Things to do in
Lake Wakatipu

Cruise into untouched wilderness and admire surrounding hidden gems and dramatic mountains alike.

Lake Wakatipu: Our most recommended tours and activities

Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Walter Peak w/ Gourmet BBQ

1. Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Walter Peak w/ Gourmet BBQ

Cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm across Queenstown’s Lake Whakatipu onboard the historic TSS Earnslaw. Feel free to take advantage of the extensive lay-out of this incredible steamship – she is a floating museum of her own history, and you are more than welcome to enter the engine room where you can watch our hardy coal-stokers as they keep this beautiful lady of the lake gliding across the waters of Lake Whakatipu.Once at the lakeside Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant savour the delicious aromas as our chef has the best of local produce sizzling away on the grill. The buffet includes salads, vegetables, and succulent local meats cooked on the wood-fired BBQ. There is a wide range of delicious desserts on offer, including a vast array of fresh bread and cheese.Overlooking Lake Whakatipu and Queenstown's alpine scenery, the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak High Country Farm is the perfect place to spend a few hours. Its colonial architecture and sweeping grounds evoke the elegance of a bygone era. An entertaining farm demonstration the whole family will enjoy is also included. If there is time remaining, explore the beautiful lakeside gardens before re-boarding onto the TSS Earnslaw for the return trip to Queenstown. 

Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

2. Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

Get an adrenaline rush on a 1-hour jet boat ride, operated by the world’s first commercial jet boat company. Take in stunning views of the Remarkable Mountains and journey up 2 of the South Island’s most iconic rivers.  Depart from the heart of Queenstown, and climb aboard the big yellow jet boat at the Main Town Pier. Hold on tight as you accelerate across the water and feel the exhilaration of a high-powered twin-engine boat that powers across Lake Wakatipu. Experience the twists and spins as you enter the Kawarau River and race past rocks and under bridges at speeds of up to 95 kilometers per hour.  Grip the heated handrails and experience 360° spins while you speed up the shallow channels of the Shotover River. After 45 kilometers of pure adrenaline, return to the pier and see photos and videos from your trip.

Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise of Lake Whakatipu

3. Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise of Lake Whakatipu

It’s New Zealand’s most iconic boat and one of Queenstown’s most historic destinations.The leisurely 90-minute cruise across Lake Whakatipu showcases some of Queenstown’s spectacular alpine scenery while offering you plenty of time to explore a piece of Queenstown’s living history – the over one hundred year-old TSS Earnslaw.Listen to engaging commentary from your experienced captain who will highlight points of interest throughout your cruise. View the collection of historical photos in the small onboard museum and check out the skipper’s wheelhouse. Visit the engine room to feel the heat of the giant steam engines at work and see the stokers shovel coal into the glowing fireboxes. Soak in the dramatic mountain views surrounding Lake Wakatipu and relax at the cafe where you can enjoy a wine or beer and snacks are also available for purchase. You can choose to undertake just the cruise, or combine it with a visit to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a guided farm tour, horse trek, eco experience or our famous gourmet barbecue lunch/dinner. Please note that we have separate listings for these combo options.

Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

4. Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

Explore this working high country farm, providing a number of authentic experiences. Situated on the picturesque shores of Lake Whakatipu, with a colonial homestead and beautiful lakeside gardens, Walter Peak High Country Farm is the perfect place to spend a relaxing few hours. Begin this combo tour with a relaxing scenic boat ride across Lake Whakatipu aboard the iconic century-old coal-fired steamship, the TSS Earnslaw. Explore the decks, visit the steam room, or chat with the captain in the wheelhouse. Take advantage of the onboard cafe to purchase a drink or two. You will be greeted by our rural host upon disembarking the TSS Earnslaw, who will take you to the amphitheatre, where you will watch the remarkable skill with which the farm dogs round up sheep from the paddocks. Enjoy a walking tour of the farmyard, visiting the holding pens, where you can help feed the sheep and deer and even get up close to the Scottish Highland Cattle. Then a stroll to the charming old woolshed for morning or afternoon tea. You may have time to wander through the lakeside gardens before you re-board the TSS Earnslaw for your cruise back to Queenstown.

Queenstown: Tandem Skydive from 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000 Feet

5. Queenstown: Tandem Skydive from 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000 Feet

Take on the challenge of a tandem skydive from a height of 9,000, 12,000 or 1,5000 ft. Harnessed to an experienced jumpmaster, expect sensory overload as you step out of the aircraft door and freefall at 200kph for up to 60 seconds. Experience the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand as you freefall amongst snow-capped mountain tops above the Southern Lakes of Queenstown. Enjoy a breathtaking 5-minute canopy ride above the Wakatipu basin. This once in a lifetime experience includes a 15-minute scenic flight, as well as return transfers to Queenstown. Take advantage of incredible drop zone base facilities, where you can watch the parachutes being packed and adventurers getting suited up for their skydive. Drinks, snacks and souvenir clothing and gifts are available for purchase. Free wifi is available onsite, as well as internet kiosks to view and upload your photos and videos instantly. 

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Tour with Lunch

6. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Tour with Lunch

In the heart of Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is known as one of New Zealand’s top scenic attractions. On this day tour from Queenstown, jump on board an air-conditioned coach and be entertained with commentary from your driver/guide. After passing through the 1.2-kilometer-long Homer Tunnel, descend into Milford Sound. Here you will board your boat to cruise along the fjord. Take in the famous sights, like the uniquely-shaped Mitre Peak and the glacier-scarred rock. Keep an eye out for marine life like dolphins, seals, and penguins too. The fjord is dotted with waterfalls that tumble through the valleys and crash into the sound far below, making the scenery in Milford Sound spectacular, rain or shine. Once you have finished your cruise you will board your luxury coach again and make the journey back to Queenstown.

Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

7. Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

Join a guided day tour from Queenstown or Te Anau to the world-renowned Milford Sound: the crowning glory of Fiordland. Highlights of the drive will include Lake Wakatipu, the Devil’s Staircase, the truly majestic mountains of Fiordland, Mirror Lake, and Homer Tunnel. Enjoy multiple stops along the way for photo opportunities and to spot the Kea bird. Travel through the mind-blowing Homer Tunnel, emerging as the valley descends sharply down to Milford Sound, with its hundreds of waterfalls cascading into the crystal clear waters beneath. At Milford Sound, take an intimate cruise on a smaller boat that gets right up close to nature and wildlife. Onboard your cruise you will have up-close views of thousands of waterfalls, Mitre Peak, as well as local wildlife, providing you with hundreds of amazing photo opportunities along the way. Following your cruise you will begin the return journey back to Queenstown, stopping again in Te Anau for a quick break. At the end of the day, your guide will drop you back to your Queenstown accommodation, or you can opt to upgrade to a scenic, one-way flight back from Milford instead. Choose this option for the ultimate view over the mountains and region during your return journey.

Queenstown: Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

8. Queenstown: Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

Experience the breathtaking New Zealand landscape from the water on a cruise departing from Queenstown. Discover the beautiful shoreline of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by imposing hills and quaint towns. Sit back and relax as you navigate through this stunning scenery. Step aboard the spacious boat and take advantage of the indoor or outdoor seating to enjoy the ride as you wish. Come across wild trout, rare birds, willow islands, massive mountains, and some gorgeous homes while making your way across pristine transparent waters. Take in mind-blowing views of nature and make the most of your experience by purchasing a drink from the bar. Sip on a glass of wine, beer, or a soft drink as you move along.

Queenstown: Time Tripper Underwater Experience

9. Queenstown: Time Tripper Underwater Experience

Discover the world under Lake Wakatipu and travel back to the beginning of time through the Time Tripper, a 14-minute state-of-the-art animated show that takes you back 90 million years to what Queenstown was like all those years ago. Take a seat and be guided by a time-travel pilot through the time of the dinosaurs, taking you back to when New Zealand was formed and flying you deep into the earth to when the Southern Alps were created. Learn about the Maori legend and love story of Lake Wakatipu. Enjoy this graphic masterpiece from the bespoke theatre, complete with black light and bass shakers under each seat; all narrated by the world-famous New Zealand Actor Temuera Morrison. Following your informative session, enjoy 10-15 minutes of underwater viewing during which you can see the famous diving ducks, slinky eels, and trout that lie beneath the lake. This approximately 30-minute activity is Queenstown’s only underwater experience, blasting off every half hour from the Main Town Pier.

Queenstown: Walter Peak Horse Trek & TSS Earnslaw Cruise

10. Queenstown: Walter Peak Horse Trek & TSS Earnslaw Cruise

Take in the sights when you take the reins of your adventure. Embark on a relaxing meander through farmland and create a holiday highlight. Before your time in the saddle, climb aboard the iconic vintage TSS Earnslaw Steamship travelling to Walter Peak High Country Farm where you will meet your horse and local guide. Our experienced guide will take you on a horse trek across rolling high country farmland to a lookout offering spectacular views of Lake Whakatipu. The riding is easy, the scenery incredible and the memories enduring. Great family fun, this trip is suitable for first-time or novice riders. Small group sizes of maximum 6 people per guide gives a wholesome personalised experience. After returning to the stables you’ll enjoy a delicious morning or afternoon tea at the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant. Then it’s time to explore the glorious gardens and farmyard before heading back to Queenstown on board the TSS Earnslaw, providing the perfect relaxing end to an exciting trip.

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What people are saying about Lake Wakatipu

Overall rating

4.8
(3,005 reviews)

the tour was excellent except our driver who was also the guide...Mike. Very boring driver with no clear language or explanation. It became more of city bus rather than tour package. people were sleeping most of the times on such costly package. He had to leave and another driver came for 45 minutes...in these 45 minutes, she provided so much information and made the journey interesting. Apart from this, must do tour and the cruise in milford sound...wow...but the important point is that it should be raining:)

Excellent time! So enjoyable & we are glad we did this. Was So special to be on one of the few running historical steamboats from back in the day. Food was delicious & the show afterwards a surprise delight.

This was one of the best experiences in my life- and we have traveled all over the world. The trip over to Walter Peak on the SS Earnslaw was great, the food was fantastic and the show after was amazing.

The money was all worth it for the service and fun we experienced. Our captain driver gave us lots of 360 degrees thrilling experience. Will recommend to do it when in Queenstown.

Fantastic day..great Canadian Guide...understanding and good information about the Station.