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Skipper, Queenstown Overview

Stretching out for over 23 kilometres and some more to the north of Queenstown, Skippers Canyon is considered a very central scenic location for vacationing around Queenstown. The famous canyon looks over the Shotover River, which is globally renowned for being a rich mining center and a hub for adventure tourism. Standing over the canyon's edge will give you goosebumps, given how steep it could get at some points.

The road area of the canyon is made primarily to make tourist transportation easy and comfortable. The preferable route would be through the Gorge road to the Coronets peak since this route lets you look over the other two scenic sites, Wakatipu Basin and the Shotover River. The trip is best enjoyed by taking a 4WD car or minibus. A varied range of photographic locations, good food and comfortable and luxurious accommodation promises an unforgettable trip to Skippers Canyon.

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Skippers Canyon, surrounded over the Shotover River is regarded to be a very rich mine source for gold. The river was named by William Gilbert, one of the first Europeans in origin to settle in the mainland of Queenstown.

Skippers Canyon is also known to have introduced hydroelectricity for gold mining purposes in the year 1882. Twenty years before that, there was a report of having found gold in the spot very unexpectedly by two miners. Soon after, it became a hub for other miners across the world who came to try their luck. 

Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Skippers is around the month of October when the winter is at its end, the river water is conducive enough for jet boating, the roads are not slippery and the place opens up for bird viewing

Things to Do

Jet boating
The Shotover river with its vibrant current gets conducive to stream across it on jet boats. A knowledgeable tour guide will fill you in with the mining history and anecdotes from the past. Any Queenstown trip should bring you to jet boat along the streams and super narrow canyons, thrilling and adrenaline-inducing experience at best.

Scenic Beauty
Any Lord of The Rings fan? An elaborate trip will take you to its prime locations. The other visual delights being the abandoned township of the Skippers, the cemetery and the school, Winky’s museum, Sainsbury's, the thin suspension bridge of skippers looking over the Shotover River. To hype things more, you might as well get your hands on the gold river and get lucky.
The skipper's road will take through a rice alpine tour and you will be welcomed to a panoramic view of the Wakatipu

Mountain biking
If you are a biker/rider at heart, you may opt for mountain bikes to go through mountainous trails of Coronet peak, the canyon road to give you a very innate and essential mountain biking feels. You will be enveloped between the scenic view of the rivers and canyon steep and the cold breeze to graze you away. Opt for this mode of transport only if you are professionally skilled at riding and is up for the huge steep and rocky, uneven terrain of the slope.


Being a rampant tourist spot in the current, the place is brimming with lodges, hotels, suites for accommodation, of varying rates to align with your financial capacity. There are food joints and restaurants scattered along the way to feed you in case it turns out to be a long journey.

How To Reach Skipper's Canyon

  • A 4WD vehicle, a minibus or a car is highly recommended to make the trip a comfortable one.
  • The route starts from Queenstown, taking the road towards the Coronet peak.
  • The entrance of the canyon will take you to a place called, Plane Table, which lets you gorge over the grand Wakatipu Basin.
  • An experienced tour will brief you through the legacy and much talked about the heritage of the canyon that you are about to enter before the Lighthouse Rock gives you a panoramic tease of it.
  • You will also enter the township region of Skippers which has a long history. 

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