Part 2 ~ Steam ship cruise to Walter Peak, New Zealand

Oh boy...what a week and we're only on Tuesday!
Well I've sad news today everyone....my laptop wasn't able to make it :(
I know I've always said I'd only be positive on my blog, so I'll try to be brave saying farewell to my dear friend. (deep breath) 
We had so many good times and knew each other so well...I can't believe the journey we travelled together. A real voyage of discovery but after five years (which I'm told is exceptional) it's time to 
face reality...it's time to move on....but I'll not rush into anything. I'll have a wee while to reflect. 

I'm borrowing a laptop this morning in the hope that I can bring you Part 2 of the New Zealand trip to the South Island. As I mentioned previously I was so close to posting this on Sunday before the tragedy occurred.

So let's move on swiftly...today we're off on a vintage Steamship cruise.
ALL ABOARD!

It's always difficult to get the shot that you want with so many flipping tourists around! ;D

Let me introduce you to a special lady...TSS Earnslaw.
She's 101 years old and looking really good for her age.
Just in case you are wondering (like I was)...TSS stands for Twin Screw Steamship!
Now you can wow your friends with that information.
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 and 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.
There's more information about this grande old lady below.

She makes quite a spectacular sight sailing across Lake Wakatipu with 'The Remarkables' as her backdrop! Especially when she gives a loud blast to announce her arrival/departure into the harbour.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, President Bill Clinton, and the Japanese Emperor and Empress among other famous people have enjoyed their TSS Earnslaw experience...along with ourselves of course.

Here are some details for anyone who might like to know more about the TSS Earnslaw...

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 her 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.
She's also 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 her. Famous composer Ron Goodwin composed a piece of music inspired by the rhythm of the TSS Earnslaw’s engines.

So let's get down and dirty peeps...
Can you smell that? (cough...don't breath in too deeply). It was a chilly fresh day when we boarded so it was good to have a warm peering down into the bowels of the ship.
It looks like it was washing day too...if you look at the photo on the right below.


I thought I'd take a couple of shots of the thingy's that help to keep her moving.
So we're full steam ahead...

You can visit the engine room and see its giant steam engines at work which is really quite an experience...and I don't know a thing about them...even though I kept nodding prefusely whilst my hubby went through the whole process!
I must admit I did feel slightly guilty watching this chap working so hard to provide all of the passengers onboard such a wonderful afternoon.


You can also view the collection of historical photos in the mini-museum, check out the bridge or even join a sing-along with the pianist. I kid you not....

(Apologies...this post is putting up a fight too. I'm trying to tweak but it's not happy. It won't do as I say...which is really annoying to say the least) The quality of this photo is terrible but at least you can see I wasn't joking...he's there playing away with passenger's singing...having a fine time! I hasten to say we just noted all of this and moved on. Well...we didn't know the words! ;D

The cruises depart regularly throughout the day and we chose the afternoon trip for ours.
You can choose to do a cruise only, or a cruise, combined with a visit to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a guided farm tour, horse trek, barbecue lunch or evening dining. We chose the farm tour with afternoon tea. All very civilised and it wasn't hard to visualise what it might have been like back in the era of steamships.

Here we are arriving at Walter Peak jetty...with a loud toot from the funnel...


Situated on picturesque Lake Wakatipu’s south-western shores, the farm is the perfect place to spend a relaxing few hours. The Farm Tour itself is a wonderful interactive experience for the whole family with something to keep everyone entertained and happy.
Here's someone else for me to introduce...Gordon our guide (and Bess his sheepdog although I can't understand why I haven't a photo of her...maybe because she was constantly busy and on the go?)
Gordon was really interesting and so knowledgeable.


The rural host will meet you after you disembark from the TSS Earnslaw (which might not necessarily be Gordon as there are a few hosts) and depending if you are having the BBQ lunch first or just the farm visit they will take you on the walking tour of the farmyard. The first stop is the holding pens, where you can help feed the sheep, deer and even get up close to the Highland Cattle.


Aren't they adorable and I have to say not what I expected to see...

This stunning stag was very vocifious and strutting his stuff when we arrived...but his female companions didn't seem to be impressed. They've heard it all before probably.
Here are some other residents that you can feed...this was a big hit with all the little kiddywinks...



Afterwards Gordon led us over to the shearing shed where we watched Bess rounding up sheep from the hill paddocks. I was mesmorised and looked on in awe as she followed every command from Gordon without hesitation! I'm thinking Mufftypup needs to spend some time with Gordon and Bess ^..^
And so after rounding up the sheep we were entertained by Gordon shearing a sheep. Although I've seen this numerous times it's still amazing to watch.


I've have the whole shearing process on a video but won't attempt to put it on here with the way things are going!

There's also a spinning demonstration plus a shop for the shopaholic fix...

(I'm not sure I'd like him peering down on me...)
As you can imagine by now we were ready for afternoon tea...so a gentle stroll through the lakeside gardens to the charming Colonel’s Homestead for a traditional high country morning or afternoon tea of scones and pikelets. I've got more photos of this house but I'll have to add them into future posts....maybe Part 3 if I can keep sane enough to give it a go.
The Colonel's homestead was stunning and had perfect views of the lake and surrounding landscape that matched an excellent afternoon tea setting. We'd ordered sun with ours which added to the whole experience.

In earlier days the farmer must have been very successful because the homestead even had it's roof tiles transported from Italy! As you do....?

Here's some random snaps... Who knew Bambi lived here?

Just look at that grass! The house is built in a Scottish style and how perfect to have a view of the lake and mountains daily. The gardens were gorgeous and the perfume nearly knocks you out...hence this busy bee making the most of the abundant blooms.

Each time I look at the view...I just have to stop and stare.

Here are two views that shows how the scenery can change so rapidly depending on the time of day.
The photo on the left was taken on the way out to Walter Peak and the one on the right was on the return journey...late in the afternoon.


And so without anyone really being aware we were rounded up and put back on the ship ready for our return journey. ;D

A fantastic entertaining day and well recommended for anyone who visits Queenstown.


Poop poop...(that's the ship by the way...although it could reflect my sentiments after struggling so much with this post).
So onward and upwards hopefully...maybe there will be Part 3 or maybe not? It depends if I can stay sane in the process.
I certainly hope that your week is going well...have fun and I'll hopefully see you again soon.
Apologies for the layout ~ which I can't look at...I can't even get the writing to sit in the centre. ARGH these little things get to me which is sad I know...but hey that's me
I'll just smile and wave...smile and wave :D