Spruce up for Queenstown’s Walter Peak

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A veteran Lake Wakatipu cruise operator is sprucing up its offering – as a competitor enters the fray.

Queenstown tourism group Real Journeys, running return trips on historic steamer the TSS Earnslaw for decades, is upgrading its attractions across the lake at Walter Peak.

As well as refurbishment of the Colonel’s Homestead, woolshed and gift shop, Walter Peak dining is in for a complete revamp.

New executive chef Justin Koen, formerly of Queenstown’s Wai fine dining restaurant, gets a brand-new kitchen to whip up all-new menus.

Real Journeys boss Richard Lauder says one aim of the upgrade is to make Walter Peak’s food and setting so impressive to Queenstowners they’ll recommend the place to visitors.

Lauder won’t say how much is being spent at Walter Peak – except that it’s “significant”.

Celebrity chef Josh Emett and his local Rata restaurant partner Fleur Caulton have done consultancy work on the “overall concept from food to service and design components”, Real Journeys says in a statement.

New chef Koen will create what’s labelled “gourmet BBQ menus”, one for lunch and another for dinner, with a matching list of local wines.

Lauder says the new menus will launch in November, adding the new Walter Peak product has been in the pipeline for more than 12 months.

The destination across Lake Wakatipu may be undergoing big changes but one aspect will remain the same – how you get there.

Real Journeys’ 1912 steamship Earnslaw will continue to serve Walter Peak daily.

The Real Journeys spruce-up of its Walter Peak product comes as Southern Discoveries – which recently bought a catamaran, Spirit of Queenstown – gears up to offer rival cruises across Lake Wakatipu to Mt Nicholas Station.

The company launches its new product in early November.