TSS Earnslaw docking in Queenstown

New Zealand ’17: Day 11 – Queentown (Sun)

Lodging: Matakauri Lodge
Date During Trip: July 9, 2017

I’m starting the day here writing at the desk by the roaring fire. Steve is off to the gym (6:30am). Today I’ll sift through my clothes to see what needs to be washed so I can make it to end the trip.

While far from over, this trips has been wonderful: not too rushed, not too crammed with activity. We’ve had travel days on both sides of very eventful days: hiking around Waiheke Island, dinner and “a show” about the Maori people (a surprise, actually), the astonishing hike down into the Waimangu volcanic valley (a real trip highlight for us both), the boat trip up the Abel Tasman National Reserve and hiking around in the rainforest there, and the activities we engage in now.

Today the manager of the Lodge, Emanuel, took us to town to board the TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown, and we steamed up the Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak. His conversation was interesting. We mentioned that we didn’t know 2 other properties existed owned by the same group, and we asked him about it.

He said that several decades ago, a very successful billionaire hedge fund pioneer (stressing he was a pioneer and not an evil satan) visited New Zealand and loved it so, he bought 6,000 acres on the north island. He ended up turning it into his first lodge: Kauri Cliffs on Matauri Bay. Then he purchased several hundred acres on the same island and did the same again at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay.

About 10 years ago he purchased this property (6 acres) and completely redid the existing lodge that was here.

Aside from too many children running wild, the ride on TSS Earnslaw was great fun. The captain of the vessel even made an announcement about parents not allowing their children to run or jump on the ship. The announcement did little good.

We got to the farm at Walter Peak and began with a huge BBQ in what appeared to be an old manor house. It reminded me a great deal of a place my grandparents would take us in Chickasaw, Alabama: sort of a colonial dining hall. The meats were fantastic as were the Brussel sprouts and a cauliflower salad.

We ended up seated at table 1 and were therefor the first people to be in line. Yum. We had a lovely view ofLlake Wakatipu and the distant snow- and fog-capped mountains.

After lunch we had a tour of the working sheep farm. The young farmer, a young guy in his 20’s, demonstrated how he uses the dogs to heard the sheep. His 3 dogs were much more trained than the shepherds that managed the sheep across the street from our house in Atlanta, in the park.

He then sheered the wool from a sheep. Apparently, there are basically 2 kinds of sheep: those that are good for meat and those that are good for wool. Seems the two don’t mix into one beast.

We had a lovely full moon during dinner time. Steve tried to take a picture of it, but the iPhones just didn’t capture it at all.

One of the things I love about the Matakauri Lodge is that they have 2 dining rooms: one for sane humans and one for families with children. We never have to deal with the screaming, rambunctious preci! What a delight!

At the end of dinner, I went to the bathroom in the main building. I have never seen a more interesting design concept: wash clothes, over a dozens of them, on short posts affixed to the a glass-covered wall. Very cool.

Bathroom near Dining Room
Bathroom near Dining Room


For a synopsis of all of the posts from this 2017 trip to both the North and the South Islands of New Zealand, with links to each post, click here. The posts listed in the OTHER RELATED POSTS HERE @ TT.US (below) may include posts from our 2014 trip.