The following is an excerpt of the Otago Witness, dated 27 January 1909.
A man, Willow Brooe, summarized his experience in and around Queenstown.
".....The course followed by the steamer [from Kingston to Queenstown] is within a stone's throw of the jutting rocks of the western shore, which, surmounted with fuchsia, rata, and olearia, make an effective foreground to the huge peaks which tower overhead. All the way up the lake you steam with the ranges on each side of you until passing Colin's Bay. The steamer rounds Mount. Cecil and you have your first glimpse of Ben Lomond and a most picturesque view of the Remarkables. In a little while the steamer rounds the beacon and there directly ahead nestled in peaceful quietness, as though in repose, is Queenstown.
As the steamer approaches the wharf it is seen that there is quite a crowd to meet the boat and on landing visitors have to go through a regular ordeal, in that they have to pass through long lines of waiting people and be severely criticized in the process. It is a regular habit of the people to meet the boat and line up in this way......
That night, before turning in we [Willow and a new friend] resolved on driving to Skippers the next day. So next morning we were up early and having made up a party of seven we made an early start in a waggonette with four horses for Skippers. How can I describe Skippers - that wild, rough, and rugged road? Though I might try ever so hard I could not do justice in my description of the ruggedness and grandeur of the many magnificent scenes to be met with on this road. At one point of the road our driver called our attention to the exact model of the head of a man on the hillside.
|Head Sculpture in Stone|
There it was: eyebrows, nose, mouth and chin, as complete as if sculptured by human hands, and yet on such a massive scale as to show that it was not the outcome of human industry.
|Hells Gate in the front|
And then we came to a place where, on the other side of a ravine round which we were passing, could be seen a castle with battlements and turrets strong and powerful-looking and while we were wondering what a castle was doing in that lonely spot our driver broke the charm by informing us that it was the Castle Rock we were looking at that it was not the handiwork of man, but of nature.
|Driver over Skippers Bridge in 2011|
We were amusing ourselves by dropping stones into the river when someone suggested we should time a stone from the bridge to the water. I accordingly pulled out my watch and was astonished to find that it took about five seconds for a stone to reach the water in a straight drop.
|Enjoy the view, but please don't drop a stone...|
|Welcome Home Hotel back then|
But there was one thing I forgot to mention about this trip and that was dust. It was from 18in to 2ft deep all the road and you can just imagine what a dusty-looking crowd we were. We could not have been worse had we been employed in a flour mill...."