Wednesday, 13 October 2010

What the Goldminers left us

Skippers Canyon is without a doubt one of the areas which you have to visit if you are interested in seeing New Zealand and its breathtaking nature. It is also the area you should not miss out on if you are interested in learning a bit about Queenstown's history.

At the turn of the last century, goldminers swarmed the Queenstown area and tried to find their luck here. History tells us that some goldminers found their fortune only by chance. As an example, a goldminer had his dog with him, as he was travelling through Skippers Canyon, looking for the perfect spot to define his claim. The dog fell into the river, the Shotover River and nearly drowned. The goldminer jumped after this dog and eventually saved it. As soon as the 2 of them very safely ashore again, the goldminer saw some shining little flakes on the fur of this beloved dog and so he discovered his claim.

There are many stories about the goldmining history of Skippers. They are all fascinating and very, very interesting. Other stories were brought to us by children who used to live at Skippers Point. You can read about their experiences here in this blog. Please browse my other entries.

The goldminers certainly left us their spirit of Explorers and Fortune-Seekers. This very spirit defines to a certain part people living in New Zealand, in particular in Queenstown. We have an idea, think a little about it and then get it done.

But there are other things the goldminers left us: some very visual 'left-overs'. They certainly did not think about the environment and basically about the damage they create while trying everything to find gold. They diverted the Shotover River several times, washed down whole parts of ridges and mountains and they brought plants and trees to the area which create a real challenge for New Zealand native plants.

Anyway: New Zealand is such a young country and the history of Skippers Canyon is even younger. The goldminers did certainly leave us plenty of things to enjoy and to think about. I invite you to join one of our tours so that you can experience this living history for yourself.

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