Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Earnslaw and Walter Peak

I've shown several photos of the TSS Earnslaw from afar, but it has taken all the time I've spent here spread over the better part of a decade for me to actually ride the thing. Short story: it's great!

At the helm

Cecil Peak, up close

The Earnslaw used to be the lifeline for all of the remote stations scattered around Wakatipu, but now it's on the easier duty of shuttling day tourists back and forth between Queenstown and Walter Peak Farm. Walter Peak does a great lunch service, and it's expensive, but every now and then there are locals' deals that make it a lot more palatable. So that's when we go :)

Lone stand

Walter Peak Farm


It's only a 35-minute trip across the lake to get to Walter Peak, and depending upon the wind direction, it can be calm or awful. No matter the weather, they allow you out on the deck, and while my insides don't do that well on boats in general, being out in the fresh air always makes it easier for me.


Not so well-tended

Sheep (shearing, ahem)

The whole process is pretty touristy: mandatory photos upon boarding (for sale!), sheep shearing demonstrations (exit through the gift shop!), etc., but it's a cool enough setting that I can tune all that stuff out and enjoy the lake, mountains, and food.


Next arrival

There's an old saying...

Perhaps the neatest opportunity is using the trip as a jumping-off point for bike or running adventures. The far side of the lake is difficult to access at all but a few points, so hitching a ride across to go crush oneself in new territory is probably a worthwhile pursuit. Will report back...


Buh bye


On the way back, we talk to a couple of very friendly Chinese women who are on a whirlwind 5-day tour of the entire country. It boggles my mind the amount of ground they'll cover, activities they'll do, and utter lack of opportunity to stop and smell the roses they'll be faced with, but that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes!


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