Sunday, 13 December 2009

Skippers Canyon and what else - some sample Itineraries

To be honest: you don't have to visit Skippers Canyon. I just believe that you would miss something very unique and beautiful if you don't.

If you should decide to visit the area, I suggest you don't take your rental car as it is not insured. Please read your contract carefully and if in doubt, ask you rental car company what will happened if you have an accident with the rental car or 'just' create a damage. As said, you are not allowed to take your rental there.

Most of our customers find it very relaxing having us as their guides through Skippers. They can sit back and enjoy the scenery while we explain them special points of interest.

When we pick up customers, we ask them if they are on a schedule and at which time (if at all...) they would need to be back in town. Usually, our guest bring plenty of time to enjoy the canyon.

Here are some samples of other activities that you can combine with a visit to Skippers:
  • go on a Shotover Jet boat ride after our tour. We pass Edith Cavell Bridge which is the starting point of Shotover Jet. We would drop you off right there, you check yourself in for the jetboat ride and take the free shuttle back to Queenstown. 
  • go an a rafting trip after our tour. Queenstown Rafting starts, too from Edith Cavell Bridge and again we could drop you off there. 
  • take the Skyline Gondolla up the hill in the morning, enjoy the overview over Queenstown and join our tour in the afternoon.
  • join our combination tour and visit Skippers in the morning and taste some wines in the afternoon. An a la carte vineyard lunch is included in our Canyon & Wine Tour.
  • have a sleep-in in the morning, join our afternoon tour into Skippers and board the TSS Earnslaw to cross Lake Wakatipu and enjoy an evening dinner at Walter Peak Station.
  • join our morning tour into Skippers and enjoy the a nice sail on the Yacht of Queenstown Sail in the afternoon. 
Please remember that all suggestions are samples of activities others did while in Queenstown.
Enjoy the area and if you can, bring plenty of time - you won't have troubles to spend it...

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Experience Skippers Canyon in Rain

Who wants to have a rainy day while on holidays? I guess the answer is no one. But we can't change the weather and sometimes, rain drops do fall on our heads...

Skippers is quite spectacular, too while it rains. We recently took a small group of 5 passengers into the canyon. It has been raining for about 2 days. We were lucky on this afternoon as we only had a few rain drops at the beginning of the tour. Every time it rains heavily, the Shotover River, which flows through Skippers Canyon and in fact created it long time ago, rises very quickly. During this afternoon tour, the group could observe literally from 1 minute to the other how the Shotover River would rise. It was truly a unique experience.

Just imagine this: normally, the water in Shotover River flows with 12 to 15 cubic meters per seconds. If it carries this less water, the river is stunningly turquoise and looks very nice and smooth and not at all dangerous. At the time we had this afternoon tour, the river flew with about 170 cubic meters per second and it later culminated during the night at approx 200 cubic meters. The Shotover River looked totally muddy and not friendly at all. Due to the masses of water, the river rose very minute. This change was quite obvious and stunned our guests during the entire afternoon.

We usually let our guest walk a bit on this mountain road in Skippers Canyon. This afternoon, they wanted to walk quite a bit and enjoyed the fascinating atomsphere in the canyon. Not only was the change of the Shotover River a unique experience to observe, but the clouds hanging around Mount Aurum and the changes in light enabled our guest to take plenty of photos of this beautiful spot we call home.

Towards the end of the afternoon tour, we even got a little lucky and saw the sun chasing away the clouds to lighten up the area with its shafts of sunlight. This topped everything. He heard comments like "who wants to visit Skippers in sunshine - this is much better" and "the atmosphere with the clouds and the mist creates a light that I have never experienced before. It is just stunning".

After hearing those comments, I remembered my own experience in Milford Sound while it was raining. Then, the Sound - at least for me - nearly comes to life and produces endless waterfalls. Milford Sound is a place which should be visited in rain and so is Skippers Canyon.

On all our tours, we carry some umbrellas with us and just in case it is necessary, we offer our picnic in a sheltered area.

As said before, you can't change the weather but you still can visit Skippers Canyon while it rains.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Queenstown Attractions: Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Skippers Canyon

Queenstown Heritage Tours received this written feedback which we are more than happy to share with you:

"We have nothing but praise and admiration for the way our driver/guide explained to us in detail the historic events of the area and gave us plenty of opportunity to use the camera .We were also impressed  by his skill of drivng the 4WD van. Skippers Canyon was not unknown to us as we also visited the canyon in 1963 and have stayed in Queenstown and the southern part of the country several times. Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Glenorchy, Paradise, Lake Manapouri and so many other beautiful sceneries are very impressive,but the excursion with Wolfgang beats all the others, not only through its ruggedness, but specially the combination of goldwinning, the Shotover river, the sheepfarming, the way the road was constructed etcetera made this to an unforgettable page in our extensive tavel history, which took us to the best scenic sites in the world." Mr. V. from the Netherlands, December 2009

What a remarkable feedback! Thank you!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

This is Skippers Canyon; or: "on which planet are we?"

May we present Skippers Canyon. It has been here in the backcountry of Queenstown for a very long time and it was once THE place to visit, back then, as Queenstown only had a few hundred visitors a year. Skippers Canyon hosted a part of New Zealand's Goldrush. You will find some more details about this in my other entries of this blog.

Today, Skippers Canyon amazes many visitors who travel with their own car or join one of our tours. They are usually very impressed by the unique views, the clearly visible tracks of the goldminers and by the fact, that Skippers Canyon is still a remote place without crowds.

A couple of days ago, one customer asked us after about 1 hour into the tour, on which planet he was. Naturally, this question was a translation of the feelings our guest experienced at the time.

We simply call Skippers Canyon 'our most stunning working place' which we are more than happy to share with you!

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Queenstown, Otago, New Zealand
I receive so many comments from our customers and wish to share them with you. All comments are verbally given to me or my team.