A Detailed Review of the Earnslaw Cruise in Queenstown

The weather was stunning; we knew it would be hot so thought a day on the water would be a good idea. We wandered down to the waterfront after a late breakfast in Queenstown’s CBD and stumbled upon the Real Journeys booking office.  We booked a family cruise on board the Earnslaw, grabbed another hot coffee and waited in the sun for 20 minutes to board this glorious old steamship.

The Earnslaw in Queenstown

 Photo of the Earnslaw boat docked in Queenstown before departing

The Earnslaw boat is amazing.  It’s a fully restored steam ship with a long history in the Queenstown region. There are plenty of seats (on two levels), tables to eat lunch or play cards with the kids, a cafeteria, a history room with lots of photos and a fully accessible engine room where  you can see the steam engines in action!  I think every Dad visited the engine room at least twice on the trip.

Pictures of the Earnslaw

Pictures of the Earnslaw before setting sail on one of her many daily cruises


The TSS Earnslaw docking

 The TSS Earnslaw docking

The Earnslaw sails several times a day with a return cruise generally taking two hours, longer if you tag on Walter Peak Station and have a gourmet BBQ lunch; which we did!  There are lots of informational sites around the waterfront or an up-to-date timetable can be found online for those who are organised.   

Boarding took fifteen minutes, we were on early so had first pick of seats. There are almost 360 degree views from the top floor so everyone has an unobstructed view on the cruise. Sidewalks wrap around the entire ship on both levels so kids can run around freely and budding photographers can snap away without being interrupted too much.   We sat down below in the stern where we could stretch out in the sun and watch the black smoke billow quietly behind us.

On board the Earnslaw

 As Queenstown slipped away slowly, we're suddenly engulfed by enormous mountains, it’s not until you focus in on a tree or building that you realise how big these mountains truly are!  The landscape is stunning and I find myself, along with other tourists, with my head tiled back, jaw open in complete awe of New Zealand’s beauty.

Mountains in Queenstown from Lake Wakatipu

 Giant mountains in Queenstown seen from Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown

Dramatic landscape from the Earnslaw

The dramatic landscape on board the Earnslaw in Queenstown 

View from the Earnslaw Cruise

The view from the Earnslaw cruise

Lounging in the hot sun for an hour passes by quickly before we slow and drift quietly toward the Walter Peak pier. Nestled tightly amongst a cluster of trees at the base of a huge mountain ridge is the old homestead and shearing sheds of Walter Peak Station.  It takes minutes for everyone to exit the boat.  Friendly staff man the gate, clipping tickets and politely guiding the elderly safely off the boat.  I can smell a wood fire and steak grilling on the barbeque.  Lunch is almost ready…   Continue reading about Walter Peak Station & our gourmet BBQ lunch

Approaching Walter Peak Station

The view from the Earnslaw approaching Walter Peak Station in Queenstown


This story and great photos are courtesy of Isreal Hartley.