After one day of riding we get a day off. However this tour is about seeing the country as much as riding bikes and Queenstown is a place that you don’t want to rush past. You want to do a couple of tours and see some of the cool stuff.
Agnes and I choose taking the historic coal steam ship Eanrslaw from Queenstown to Walter’s Point Station. The T.S.S. (Twin Screw Steamship) Earnslaw was built in Christchurch and taken apart and hauled overland to serve the flourishing sheep industry and gold rush. It was launched in 1912. The ship is beautifully maintained and an absolute treasure from the past. You get to walk down into the engine room which has two monstrous double acting triple expansion steam engines and a guy shoveling a ton of coal every hour into to three monster boilers. The gleaming brass fittings, huge old pressure gauges, and temperatures in the 30’s are everything you see in the films.
The cruise up to Walter’s Point is about 45 minutes cruise up lake. Walter’s Point is one of a handful of remote stations left which are accessible only by boat. It is a real gem of a place with the most beautiful view up the lake you could imagine and the mountains offsetting the lake views. It was beautifully sunny and warm so Agnes and I sat out on the veranda and had morning tea with carrot cake and scones. There was a sheep shearing demonstration which was totally hilarious. The sheep was grabbed and flipped over so it was on it’s backside at then the wool was peeled off before the sheep knew what was happening. We were told that good shearsmen could do 300-400 sheep per day or 250 Merino sheep. There was also a sheep dog demonstration which was very interesting. There were about half a dozen verbal commands and the rest was done by pointing the walking stick. We also were taken around to see the other animals on the station, English Red Deer, Lots of different kinds of sheep, Lamas, and West Highland cattle and two week old calf. The station had 20,000 sheep.
We jumped back on the boat and had a very pleasant cruise home.
The other must do in Queensland is the gondola up to the top of Bob’s Peak which overlooks Queenstown. The views are absolutely stunning. From up there you can see all the way all the way down the lake and looking the other way all the way up the Crown Peak (where we will ride tomorrow – tune in tomorrow to see all the switchbacks). Totally stunning.
What a great day.