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An Iconic Queenstown Activity

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

The boat ride on the TSS Earnslaw to the Walter Peak High Country Farm is a fun and highly recommended activity out of Queenstown


The TSS Earnslaw returning to the dock at Queenstown harbour.


You board the TSS Earnslaw at the dock in Queenstown. It's a pretty ship with a lot of wood trimmings and a comfortable interior. They have a fully stocked bar and plenty of window seating and deck seating for the 45 minute scenic cruise. You'll get great views of Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and the Remarkables mountain range plus panoramic views around Lake Whakatipu.

You'll get great views of Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and the Remarkables mountain range plus panoramic views around Lake Whakatipu.

Built in 1912 the TSS Earnslaw is the only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere. They give you the chance to look at its inner workings while the ship is running. Here's a video:


The hot but interesting inner-workings of the TSS Earnslaw coal-fired engine room.


The cruise will run in all types of weather, but in a recent trip we were fortunate to have a beautiful day to cruise. The ride is generally very smooth, with little risk of getting sea sick.


The bow of the TSS Earnslaw on a beautiful day.


The Walter Peak High Country farm is very pretty to look at, even from the lake! Docking is easy and we were escorted directly to our table at the restaurant. We had a lovely view over the lake and lots of time to enjoy it. The food is served buffet style and it's very nicely presented. This has to be one of the best buffet meals I've ever had.

The food is served buffet style and it's very nicely presented. This has to be one of the best buffet meals I've ever had.

There were plenty of options for different tastes and dietary requirements. I'm a

vegetarian and had no problem finding many tantalising selections. Everything seems quite fresh and the service for drinks and special requests were quite good. After a dessert experience that really took us over the top, we wandered over to the farm show area, an easy walk from the restaurant.



There were plenty of options for different tastes and dietary requirements. I'm a vegetarian and had no problem finding many tantalising selections. Everything seemed quite fresh and the service for drinks and special requests were quite good. After a dessert experience that really took us over the top, we wandered over to the farm show area, an easy walk from the restaurant.


The farm show is entertaining and about 30 minutes long. You'll see a sheep being shorn and a sheep dog round up a flock up on the hill and bring them down to the bottom level - a real crowd-pleaser! Once the show is complete, we walked back to the ship. I recommend at this point to give yourself some time for a bathroom stop! Don't take too long though - the ship is ready to depart right after the show.


The TSS Earnslaw docks right in front of the farm, so it's an easy walk back to the boat. It's a very pleasant sailing back to Queenstown, with a cash bar and a piano player that seems to know just about every song from the past 100 years! He actually handed out a book of his favourites and people sing along. There were several good singers and it made the trip back go quite quickly.








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