If you want to do something a wee bit different here in Queenstown other than adrenalin madness, then I highly recommend going for a ride on the famous TSS Earnslaw. I think people easily put it into the 'trip for the older person' or 'family trip' box, but honestly it is something worth doing no matter what your age!
Named the “Lady of the Lake” the Earnslaw is a working steamboat, where you can marvel at the engines working down below, watch how the skipper commands their ship through the old method of telegraph bells, or simply enjoy the beautiful scenery as you watch from the decks above. You really feel like you stepped back in time when you step on board the TSS Earnslaw and you can escape from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown and float away on lake Wakatipu.
We went across on the evening cruise, and I was a little wary of the water being a little rough as it was the day after St Patricks day, and there were a few hangovers amongst the few of us that went (let's just say that at least one of us went green during the trip over! You know who you are!). But I was pleasantly surprised as I did not feel any of it, and even enjoyed a glass or two of wine on the way over.
When we arrived it was still light and it was beautiful to look back over Queenstown at the lights twinkling. We were taken to the dining hall at Walter Peak High Country Farm which was magnificant. We were tactfully put on our own table as they probably thought we would be a little spirited. The food was amazing, and the service was great.
We started off with a lovely soup, and then we were introduced to the buffet. The buffet was a feast! We were spoilt for choice with the selection of cold meats, fresh Akaroa salmon, green lipped mussels, amazing roast meats, hot casseroles and of course the selection of vegies and salads. I have to admit I went back for seconds as it was truly amazing! The dessert was a winner too, and was made up of trusted pavlova, fresh fruits and I think a chocolate mud cake (I was way too full to go near this table though, and just enjoyed the lovely wine we had at the table!). A lovely touch was the live piano music playing while we ate... it probably was a good thing to drown out the laughter at our party table.
After dinner we were invited to watch a sheep shearing show. The farmer lead us over to the shearing shed where you can watch the farm dogs rounding up sheep from the hill paddocks, and see the farmer shear a sheep. It really is taking a look at kiwi farming skills at its best! The evening ended on a great trip back on the TSS Earnslaw, singing all of the old folk songs accompanied by live piano again. The pianist was great... a real character!
So all in all the TSS Earnslaw steamboat trip is a winner. There are other options available to you if you're not a night owl, or are on a budget. There are the lake cruises, the day trips over where you can see the farm show, lunch options, and for the more adventurous, the horse treks over on Walter Peak. So get amongst it guys and experience the delights of this great activity whichever way you decide to do it!