New Zealand :: Queenstown, TSS Earnslaw Cruise

“TSS Earnslaw was launched in the same year as the Titanic with vastly better results.” – Crew of TSS Earnslaw

I am running out of things to do for the very first time in Queenstown. I consider that an achievement. I found this old steamboat from 1912 though, that choochoos across Lake Wakatipu…

The TSS Earnslaw takes you on a 1,5 hours trip across the great lake in Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu (“hollow of the sleeping giant”). You end up at Walter Peak where you can disembark and go on a farm tour with BBQ dinner etc. This is pretty popular with families with children (obviously), I considered doing it, but felt I was more into the trip for the scenery so I booked a “there and back again”-ticket. It cost $50 (US) and was so totally worth it.  

On the steam boat you have access to most areas, meaning you can walk around on outside on deck, sit inside if it’s cold (they sell refreshments) and check out the engine room where crew members shuffle coal to “make the boat go” as this little kid exclaimed. (They’ve got an “upper bridge” kind of thing that allows you to walk about and get a good overview).

The trip across Lake Wakatipu offers some of the best scenery in New Zealand. My love for The Remarkables not withstanding the mountains, greens and vast sky reach peak level when yo find yourself out in the middle of the lake. I am so, so sorry my photos are not doing this place justice at all – it was magical.

The trip was breathtaking, I remember when we arrived at Walter Peak it looked like a painting. It was so pretty it didn’t look real. Next time I’m in Qtown I’ll do this again and get off to do the farm tour or just wander about by myself. The day was a highlight of magically beautiful landscape – even better than I expected. I only feel sorry for my followers who got absolutely -spammed- by my account today… #Sorry ❤


The māori legend of Lake Wakatipu

A distinctive ‘S’ shape, legend tells the creation of Lake Wakatipu with the romantic story of two star crossed lovers, the young warrior Matakauri and Manata, the beautiful daughter of a Māori chief, who forbade their love.

One night, a cruel taniwha (giant) called Matau kidnapped Manata and took her away and hid her in his mountain lair. Manata’s father was so distraught about losing his daughter, he declared that any warrior that was able to rescue her, could have her hand in marriage.

Matakauri figuring that this was the way to prove his love, accepted this challenge. He however knew that the next time the warm wind blew from the north-west, the taniwha would be put to sleep.

Soon enough the wind blew and as the taniwha lay sleeping, Matakauri attempted to rescue the chief’s daughter, but a magical rope made from a two-headed dog tied Manata to the taniwha and Matakauri could not cut through it. In despair, Manata began to sob but her love for Matakauri was so great, when her tears fell on the rope it dissolved and she was able to break free.

The couple fled, and were married as promised by Matau’s father.

After the wedding, Matakauri decided to deal with the taniwha once and for all, and waited again for the warm north-west wind to blow, and the giant was asleep. Matakauri set fire to Matau to ensure he would never steal Manata again. The taniwha’s body melted, creating a deep gouge in the earth which filled with melted ice and snow. The large ‘S’ shaped lake left in his place forms Lake Wakatipu, which translates as the ‘hollow of the sleeping giant’.

People say that the only part of Matau’s body that didn’t burn was his heart, which still beats in the lake, creating the mysterious, rhythmic 20cm rise and fall of it’s the lakes waters. Scientific explanation names this phenomenon a seiche – a standing wave that passes by every 27 minutes which causes the water level to rise and fall by 20cm, triggered by wind and atmospheric changes.

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