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Skippers Canyon is without a doubt a subject you will talk about.

An excursion into Skippers Canyon, the backcountry of Queenstown is certainly worth your time: landscapes that are only accessible in Skippers Canyon, historic remains at every corner, a familiar atmosphere in a comfortable 4WD minibus and of course your interaction with our Driver/Guide who will explain this goldmining area and stop on your demand will create a truly unforgettable experience.

Enjoy all that this breathtaking area has to offer: stunning scenery, peace and quiet and an exciting history. Located in Queenstown's backcountry, Skippers Canyon is one of New Zealand's best kept secrets. You will travel on Skippers Canyon Road alongside the Shotover River at a leisurely pace. Built between 1883 and 1890 in four sections, the historic road was considered an engineering feat in its day. Our mature Driver/Guides stop for photos when ever you want and explain this former goldmining area. It is your choice to experience this living history by walking short distances and get in touch with Queenstown's very heritage.

One of the highlights of your tour will be the crossing of Skippers Canyon Bridge. The bridge is 100m long and suspended 90m above the Shotover River by its original 14 wire ropes. You will then safely reach Skippers Point in the Mount Aurum Conservation Area and enjoy a lovely morning tea as home-made cheese on crackers, biscuits and some refreshments will be served.

Here is the time table for your unforgettable Skippers Canyon tour:

Daily Departures at:
8.30 am or 1:30 pm - 4 hours tour

Tour concludes:
12.30 pm or 5:30 pm

Tour includes:
Pick up from your Queenstown accommodation
morning tea
on demand photo stops and short walks, eg. over Skippers Canyon Bridge

Price per Adult: NZD160.--
Price per Child: NZD80.-- (up to 15 years of age)
Prices are valid from 1 October 2011 through to 30 September 2017. Please note that this tour might not be available in Winter.

You will travel in small groups of maximun 9 passengers in comfortable 4WD minibuses with a guarantee of a forward facing seat. Plenty of photo stops and short walks on this historic mountain road keep you busy during this 65 km return trip.

The area became famous for the goldrush. Gold was discovered in the Shotover River in mid-November 1862 by Thomas Arthur and Harry Redfern.They mined continuously for about two months in the vicinity of the Edith Cavell Bridge site and in this time they secured gold worth about $8'000. With such high rewards at stake it is not hard to believe that swarms of miners literally raced to the area. Accurate figures though about how much gold was found cannot be provided as no official record was kept. An estimation listed around 5'000 miners worked in this region. Close behind the diggers came those who earned their money from providing services for the miners. Packers, storekeepers, hotel proprietors, blacksmiths, butchers and bakers established settlements in what are now deserted areas. During the 1870s the number of miners working individually decreased steadily. They were replaced by large companies who invested in dredging. Numerous ventures were floated at one time or another but most companies failed to make a success of their operations and did not survive very long. In the years immediately after Skippers Road had been constructed, tourist companies operated a single-day return journey from Queenstown. Subject to road and weather conditions the coach, drawn by four horses, left Queenstown at 8 am. It took about five hours to reach Mount Aurum station where the horses were changed before the return journey began. An entry in the 1925 'Official Southland Guide' described the journey as follows: SKIPPERS. Lake County. Is a wild and romantic mining district, about twenty miles from Queenstown, from which place the trip to Skippers is considered the premier excursion for tourists, daily trips being made, leaving at 8 am and returning at 6 pm, the mode of conveyance being by coach, each comfortably accommodating ten passengers, all box seats, thus ensuring an uninterrupted view. The return fare, including morning tea and luncheon, is 19 shillings. Post Office and Telephone. Population, 21. see for more details: 'The Road to Skippers' by Danny Knudson, Published by Reed Books, First published 1974, reprinted 1980, New Edition 1995

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