T.S.S. Earnslaw: Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand

Val Mills By Val Mills, 12th Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/10k8f6tn/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Oceania>New Zealand>Central South Island

The T.S.S. Earnslaw offers tourists to Queenstown, New Zealand a trip of remarkable beauty.

Queenstown, New Zealand's most popular Tourist Resort

Queenstown is probably the most beautiful and one of the most popular tourist resorts in New Zealand. Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, its beauty is added to by the backdrop of The Remarkables mountain range. Queenstown is known as the outdoor adventure playground of New Zealand, with skiing, jet boating and famous bungy jumping as some of the attractions.

The Earnslaw: Lady of Lake Wakatipu

However, a trip to Queenstown would be incomplete without a lake cruise on the Earnslaw, affectionately known as The Lady of the Lake.

The Earnslaw is a grand old lady, coming up to the age of 99. She was commissioned by the New Zealand government initially to provide lake transport servicing the high country farms and stations around the lake and to its head, a 17 km journey. Road access in that area was not readily available until the mid 1960s. Built in Dunedin, New Zealand she was launched in Lake Wakatipu on 24 February 1912 and made her maiden voyage on the lake on 18 October 1912.

Once the roads were opened up, lake transport was required less and the future of the Earnslaw was in jeopardy. However, she was eventually sold and is now operated by a private company since 1969.

Last in Southern Hemisphere

The Earnslaw is the last passenger carrying coal fired steamer in the southern hemisphere. She is 51 metres long, 7.3 metres wide and is licensed to carry up to 1000 passengers. These days she makes daily tourist excursions onto the lake, working 14 hours a day in summer, seven days a week for eleven months of the year.

Going Back in Time: Tourist Options

Travelling on the Earnslaw is like going back in time. The beauty and tranquillity of the lake has to be experienced to be believed. I first made a journey on the boat as part of a student group back in 1967, before she was sold. After being with our rowdy group for over a week, I don’t think our lecturers could believe how quiet we all became, once entranced by our surroundings and the rhythmical chugging of the Earnslaw’s engine on the silent waters. That was a day long trip right to the end of the lake, to a place aptly named Paradise. Several years ago my husband and I visited Queenstown and did one of the shorter excursions now so popular. It was his first time on Lake Wakatipu and he wasn’t disappointed.

Hopefully the life of T.S.S. Earnslaw, the Lady of the Lake, will continue for a long time yet.

All images are from the personal postcard collection of the author, Val Mills.


Earnslaw, Lady Of The Lake, Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand, Queenstown, The Remarkables, Tourist Attractions, Tourist Destination, Tourist Spot

Meet the author

author avatar Val Mills
Self-published writer, coffee drinker, enjoying life. Also found at
writingyourstories.wordpress.com and http://downatthebaths.blogspot.co.nz/

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author avatar johnnydod
12th Feb 2011 (#)

Lovely place, makes you want to go there.

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author avatar wonder
12th Feb 2011 (#)

The steamer attracts.Beautiful.

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author avatar Jenny Heart
13th Feb 2011 (#)


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author avatar Nancy Hill
14th Feb 2011 (#)

It sounds like as nice a trip as the one on the Lake Chelan Lady of the Lake in Washington State, USA. It travels 51 miles to Stehiken which has no road access.

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author avatar vickylass
23rd Jun 2013 (#)

It's really a stunning place that I'd love to visit some day, Val!

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