Earnslaw takes 100th birthday top-of-the-lake trip

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Queenstown’s TSS Earnslaw steamer has marked her 100th birthday with a nostalgic trip to the head of Lake Wakatipu.

The steamship yesterday (Sunday) reprised her role as a freight service to lakeside high country stations during a trip to Glenorchy.

During stopovers at Walter Peak and Mt Nicholas she picked up wool bales and loaded a horse on to her bow to demonstrate how freight was winched on board.

After leaving Mt Nicholas, the Earnslaw blasted her horn as she passed Elfin Bay, Greenstone and Kinloch stations, as she used to do to alert run-holders before her freight service was withdrawn in 1981.

On arriving at Glenorchy for the first time since her 1994 visit for the Glenorchy Races, the Earnslaw picked up locals for an hour-long residents’ cruise around the top of the lake.

Families, in some cases three generations, took the opportunity to go on board, Real Journeys Earnslaw centenary celebrations manager Tracey Maclaren says.

The eight-day centenary celebrations – including last Thursday’s re-enactment of the Earnslaw’s maiden Kingston-Queenstown voyage, short Frankton Arm cruises and Saturday’s woolshed party at Mt Nicholas – concluded with a family fun day today (Monday) at Walter Peak.

“We have been quite overwhelmed by the feedback from people from all walks of life who have supported the centenary celebrations in spite of often quite adverse weather,” Maclaren says.

“Some people returned three or four times to participate in different cruises and many adopted the period costume theme which helped create such a wonderful atmosphere throughout the celebrations.”