This 4WD tour of Skippers Canyon reveals the rugged beauty of the gold country and scenic gorge near Queenstown. After pickup from your centrally located hotel, climb aboard for the 4-hour tour, which includes a stop for morning or afternoon tea.
Traveling along Gorge Road, your driver-guide passes the suburb of Arthur’s Point, crosses the Edith Cavell Bridge over the Shotover River and continues up a miners’ route toward Coronet Peak, a world-class ski area with outstanding views over the Wakatipu Basin.
Shortly after you reach the saddle — the highest point of your trip at an elevation of 3,199 feet (975 meters) — take in views of Mt Aurum and the surrounding valleys and hills. Your guide navigates the 4WD vehicle along the steep and narrow Skippers Road past Hells Gate, stopping at special points of interest such as the Zoo of Rocks and the old Skippers Road once used by gold miners.
On the descent you’ll pass Castle Rock, Bus Scratch Corner and the remains of Welcome Home Pub. Reaching Bells Hill, get another glimpse of the gold-bearing Shotover River, passing Pinchers Bluff, Devils Elbow and Deep Creek.
Your guide leads several short walks in Skippers Canyon and stops at a scenic picnic spot for coffee or tea and chilled wine with cookies and homemade cheese served on crackers, all while you enjoy the canyon views. LOTR fans may recognize the movie site from a scene in The Lord of the Rings where Frodo escaped the Black Riders with the help of Arwen and the forces of the river.
On returning to Queenstown, you’re dropped off at your hotel.