Between mountain ranges, tucked into a lakeside setting is the pretty village of Kingston. Sitting at the southern tip of Lake Wakatipu and on the border of Otago and Southland Kingston can be overlooked in the rush to Queenstown. Relax and enjoy a lakeside walk within the mountain ranges. The town is a mere 47 km from Queenstown yet the rizzy adventure capital is light years away. The Southern Scenic Route passes directly through the picturesque town.
And the drawcard for train lovers is the parked up Kingston Flyer and the adjoining closed cafe.
WHAT TO DO HIGHLIGHTS
- Find the beautiful Kingston Flyer train (operating 1878) and ponder the fate of heritage railways
- Enjoy lakeside walks without the Queenstown crowds around Lake Wakatipu
- Enjoy the scenic drive and devils staircase lookout points
- Visit in autumn to view autumn foliage as the lake is surrounded by willows and poplar trees
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS
- Find a heritage train
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIES
- Where else with the train, although it is behind security fencing it is possible to artfully avoid the fencing in your photo moment
Kingston is a tramping and cycling destination. Nearby is the remote Eyre Mountains Conservation Park. The multi-day cycling trail 175 km “Around the Mountains Cycle Trail”, one of New Zealand’s Great Cycle Trails. The route wends through Southland towns of Garston, Athol, Five Rivers, Lumsden, Mossburn, Centre Hill, Mavora, Mt Nicholas and on to Walter Peak on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu. Cyclists then return to Queenstown on the SS Earnslaw steamboat.
Kingston has a golf course, boat ramps for the peaceful part of Lake Wakatipu for water sports.
In April 2021 the Kingston Flyer ran trains as part of Great Southern Train Tour, and in July the operation gained resource consent to operate. Initially the train will run only for group bookings during the 2021/2022 summer season, and will not run to a fixed schedule.
Where is the Kingston Flyer located. Follow signs to the beach and Kingston Flyer cafe.
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
- Originally the settlement was named St John, after Irish policeman St John Branigan, who was a 1850’s power broker, In 1864 St John became Kingston in 1864 to mirror Queenstown across the lake. Lake Wakatipu had a Queen and King!
- Charming lakeside town with a Lake Wakatipu walk bereft of Queenstown’s crowds
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
The Te Kere Haka Track follows the lake shore from the Te Kere Haka Reserve, offering great views of Lake Wakatipu and the Hector Mountains.
The first 30 minutes of the track are within the reserve boundary. Private land lies beyond, access permission must be obtained from Allendale Station to continue further.
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