Today was a very gentle day – not enough excitement to even increase our heart rate. a big change from our previous two days – but still very enjoyable. We spent the day travelling to Walter Peak Station at the other end of Lake Wakitipu on the vintage steamer, the TSS Earnslaw.
The TSS Earnslaw is a 1912 Edwardian vintage twin screw steamer and is the only remaining passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere. Named after a mountain of the same name, she was prefabricated in Dunedinand was then railed by goods train across the South Island from Dunedin to Kingston at the southern end of Lake Wakatipu. She was launched and fired up for her maiden voyage to Queenstown, with the Minister of Marine as captain. She then became a valuable vessel for the New Zealand Railways and was known as the “Lady of the Lake”. The ship now works fourteen hour days in the summer months and cruises for 11 months of the year, despite being almost 100 years old.
The trip to the sheep station took about 45 minutes where we had a very pleasant time enjoying a BBQ lunch on one of the outdoor tables.
Following lunch, we had a farming and shearing demonstration (what else in NZ?). Dave, the station manager first sent a bunch of little kids up the hill to bring down a small flock of sheep. They promptly scared them further up the hill, so Dave had to go and round up the kids. Then he did the most intelligent thing of all and sent a sheep dog out which effortlessly delivered all the sheep to where he was standing right in front of us.
Once the sheep were captured, he could give us a short shearing demonstration. I was unaware that New Zealanders sheared their sheep; I always thought that they kept them all to themselves!
Our day ended with a return leisurely trip back to Queenstown. No water skiing or adventure activities – just a sing-along as the pianist played a lot of old songs that none of the Chinese tour group knew, or could understand. However the scenery was very grand and spectacular.