Sunday, 31 October 2010

Travel times and travel speed on Skippers Road, Queenstown

Skippers Canyon is about 30 km away from Queenstown. It is the back country and only accessible with 4WD vehicles - this is a recommendation anyway. Rental cars are not allowed to travel on Skippers Road as the insurance will not cover any possible damages done to the car while travelling through Skippers Canyon.

Skippers Road is a Public road, maintained by the Queenstown Lakes District Council. The speed limit is 100 km per hour - this is the theory. In practice, you would normally travel with a speed of about 30 to 40 km per hour - and that's a recommendation. If you travel with your own car on this windy and unsealed Skippers Road, you will need to make your own decision of course about how fast you choose to travel. Be however always prepared to stop as all traffic is travelling on this very same, narrow road.

Passing maneuvers on Skippers Road are only possible at passing bays. If you are not an experienced mountain road driver, your best bet to visit Skippers Canyon would be to choose an operator like us to take you in there.

On our tours, you will literally sit back and relax, enjoy the stunning scenery, step out of the comfortable 4WD minibus to take pictures and even go for short walks - if you feel like it.

If you decide to travel by yourself into the canyon, it might take you approx 1,5 hours to reach Skippers Point. You will start in Queenstown, drive past Arthurs Point and up the road to Coronet Peak. Turn left just short of the Coronet Peak Ski fields.

Enjoy the ride!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Have you seen this video?

This is what awaits you in Skippers Canyon: stunning scenery, several photo stops, a commentary, as transport you will use a comfortable 4WD minibus and you will enjoy an outdoor picnic.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Skippers Tour is Worth a One-Day Visit to Queenstown

It is Spring here in Queenstown. The mountains are still covered by snow and the temperatures start to finally climb into double digits. It is simply stunning and gorgeous.

Some nights are still very cold and snow fall still happens. This is particularly nice for our morning tours. The other day, we picked up a small group of Australians. They came from Sydney and joint our 4 hours Skippers Canyon tour.

On top of Skippers Saddle, we had a short stop. Our customers loved the snow so much that we engaged in a snowball fight. After this, we built a small snowman... We simply had fun - a lot of it.

Just before we concluded this extraordinary experience, one of our guests told us, that he will definitely be back. He said, that this tour is even worth a quick dash from Sydney. He mentioned, that he would love to come back just for this experience and do only the Skippers Canyon tour.

This is certainly possible now that Queenstown is an international airport. Several airlines offer direct flights from Sydney to Queenstown. In about 3,5 hours you will be here. Whether you visit our lovely mountain resort just for 1 day or quickly over the weekend, a visit to Skippers is certainly worth your time.

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.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Skippers as Activity of a Combination Package

Let's assume that you spend 2 or 3 days in Queenstown. This lovely mountain resort has so many activities on offer, it is had to choose the things to do. So you will need some criteria to select the right activities for you. You could decide according to your budget, or according to your willingness to experience to dare doing something out of the ordinary, or you choose to do something away from the crowds. In this case, you could consider our Skippers Canyon Combination tour 'Canyon & Wine'.

This full day tour starts at 9am from your accommodation. The first 3 hours you will spend in Skippers Canyon. This wonderland of beautiful landscape and historic remainders will let you experience some time away from the hustle and bustle. Don't forget your photo camera and plenty of storage cards as you most likely will take many, many pictures.

Your next stop will be a Boutique winery where you will taste some delicious wines while enjoying an a la carte lunch. This short break is the perfect moment to reflect on what you just experienced or you could start a discussion with he wine maker about the wine you taste. As this is your special day in Queenstown and more over, you are on holiday, you dictate the pace of this tour. This basically means that we leave a winery when you feel like and note when we think it is time to move on.

After lunch, you will taste wines of 2 further smaller vineyards. We visit only smaller, not so famous vineyards as we believe that you will enjoy the wines a bit more if you can talk about them with the wine maker or someone who is very knowledgeable about them. The wineries we visit are all very charming and welcoming.

This special day out in Queenstown will conclude about 7 to 7.5 hours after we started. We will drop you off again at your accommodation or any other place in Queenstown.

Well: there is nothing left to explain about our Canyon & Wine Tour. The only thing that is missing now, is your visit - I know you will enjoy this special day very much.

Monday, 11 October 2010

A different kind of adventure or an unforgettable activity

What kind of adventure is it then, a visit to Skippers Canyon? That's very easy to answer: a different one. Let me explain this a little further:

Skippers Canyon is simply a beautiful area - a scenic goldmine. But before that, it was and still is a real goldmine and many goldminers tried their luck finding a fortune. Some did, but many were left with the attempt of trying. But never mind.

On our tour 'Unforgettable Skippers Canyon' you can enjoy this historic and scenic are at a leisurely pace. We take you all the way in to Skippers township which will be reached after round about 2 hours after the departure from Queenstown. Now this might sound very long, but in fact it isn't. The distance from Queenstown to Skippers Point is approximately 30 km. We take about 2 hours to travel this distance because we stop very often for photos - that is, we invite you as our guest to step out of the comfortable minibus and give your photo camera a little workout.

All the way into Skippers, our Driver/Guides will comment of the things you can see. You will see of course the landscape... but there a other things to appreciate, like special rock formations, old huts that are still visible, remains of the goldmining era, but we point out as well how Skippers Canyon came about to exist.

As soon as we reach Skippers Point, you will have the opportunity to visit the old schoolhouse. This restored historic relic is managed by the Department of Conservation and showcases the life in Skippers back then, about 100 years ago. I have to say, it is very impressive...

Skippers Point is also our picnic stop. While you go back in time (at least for 1 moment) we prepare some refreshments. Enjoy the home-made cheese and the sweet biscuits along with a coffee or tea. This picnic stop lasts for about 30 to 40 minutes before we head back the same way we came in - on Skippers Road.

We reach Queenstown after round about 4 to 4,5 hours. You can choose to join our unforgettable Skippers Canyon tour in the morning or in the afternoon. If you think that 4 hours is a bit long, because you want to do other activities in Queenstown, then why don't you join our 3 hours tour 'Skippers Canyon Vista'? It is basically the same tour as the 4 hours one, but excludes the picnic.

A visit to Skippers Canyon is certainly something worth while doing if you enjoy taking pictures, love the outdoors and try to stay away from the crowds.

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