Lake Wakatipu

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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 steam-ship – 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 aqua 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. It’s colonial architecture and sweeping grounds evoke the elegance of a bygone era. Spend your time wanderi...

    The steam boat and watching the engine being fueled was great. The food and service was fantastic at Walter Peak. We had a great relaxing time

  • TSS Earnslaw: 1.5-Hour Cruise From Queenstown

    2. TSS Earnslaw: 1.5-Hour Cruise From Queenstown

    Join the TSS Earnslaw for a 1.5-hour cruise across Lake Wakatipu. 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. 

    Wonderful to watch coal being hand shoveled in to the boat's boilers and see the pistons working. Wonderful to feel like you have stepped back in to another day and age. Well worth the trip cost.

  • TSS Earnslaw: Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

    3. TSS Earnslaw: Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

    Start with a scenic cruise, crossing Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Explore the decks, visit the steam room, or chat with the captain in the wheelhouse. You’ll find a licensed cafe on board. Disembark at Walter Peak and join the host for a farmyard tour. Get up close to sheep, deer, and highland cattle. Help feed the farm animals, watch a farm demonstration, and explore the lakeside gardens. Enjoy a morning or afternoon tea including scones, muffins, coffee, and tea. The Walter Peak Farm tour is the perfect way to get a taste of New Zealand's farming lifestyle in an interactive way. This 3.5-hour tour is suitable for all ages.

    Great day overall. Old steamer very interesting and nice cafe and bar. Farm trip was brilliant and well organised. Beautiful facilities at Walter Farm and the animals and dog display were fun and educational.

  • Queenstown: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

    4. 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.

    It was good. Obviously be better if we were not in level 2.5 Staff were great. Found it hard to hear the commentary but the scenery made up for that. Fantastic value for money too.

  • Queenstown: Pilot's Choice Helicopter Tour & Alpine Landing

    5. 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 ba...

    Fantastic crew from the ground to the air !! Reply looked after us and made us feel welcome and safe.

  • Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

    6. 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 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.

    Fun, quick time filler with easy access fron Queenstown wharf. Really friendly workers and driver

  • Queenstown 25-Min or 1-Hour Kawarau River Jet Boat Adventure

    7. Queenstown 25-Min or 1-Hour Kawarau River Jet Boat Adventure

    Discover Queenstown’s untouched and pristine wilderness during an authentic jet boat adventure across Lake Wakatipu and along the historic Kawarau River. Choose from a 25-minute or 1-hour experience and spend more time on the water with a convenient departure right from the heart of Queenstown. Depart from Thunder Bay next to Steamer Wharf in the heart of Queenstown and travel far up the Kawarau River, covering a distance of 47 km. Along the way, listen to interesting commentary from your experienced driver. After getting equipped with a life jacket and spray jacket, climb on board and experience exhilarating 360-degree spins, skimming the water at speeds of up to 95 km/hour.  Then, travel down the river where it is calmest, even when the lake is rough. Take your camera along to capture the stunning scenery of your jet boat experience with frequent photo opportunities.

    Awesome experience, wanted to go back for more but unfortunately time did not allow it.

  • Milford Sound: 1-Hour Scenic Flight from Queenstown

    8. Milford Sound: 1-Hour Scenic Flight from Queenstown

    Experience Milford Sound by air on this scenic flight from Queenstown. Fly above the rugged backcountry of Central Otago, before heading westward to where the glacial-fed rivers empty into Lake Wakatipu. As you cross over into the Fiordland National Park, you’ll discover an untouched world of peaks and valleys, where mountains reach into the sea – a landscape forged by the rapid retreat of glaciers. Soaring above Milford Sound you’ll get an aerial perspective of cascading waterfalls hidden amongst towering peaks, and the icy blue channel that flows into the Tasman Sea. From the luxuriant mosses and ferns clinging to sheer rock faces to immense peaks rising straight from the ocean depths, the entire experience is truly awe-inspiring. Fly across the mountain ranges and beech forests of the Southern Alps, above the famous Milford Track and over the Sutherland Falls before you reach the st...

  • Milford Sound & Te Anau 2-Day Small-Group Tour

    9. Milford Sound & Te Anau 2-Day Small-Group Tour

    Day 1: Leaving Queenstown, travel around Lake Wakatipu with amazing views of "The Remarkables" Mountain Range with some stops to take fantastic photos. Then, enter Fiordland National Park and visit Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, Lake Gunn, Hollyford River, Falls Creek, the Darran Mountains, and Homer Tunnel. Next, board your cruise on a small boat for an informative and personal tour of Milford Sound. Get closer to the wildlife and nature, including the New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks. See massive rock faces rising hundreds of meters out of the sea and waterfalls cascading from ancient rainforest high in the mountains. Marvel at the awe-inspiring Mitre Peak, an iconic steep triangular peak, rising high up above the reflective waters. As day 1 comes to a close, enjoy an overnight stay in Te Anau where you can have dinner at a local restaurant or take an even...

  • Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

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

    Join a fully-guided, small-group day tour from Queenstown or Te Anau to the world-renowned Milford Sound; the crowning jewel of Fiordland. Highlights of the drive will include Lake Wakatipu, the Devil’s Staircase, the truly majestic mountains of Fiordland, Mirror Lake, the Chasm, and Homer Tunnel. You will also enjoy multiple stops along the way for photo opportunities and Kea bird spotting (the world’s largest alpine parrot). You will then 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 you will take an intimate cruise on a smaller boat that gets right up close with 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 o...

    The tour was great, the photo shots available are amazing. The food where we stopped for morning tea wasn't the best. The scenery was awesome and having the rain made the Milford Sounds magical

Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Wakatipu

Want to discover all there is to do in Lake Wakatipu? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Lake Wakatipu

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,087 reviews

Worth every cent, we had a group of 8 so split across 2 helicopters. The pilots met up on the mountain so we could take a group photo. The experience was one I will remember for a long time!

It was a great thing to do, our pilot Charlotte was very informative about what we were looking at from the air, landing and taking photos in the snow was a highlight, loved it

The steam boat and watching the engine being fueled was great. The food and service was fantastic at Walter Peak. We had a great relaxing time

Great trip around lake Wakatipu. Had the wine and cheese platter - there is more than enough food on the platter. Great value for money.

Fantastic crew from the ground to the air !! Reply looked after us and made us feel welcome and safe.