Exploring Walter Peak Queenstown: A Guide to the Iconic Destination

Arts & Culture Family Fun Retreats & Relaxation
Located in the picturesque region of Queenstown, Walter Peak is a destination that offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and activities for all interests.

The area has a rich Maori heritage, with cultural landmarks and stories that have been passed down through generations.  Before European settlement, the Maori people inhabited the region surrounding Walter Peak.  They revered the land for its abundance of resources, picturesque landscapes, and spiritual significance.  Today, visitors have the opportunity to learn about Maori traditions and customs through guided tours and cultural performances at Walter Peak.

European settlement in the Queenstown region began in the mid-19th century. Walter Peak played a crucial role in the development of the area, serving as a hub for farming and trade.  The remnants of this era can still be seen in the historic buildings and artifacts that have been preserved.

As European settlers arrived in the area, they were drawn to the fertile land surrounding Walter Peak, establishing farms and homesteads.  The lush pastures provided ideal conditions for sheep farming, which became a cornerstone of the local economy.  The wool produced in this region was highly sought after and contributed to the prosperity of early settlers.

Over time, Walter Peak became synonymous with pastoral farming, with sprawling sheep stations dotting the landscape.  The idyllic setting of the area, nestled against the backdrop of the Remarkables mountain range, attracted not only farmers but also artists and writers seeking inspiration from its natural beauty.

Traveling by Boat: The TSS Earnslaw

One of the most popular ways to reach Walter Peak is by taking a scenic boat ride on the TSS Earnslaw.  This historic steamship, affectionately known as the "Lady of the Lake," offers an enchanting journey across the crystal-clear waters of Lake Wakatipu.  As you sail towards Walter Peak, you'll be captivated by the majestic mountains and tranquil surroundings.

As the TSS Earnslaw glides gracefully through the water, passengers have the opportunity to learn about the rich history of the vessel and its significance to the local community.  The onboard staff, dressed in traditional uniforms, provide insights into the workings of a historic steamship, adding a touch of nostalgia to the journey.

Hiking and Biking Routes

If you prefer a more active approach, there are hiking and biking routes that lead to Walter Peak.  These trails offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes and allow you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.  Make sure to pack comfortable shoes and plenty of water as you embark on this adventure.

Traversing the hiking and biking routes to Walter Peak provides a unique opportunity to spot native flora and fauna along the way.  Keep an eye out for native bird species such as the iconic kiwi or the elusive kea, known for their playful antics.  The diverse ecosystems you will encounter on your journey showcase the pristine wilderness of the area, making each step a discovery of New Zealand's natural wonders.

For biking, this is a self-guided option.  Take your own bike on the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak before exploring at your own leisure.
With this non-guided cycling option, you cruise across Lake Whakatipu and then explore on your own bike or, one you’ve hired.  Cycle a golden tussocked valley into the rainforest surrounding the Mavora Lakes, where you can tour several Lord of the Rings locations.

Activities at Walter Peak

Once you arrive at Walter Peak, you'll find a plethora of activities to keep you entertained:
  • Farm Tours and Sheep Shearing - One of the highlights of a visit to Walter Peak is the opportunity to experience a traditional farm tour.  You'll have the chance to interact with farm animals, learn about sheep shearing techniques, and witness the daily operations of a working farm. It’s a fantastic way to gain insight into rural life in New Zealand.
  • Horse Trekking -  Saddle up and explore the vast landscapes on horseback  Take a Lake Whakatipu cruise on the historic TSS Earnslaw, get off at Walter Peak High Country Farm before meeting your horse and guide.  Your guide will take you on a horse trek across rolling high country farmland to a lookout offering spectacular views of Lake Whakatipu and the surrounding mountains.  The riding is nice and easy, the scenery gorgeous and the memories enduring. Great family fun, this trip is more suited to first-time or novice riders. 

Dining Options at Walter Peak

After a day full of adventure, satisfy your appetite at one of the dining options at Walter Peak:
  • The Colonel's Homestead Restaurant, located in a charming historic building, offers a delightful dining experience.  Indulge in mouthwatering cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients, while enjoying panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu.  The warm and inviting atmosphere adds to the overall charm of this renowned eatery.  You'll need to book with your TSS Earnslaw Cruise - Gourmet barbecue lunch or dinner are offered at the Homestead Restaurant.
  • Picnic Spots and BBQ Areas - For those who prefer a more casual dining experience, Walter Peak has a variety of picnic spots and BBQ areas.  Pack a delicious meal and find a scenic spot to enjoy it while taking in the stunning vistas.  It's the perfect way to relax and unwind in the midst of nature.

Walter Peak Deals

For the best deals on the TSS Earnslaw and Water Peak Activities, check our 'Experiences' section.