Tag Archives: Queenstown

Queenstown Steamer ‘Earnslaw’ at 100

First-hand report on vintage steamship’s 100th anniversary

"Earnslaw" celebrants on Queenstown lakefront.

Cannons fired, vintage steam engines hooted and a huge crowd cheered and waved flags along Queenstown, New Zealand’s picturesque waterfront to welcome the “TSS Earnslaw” as she sailed into the bay to mark her 100th birthday, according to a first-hand report from local tourism spokesfolks. The Lady of the Lake, as this vintage steamship  is  known, marked her official centenary today with a re-enactment of her maiden passenger voyage on Lake Wakatipu from Kingston to Queenstown on October 18, 1912.

The report continued, “Three hundred and fifty guests, dressed in period costume, were on board to make the journey and witness the historic moment when the ‘TSS Earnslaw’ met the vintage ‘Kingston Flyer’ steam train on the wharf at Kingston,  just as the “Flyer” did a century ago when it carried passengers from farther south on the South Island. The ‘TSS Earnslaw’ then headed back into Queenstown Bay with flags flying and whistle blasting, making a victory lap flanked by a flotilla of iconic Queenstown boats which turned out in force to form a guard of honour.”

Not surprisingly, she holds the record as the longest passenger carrying boat built in New Zealand. Following the cutting of the centenary cake a plaque was presented to the “TSS Earnslaw” by the Royal Institute of Naval Architects “to commemorate 100 years of service and recognise the historical significance of the largest steamship built in New Zealand and one of the few remaining coal fired passenger steamers in the world.” Continue reading Queenstown Steamer ‘Earnslaw’ at 100

Ski Season Starts in New Zealand

With high temperatures and wildfire danger in the US West, the notion of skiing appeals

Reports from New  Zealand are of snow blanketing the South Island’s mountains overnight, a perfect omen for tomorrow’s official start to the 2012 ski season at Coronet Peak, the first of the Queenstown-Wanaka region’s six commercial ski fields to open. “Ski field” is Kiwi for ski area. Coming right up is snow action at Snow Park NZ, which is scheduled to open next Friday (June 15), followed by The Remarkables on June 16, Cardrona Alpine Resort on June 22 and Treble Cone on June 28. I skied them all several years ago, and when the thermometer approaches the triple digits here, I rather wish I were there.

Early snow on the mountains surrounding the sporty lakeside town of Queenstown, New Zealand. (Photo: Destination Queenstown)

The annual American Express Queenstown Winter Festival, dubbed the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter party, takes place from June 22 to July 1 and attracts an estimated 45,000 people each year to celebrate the advent of winter in style.  The festival features 10 days of non-stop fun with on-mountain action, fireworks, street parties,

Flights from the US all land in Auckland on the North Island. Air New Zealand and United fly from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Another option is Some are code-share flights. From Auckland, it’s a domestic non-stop to Queenstown on the South Island. Hope for clear skies as you fly over the Southern Alps. Beginning the last week of June, there will be a significant increase in domestic flights with Air New Zealand and Jetstar, plus 32 direct trans-Tasman flights from Australia into Queenstown per week for those who want to visit both countries as long as they are traveling “that far.”

Another transportation option is Air Pacific, the national airline of Fiji. This carrier periodically run specials on Los Angeles-Nadi flights that include free onward service to any other destinations (including both Auckland and Christchurch) when combined with a stopover in Fiji. It’s a great way to combine fabulous skiing with a South Pacific getaway. What could be better?