Activities & attractions around Queenstown, New Zealand

Skippers Canyon New Zealand.

Skippers Canyon QueenstownThe 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.

Skippers Canyon bridge Queenstown

Four wheel drive safaris. Leave 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'. { the photo above }

Mountain Biking For those people that like sport this is your Mecca. The 'Long Gully pack track' is the trail from the skippers saddle down to the canyons vehical road, it is suitable for all levels of riding. the terrain is totally speed relevent, ie; if you cruise it, is mellow, yet if you go race pace down it, it is a fast downhill run. Down hill races have been held down this part of the canyon. What ever you do, don't race down the main road. You could get killed. If you would liked to be guided a tour company called Gravity Action knows the area well.

The Skippers suspension bridge, { seen here to the right } and the start of the autumn colours. The area is full of old gold mining Skippers Canyon Jetrelics 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.

Probably 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.

White water rafting on the Shotover QueenstownNow 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.

Family Adventures are specialists in soft adventures trips rafting and kayaking the upper reaches of the famous Shotover River, Queenstown. This trip is suitable for everyone from 3 years old as we raft on gentle grade 1 & 2 rapids only. Water confidence is not necessary.

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.
Edith Cavell bridge, Shotover river, Queenstown
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

Off 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.