As the Earnslaw steams in to collect passengers for the return trip to reality, it’s timely to appreciate the mechanics of this famous ship.  This coal-fired steamship is a restored relic and icon of Queenstown. The bow of the ship is a museum that pays tribute to her history – from early beginnings to final restoration and use for tourism. The 51-metre long vessel started life in 1912 – plying the lake as a transport ship. She makes about five to six trips a day – loads of coal tipped in each trip straight from the dock at Queenstown; just as it was all those years ago. The open shaft in the ship’s centre stares down into the ship’s bilge; the engine room. This shaft allows passengers to overseer the workings of the ship; smell the sound of steam and marvel at the effort of it all.  It’s better than a sauna, harder than a work-out.


Far more pleasurable sipping a wine from the bar on the upper deck and watch the world go by – trying to envisage what life must have been like when Queenstown and Walter Peak were mere pups and pioneers were keen to carve their niche in this mesmerising place. Long may these historic charmers reign, I say.




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