do NOT operate
Independent cyclists MUST be fully self sufficient with mountain bike, food, drink, repair kit, clothing (including safety helmet) for their day trip, as there are no shops or services
Independent cyclists MUST ensure they allow adequate time to make their return cruise to Queenstown. (There is no accommodation nor direct road access back to Queenstown from this western side of Lake Wakatipu)
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.
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Real Journeys Visitor Centre on Steamer Wharf, Queenstown Bay
TSS Earnslaw Cruise
Snack voucher that can be redeemed on board the TSS Earnslaw for one drink (tea, coffee, hot chocolate or soft drink) and your choice of one food item (muffin, slice of cake or a small packet of chips/peanuts)
What to bring
Bike repair kit
Warm sweater/fleece jacket
You can hire mountain bikes in Queenstown from Outside Sports or other local suppliers
You need to be fully self-sufficient with food and drinks and to be well equipped in terms of gear and clothing. The cycling route along the Back Road is remote and there are no shops or other services of any kind
Safety helmets must be worn on the road and cyclists must not enter adjoining privately owned farmland
In the colder months be aware there are less daylight hours
There is no accommodation on the western side of Lake Wakatipu, so it is important cyclists ensure they make their return cruise back to Queenstown
TSS Earnslaw return cruise departure times from Walter Peak
TSS Earnslaw departs Walter Peak for Queenstown at the following times:
Departs from Walter Peak
29 Jun 2015 - mid May 2016
12.45pm, 2.45pm & 4.45pm
Mid May 2016 - mid Jul 2016
TSS Earnslaw is on survey and NOT operating during these times
Mid Jul 2016 - 31 Oct 2016
12.45pm, 2.45pm & 4.45pm
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).
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.
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.
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What is the weather like in Queenstown?
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.
Where is the car parking in Queenstown?
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.
How long does it take the TSS Earnslaw to get to Walter Peak High Country Farm?
The scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak takes 45 minutes and it takes in views of Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and the Remarkable Range plus panaromic views around Lake Wakatipu.
How long does it take to travel to Queenstown?
From Christchurch to Queenstown by car takes around 7 hrs 15 mins. For more information refer to our Driving Times webpage.
Does the TSS Earnslaw operate every day?
The TSS Earnslaw is scheduled to operate every day of the year (except when she undergoes annual maintenance). This is currently planned for mid May 2017 - late June 2017 and during this period travel to/from Walter Peak is by launch. Walter Peak Independent Cycling does NOT operate during this time.
Online transactions/prices are conducted in what currency?
All prices and transactions on the Real Journeys website are in New Zealand dollars (NZD). This is specified on the Terms & Conditions page.
What happens if there is an emergency ?
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).