View from Trelawn Place to mountains and river

Skippers Canyon

Skippers CanyonThe discovery of gold in the Skippers Canyon in 1862 and in the Arrow river brought a huge influx of miners into the area. Maori Point in Skippers Canyon is where two Maori miners, Rangiora Ellison and Hakaria Haeroa discovered the gold. During the gold rush there were four main hotels in Skippers Canyon and many Sly Grogs (tent pubs)

Skipper canyon at the head of the Shotover river now is a adventure play ground, with white water rafting, jet boating, four wheel drive tours, and amazing scenery.

Four wheel drive safaris.

Skippers CanyonLeave your rental car behind, and sit back and enjoy awesome scenery while your driver concentrates on the road. You desend into a deep canyon, viewing the amazing back country, and rocky outcrops where the road was sculptured by the pains taking labour of the Chinese. The Skippers Rd is one of the most significant gold mining access routes left in New Zealand and we are hopeful that its narrow width, impressive stone walls and rock cuttings will survive to remind us of the skill and tenacity of the road builders to forge a road through such daunting country.
Once home to thousands of miners and their families, many relics like the beautifully restored stone school house, Mt Arum Station homestead, and the cemetery, fire your imagination.

As this road is closed to rental cars, access is basically by 4 wheel drive vehicles. Nomad Safaris and Queenstown Heritage Tours, will collect you from your accommodation. For those that like to walk, we suggest that you park your car at the saddle and walk down to ‘Light House Rock’.

Mountain Biking.

The Coronet Peak, Skippers Canyon area is a mecca for experienced Mountain Bikers. You can ride trails made famous in many Mountain Bike movies, including “follow me”. Options include the 5km single track Skippers Pack Trail, complete with rocky sections, steep drop-offs & stream crossings, Rude Rock and the Zoot Trail. Vertigo Bikes offer a multi-run shuttle trip.

The Skippers suspension bridge, { seen here to the right } and the start of the autumn colours. The area is full of old gold mining relics whilst today it is paradise for thrill seekers. For a short period the highest Bungy Jumping site was from from this bridge. The Pipeline Bungy quickly followed, this being even higher.

Jet boating.

Skippers Canyon jet boatingProbably the easiest way of seeing the amazing scenery of the skippers is by taking the Skippers Canyon jet boat ride. Allow 3 hours, the afternoon trip is timed so that not too much of your day is lost in doing this.

White water-rafting.

Now this is fun.
After your drive into Skippers Canyon, board your inflatable raft at Deep Creek, . The ride down the Shotover is exhilarating and through some wonderful scenery.
We recommend Queenstown Rafting. for the adventurist.

Alternatively there is.

Family Adventures

also offers a unique trip combinating sightseeing by bus or van (a 45 min drive into Skippers Canyon, one of the most scenic roads in NZ), and raft on the upper Shotover River. The on-river trip is pretty gentle, only rafting on grade 1 & 2 rapids. This means that any water that sloshes into the raft, does so without violence or force. In fact, water confidence is not necessary. They stop along the way on the river and adults and kids who want to, can try the various rock jumps into the river, and swim in the river.

The trip definitely falls into the “soft adventure” category, it is NOT your average SCARY raft trip that you would experience on higher graded sections of the river. We are the only rafting operator in Queenstown who takes children under 13 years on the Shotover.

New Zealand produced its first electricity from the a Hydro plant at the Bullen Dale in the Skippers canyon, before the big cities had it. This was to drive a quartz crusher. To get the gold.

We make a trip into the Skippers canyon at least once a year to see the autumn colours, and sometimes for a picnic at the school house. If you are an adventure seeker, look for the combination trips on offer. When you do a package deal everything becomes a little cheaper, but best of all the trips are co-ordinated to give the best use of your time. A truely unique part of New Zealand.

Motor Bike Tours

Edith Cavell BridgeOff Road Adventures Queenstown offers half-day motor bike rides, for intermediate to advanced level riders, no-license is required. 2¼ hours ride through the Shotover Canyon. Another option has 3¼ hours riding through the Shotover Canyon, then climb 3000 feet above sea level to visit our old gold mines and explore the trails of a rugged yet unbelievably stunning sheep station. Allow 4 hours total time. Phone 442 7858

Most people will see the bottom of the Canyon from the Shotover Jet boat or from the Edith Cavell bridge. The above photo is of rafts comng out of the Oxen bridge tunnel. The end of the rafting trip.

For those people that would like to see a bit more of this amazing river. You can drive beyond the Skippers settlement to one of New Zealand’s most remote high country stations. This is the Branches Station. From here one has to follow the riverbed to the rivers source. The Shotover Glacier is part of Mount Aspiring.