Queenstown might be considered the adventure capital of New Zealand but thankfully not every activity in this adrenalin hyped lakeside town requires the participants to have nerves of steel.

Larger than life, a steamship that looks like it jumped out the pages of the history books quietly sits alongside the Queenstown jetty.

Known affectionately as the ‘lady of the lake’, the TSS Earnshaw has been based in Queenstown and steaming around Lake Wakatipu for the last one hundred years.

With her bright red, 12 meter funnel, white hull and kauri timber decks, this vintage steamer,  launched just two months before the Titanic took off on it’s ill-fated voyage, is kind of hard to miss.

Once she played a vital role in linking remote farming communities, transporting supplies to the farms and taking stock to markets. In her heyday, she would often carry up to 1500 sheep and 30 cattle on her decks.

Today, her passengers are tourists and steam buffs keen to cruise the lake.

It’s a role that’s kept this old lady in fulltime work, clocking over 30,000 kilometers a year.

Most frequently, she can be seen puffing her way to and from the Walter Peak High Country Farm where passengers can disembark and check out a working New Zealand farm operation and enjoy high tea, lunch, or BBQ on the decks of the old Homestead.

 

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Liz Lewis is a New Zealand based writer who favors wine tasting and food markets over bungy jumping and mountain climbing.