As I sat on the edge of the jetty hypnotised by the combination of sunshine, mammoth mountain peaks and the deep blue glassy waters of the magnificent Lake Wakatipu, it would have been easy to completely drift into a complete state of bliss.
Luckily for me I was snapped out of it by the horn of my approaching ride and my focus was now directed towards the iconic splendour of the TSS Earnslaw cutting its way through the glistening waters of the lake.
I was exploring the half day trip across the lake to the historic Walter Peak High Country Farm. As she steamed closer towards the dock the sight was not only an impressive one, but also thought provoking. I wondered about her previous lives prior to her being saved from being scuttled by the current owners in 1968.
Once onboard it was like stepping back in time and the Lady of the Lake’s past was revealed. Built in 1912, the same year as Titanic (gladly that’s where the comparisons end), The Earnslaw was an essential part of keeping isolated farming communities of the lake and the real world connected. Transporting sheep, cattle, supplies and yes even passengers over many years. Even if you have no interest in history, I trust you will be impressed by this 50-metre maritime marvel of yesteryear.
As we cruised across the lake you could not help but be overawed by the surrounding alpine scenic brilliance that surrounded you. The enormity makes you feel a little insignificant actually.
New Zealand is without doubt one of the most beautiful countries on the planet!
Pulling into Walter Peak unexpectedly became another wow moment as the grandeur of the Colonel’s Homestead was exposed in all its glory and
I was excited to jump ship and inspect it more intently. That was partly due to the fact I knew a little about its past and wanted to know more and I had skipped breakfast to indulge in what my local Queenstown mates had told me was one of the most amazing gourmet BBQ lunches in existence, so I may have been a little over-zealous about plundering it. Before I could get my choppers around that number we were entertained with a little farming knowledge and a sheep shearing demonstration.
Being an Aussie with a general knowledge of farm life this was rather interesting in a way, especially the differences with high country farming. What I found more intriguing was watching the reactions of the visitors from distant shores. They were totally fascinated, which in turn made for some intense people watching from me. You habitually forget what may be something ordinary to you might be almost alien to someone else. Seeing those reactions can often be priceless.
With the aroma of the BBQ enticing me like Homer Simpson to a donut, I took a leisurely stroll (I ran) through the gardens up to the main homestead for the lunch bell had rung.
Finally, there it was in all its glory. The holy grail of lunches. Everything I had heard about this scrumptious feast was true and it was finally right there in front of me for all my senses to entangle with. First to catch my eye was the Antipasto selection with all your favourites, freshly baked breads and rolls that definitely looked tempting, but I had other plans for filling my belly. When we are dealing with such an expansive array of this nature, I say bread is unnecessary gut luggage!!
More than five tempting salads choices and multiple veggie options, and yes, they would get a little look in. The star of the show was now in full sight when I was lured to the Brazilian styled BBQ, which was blazing with local Cadrona Lamb, Canterbury Pork and Southland Beef and Zamora local snags, all being cooked to perfection.
My biggest problem now was where to start and most importantly not to peak too early. Remember folks you can always return for seconds and you must leave a little space for dessert, just trust me on that fact.
I am not going to take you through my dining routine as it will only have you salivating and resulting in massive food envy, just use your imaginations okay?
What I will make special mention of however is a few of the standouts that I am sure you will want to get your mouths around. The pork with its perfectly procured crackling. The Southland beef, also cooked to my personal taste, medium rare and as tender and warm as a cuddle from your grandma. Just leave room for desserts, because they are off the scale!
New Zealand is calling you and I cannot wait to return to host my small group, Ultimate Luxury Top of The South Island Adventure, and I would love you to join me.
Email me at [email protected] for more details if you’d like to take part.
Scott McRae is an accomplished actor, entertainer and travel writer. Scott is ‘The Travelling Guy’.