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Lake Wakatipu

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

Lake Wakatipu: Our most recommended tours and activities

TSS Earnslaw: Queenstown Cruise & Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ

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

This half-day activity begins and concludes with a 45-minute cruise across Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu onboard the historic TSS Earnslaw. Spend a few hours enjoying the culinary delights at Walter Peak High Country Station, including an entertaining farm demonstration the whole family will enjoy. 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 Wakatipu. Overlooking Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown’s incredible alpine scenery, the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak is the perfect place to spend a beautiful day in Central Otago. Its colonial architecture and sweeping grounds evoke the elegance of a bygone era. Spend your time wandering the award-winning gardens, or saying hello to the animals that call the station home. The BBQ Buffet includes salads, vegetables, and succulent local meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie or grill. There is a wide range of desserts on offer, including a vast array of fresh bread and cheese. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let the supplier know directly so we can safely accommodate your requests.

From Queenstown: Lake Wakatipu TSS Earnslaw Cruise

2. From Queenstown: Lake Wakatipu TSS Earnslaw Cruise

Join the TSS Earnslaw for a cruise across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown. Admire spectacular alpine scenery and enjoy plenty of time to explore a piece of living history. Listen to engaging commentary from your experienced captain who will highlight points of interest throughout your cruise. Make your way to Steamer Wharf at Queenstown’s waterfront. Climb aboard the oldest working coal-fired passenger steamship in the southern hemisphere and feel free to explore. 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. 

Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

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

Get a taste of New Zealand's farming lifestyle in an interactive way with this combo tour in Queenstown. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride across Lake Wakatipu. Disembark at a traditional farm for a comprehensive tour of its facilities and some morning or afternoon tea. Start with a scenic cruise, crossing Lake Wakatipu toward Walter Peak High Country Farm. 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. Arrive at Walter Peak and join the host for a farmyard tour. Get up close to sheep, deer, and highland cattle. Help feed the animals, watch a farm demonstration, and explore the lakeside gardens. Enjoy morning or afternoon tea, including delicious scones and muffins.

Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

4. 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: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

5. Queenstown: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

Cruise farther and see more on this 1.5-hour Queenstown scenic cruise. Sit back, relax and enjoy spectacular views of the Remarkables, Bob’s Cove, Cecil Peak and Mt. Earnslaw from the comfort of the Spirit of Queenstown – an environmentally friendly and luxurious cruise boat. Take in panoramic views from the open top deck. Enjoy refreshments, snacks and lunch served in the café on board. Cruise across spectacular Lake Wakatipu as you enjoy entertaining commentary provided by the local skipper.

Queenstown: NZONE Skydive 15,000ft

6. Queenstown: NZONE Skydive 15,000ft

It takes a certain kind of person to jump from an aircraft at 15,000ft into thin air. It takes courage. Expect sensory overload as your mind, body, and soul fight against every natural self-preserving urge. The challenge is immense. Harnessed by space-age materials to your experienced Jumpmaster, step out of that aircraft door and for 60-second freefall at 200 kph — terminal velocity. Admire some of the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand from 15,000ft above the Remarkables Mountain Range. After a 15-minute scenic flight to altitude, you will nudge toward the edge of the plane before being thrown out. Keep your head up, smile at your skydive photographer, and take in the stunning surroundings. After an exhilarating freefall, you will experience a 5-minute parachute ride, floating safely back down to the skydive drop zone. At the drop zone base, make use of the internet kiosks and Discovery Zone where you can watch the parachutes being packed. There are drinks and snacks available for purchase, bathrooms, souvenir clothing, and a gift store, as well as free Wi-Fi. There are also lockers on site to store your valuables while skydiving.

Queenstown: 9,000ft Skydive

7. Queenstown: 9,000ft Skydive

It takes a certain kind of person to jump out of an aircraft at 9,000 feet into thin air. It takes courage. Harnessed to an experienced jumpmaster, expect sensory overload as you step out of the aircraft door, and for up to 25 seconds freefall at 200 kilometres per hour. You must choose to go through life able to say “I did it”, instead of knowing you had the opportunity and turned it down. Achievement doesn’t come any sweeter. From the moment you arrive at the skydive drop zone, the experienced team will take care of your every need. Everything for your skydive experience is provided, from jumpsuit to googles. Your experienced tandem master will provide you with a full safety briefing before escorting you to the waiting plane. Your flight to altitude will take 15 minutes, then you will be nudged towards the edge of the plane by your tandem master before leaping out. Be sure to smile and keep your eyes open so your skydive photographer can capture your experience, with the stunning scenery as your backdrop. After 25 seconds of freefall, take in the spectacular scenery during your 5-minute flight under canopy, as you float back down to the drop zone. After your skydive experience, you can make use of the onsite facilities, including internet kiosks and the discovery center, where you can watch parachutes being packed and customers getting ready for their skydive experience. Drinks, snacks, and souvenir clothing and gifts can be purchased onsite or you can challenge your friends to a game of Jenga or Chess while you wait for friends to land. Free Wi-Fi and lockers are available to store your valuables while skydiving.

Queenstown: Pilot's Choice Helicopter Tour & Alpine Landing

8. Queenstown: Pilot's Choice Helicopter Tour & Alpine Landing

Enjoy a 20-minute scenic helicopter tour and alpine landing for incredible views of Queenstown from above. Your pilot will choose your flight path and landing location for the best possible experience on the day. After pickup from your central Queenstown hotel, enjoy the short drive to the helicopter base at the airport. Meet the friendly crew and check in for your flight. Then, take to the skies to marvel at Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown from above. Your experienced pilot will share local insights with you and point out areas of interest. Your pilot will choose the best location on the day for your alpine landing. Only a helicopter will be able to land in the remote spot. In winter, you’ll have snow at your feet, and during summer expect stunningly rugged terrain. Fly back to the helicopter base where your tour will conclude with a transfer back to your hotel.

Queenstown: NZONE Skydive 12,000ft

9. Queenstown: NZONE Skydive 12,000ft

Take on the challenge of a tandem skydive from a height of 12,000 ft. Harnessed to an experienced jumpmaster, expect sensory overload as you step out of the aircraft door and freefall at 200kph for up to 45 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. 

Glenorchy & Paradise Scenic Half-Day Tour from Queenstown

10. Glenorchy & Paradise Scenic Half-Day Tour from Queenstown

Just 45 minutes from Queenstown, Glenorchy is nestled on the northern shores of Lake Whakatipu and is home to what many say is New Zealand's best scenery and a slice of Middle-Earth magic. View stunning scenery and alpine vistas as you are guided in style aboard a premium Mercedes van. Enjoy an overload of sightseeing and views packed into a fun half-day adventure to Glenorchy and beyond. Upon arrival in Glenorchy, you will be awe struck as you gaze at the mountain ranges and native beech forest which set the backdrop for this rustic town. You will have some time to check out the town's local sites and hidden gems, while also learning about Glenorchy and its fascinating Maori history. After Glenorchy, visit Paradise, view Diamond Lake, and explore the surrounding areas. There’s endless natural beauty and scenic stops along the way, ensuring you’ll go home with some postcard-worthy photos. View multiple Lord of the Rings movie locations, such as Twelve Mile Delta, where the first fight between Faramir's Rangers and the Giant Oliphaunts took place. In a location called "Paradise," you will also get to see the famous locations of Isengard and Saruman's Tower. Costumes are available, so you can re-create scenes and dress as a character from the movie. Whether you are a Lord of the Ring’s fan or not, you will be impressed with the stunning scenery surrounding these locations. Taste a kiwi-style morning or afternoon tea with a spectacular back drop. Your guide will set up the ultimate picnic in one of a number of picturesque locations, consisting of classic, kiwi delights. With a stunning natural backdrop comprised of majestic mountain ranges and native beech forest, Glenorchy is sure to leave you speechless.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Wakatipu

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What people are saying about Lake Wakatipu

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 3,005 reviews

Gorgeous day with smooth passage to Walter Peak where we enjoyed a sumptuous lunch. The meat was superbly cooked with a lovely smoked flavour. Great walk around the lovely gardens and interacting with the sheep and alpacas. The sheep dogs were very friendly as well.

The ship was very historical, still using coal for power. Lunch was very good especially the crispy pork. HK quality. Sad that you have to pay for coffee and tea.

It was such an incredible experience with the guidance and support of a wonderful team of staff and professionals.

Excellent service and food what a great way to spend an afternoon

Amazing! Fully recommend! Especially is the sun's out.