Queenstown has lengthy been the jewel of New Zealand’s South Island. With its sprawling views over the Remarkables mountain vary to the brilliant blue waters of Lake Wakatipu, guests flock to Queenstown in droves. And nowhere is extra iconic than close by Walter Peak.
Dwelling close by in Wanaka meant that I made the basic mistake of not spending a lot time there as a vacationer, , as a result of it’s proper there. Typically, I might head over the hill for conferences, see associates, or do a giant store at Kmart and PAK’nSAVE. Traditional.
Shiny and sparkly, there’s an countless menu of adventures and events all evening lengthy obtainable in Queenstown. It’s not a spot you possibly can ever be bored. And now that I’ve returned to Wanaka after being away for a couple of years, I’ve come to see Queenstown with contemporary eyes.
There’s nonetheless a lot to see and do right here that I’ve missed.
After listening to about it for years, I lastly managed to go to Walter Peak Station on the opposite facet of the lake, not as soon as however twice lately.
The attractive iconic Walter Peak sits at 1,800 meters tall, overlooking one of many coolest historic farmsteads within the space. The farm was based in 1860 and nonetheless operates as a 25,758-hectare working high-country sheep station. Doesn’t get extra South Island than this!
When my dad and stepmom from the US visited me lately for the primary time, I knew I needed to take them out to Walter Peak for the enduring farm lunch; it’s so wonderful that locals and vacationers alike bask in it. To get out to Walter Peak, most individuals cross the lake on the historic steamship, the TSS Earnslaw. You possibly can head over for a part of the day, with RealNZ taking all of it in. And you may select from a couple of totally different choices; simply the TSS Earnslaw cruise, farm tours, horseback riding, and naturally, the well-known gourmet BBQ lunch.
Now that I’ve been out to Walter Peak, I can safely say it’s undoubtedly one of the best day journey from Queenstown. With historical past, meals, tradition, views, nature, and cute furry cows, Walter Peak ticks all of the containers.
Boarding the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship within the middle of Queenstown, you’ll instantly be mesmerized by the lake’s coloration. As you head northwards in the direction of Walter Peak Station, you’ll get wonderful views of the city and the encircling mountains. An Edwardian classic twin screw steamer, the Earnslaw is among the oldest vacationer points of interest within the area.
Like so many different alpine lakes within the space, Lake Wakatipu is vibrant blue. However in contrast to any of the opposite lakes, it has one thing just like a tide referred to as a seiche. The water stage rises and falls about ten centimeters each 25 minutes. A seiche is a standing wave in an enclosed physique of water. In Māori storytelling, that is the heartbeat of the large monster Matua, sleeping on the backside of the lake.
Ngāi Tahu Māori seasonally used the secluded bays round Lake Wakatipu to camp whereas exploring the close by Mararoa and Oreti Rivers, searching moa, and gathering pounamu (greenstone). Māori valued pounamu due to its sturdy and delightful coloring, good for weapons, instruments, and adornments. Even at present, it’s nonetheless a particular and highly effective stone right here.
Because the TSS Earnslaw docks at Walter Peak Farm, you’ll instantly be captivated by the gorgeous red-roofed Colonel’s Homestead surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Europeans started to settle round Queenstown and Walter Peak within the 1860s, across the identical time gold was found right here. Legend has it that Nicholas Von Tunzelmann misplaced a coin toss to William Rees on which facet of the lake to settle. Von Tunzelmann ended up on the Walter Peak facet, making an attempt to farm however failing shortly.
A couple of many years later, the Mackenzie household took over Walter Peak Station and turned it round into a hit. Although, they did plant tons of of pines across the homestead, which has turn into an actual drawback. In its heyday, Walter Peak sprawled practically 70,000 hectares with 40,000 sheep.
Final winter, I hopped on board the TSS Earnslaw to move over to Walter Peak for a day to assist replant native timber throughout conservation week.
RealNZ have been conservation pioneers within the space for the reason that 50s and actively work on tasks to take care of our land and animals. Almost a decade in the past, they launched the Walter Peak Land Restoration Project after shopping for the land across the homestead. Right away, they started clearing the land of weeds and vegetation just like the invasive wilding pines, which destroy the pure habitat of native species. They unfold shortly over the encircling mountains round Central Otago, at round 90,000 hectares a yr, dominating the landscaping and overpowering the native bush, making it one of many largest weeds in New Zealand. However don’t fear; the gorgeous vegetation across the historic homestead stay untouched.
Over time, they’ve replanted the panorama with many native timber, like beech, kowhai, cabbage timber, and rata. A public walkway was constructed alongside the shore, permitting guests to reconnect with the land accurately. And because it thrives, the birds will return.
It felt like coming full circle after returning to Walter Peak with my dad and mom lately.
It was an ideal, sizzling summer season’s day once we cruised throughout Lake Wakatipu earlier than touchdown on the homestead. Wandering by means of the gardens, we finally made our method as much as the outside patio for an epic bbq lunch. Spoiler alert – skip breakfast so you possibly can take full benefit of the bottomless buffet.
Afterward, we meandered across the space earlier than watching a farm present of how they shear the sheep and the way the sheep canine work. Sensible working canine won’t ever not impress me. Fats, full, and pleased, we finally boarded the Earnslaw earlier than heading again to Queenstown within the late afternoon. Excellent day journey from Queenstown full!
Have you ever been to Walter Peak earlier than? Would you be eager to go to? Share.
Many because of RealNZ for internet hosting me at Walter Peak – like at all times, I’m maintaining it actual. All opinions are my very own, and like you possibly can count on much less from me.