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  • 0190-Walter-Peak-Independent-Cycling.JPG 0190-Walter-Peak-Independent-Cycling.JPG
    Walter Peak, Queenstown
  • 0259-Walter-Peak-Independent-Cycling.jpg 0259-Walter-Peak-Independent-Cycling.jpg
    Walter Peak, Queenstown

Walter Peak Independent Cycling

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 snack and drink voucher 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)
  • You’ll enjoy the quiet back country road through mostly gentle rolling terrain
  • Includes a return cruise abroad the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw
  • Map provided

Extra information

  • Moderate fitness recommended
  • This cycle activity is suitable for experienced cyclists only
  • Moderate fitness is recommended
  • Contact us for timetable information
  • Please note: The TSS Earnslaw undergoes annual maintenance from mid-May to mid-June each year. During this time departures do NOT operate.

Key Information

  • 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

Departure times to return to Queenstown (from Walter Peak)

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.

How to book this trip

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). 


Departure Location

Real Journeys Visitor Centre on Steamer Wharf, Queenstown Bay


What to bring

  • Mountain bike
  • Safety helmet
  • Bike repair kit
  • Day pack
  • Lunch, drink/snacks
  • Walking shoes
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm sweater/fleece jacket
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses/sunhat
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera

About the TSS Earnslaw

TSSsepia U.jpg

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.

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