For a dining experience unlike any other in Queenstown, join us on a trip to the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
Steeped in Queenstown’s pioneering history, your experience starts with a Lake Wakatipu cruise in the 105 year old steamship, the TSS Earnslaw. Then disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm, one of the first farms set up in the region.
Relaxing in the charming ambience of the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, the heart of the stately homestead at Walter Peak, you’ll enjoy gourmet dining prepared by our chef in front of you.
You can choose from an expansive array of New Zealand and local produce, from succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie or grill, a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Then finish your meal with our irresistible desserts, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea & coffee.
After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country.
The night-time cruise home is magical. Sing-a-long with the ship’s pianist or simply breathe in the fresh night air on the moonlit decks as the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.
Things you should know
*Note: Menu items are subject to change based on chef's discretion and seasonal availability.
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.
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.
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 Remarkable Range plus panaromic 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 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.