They say the Skippers Road is recognised for three unique factors, its landscape, its route and the stories it holds.
Travel with us in our luxury Land Rovers as we drive you along a historical journey sharing stories of goldfields, the people who have made a living from the canyon and the landscape which allows us through to follow the Shotover River Kimi Akau to the township of Skippers visiting the old Skippers Point Schoolhouse (1879) to be found across the famous Skippers Bridge, 220 feet above the Shotover.
The dramatic landscape starts with the entrance just above Coronet Peak ski field road, absorbing the views of the Wakatipu Basin from Skippers Saddle 975 metres above sea level. There we explain how the Shotover became the richest river in the world and how it came to be discovered as part of the surrounding Wakatipu Basin.
We then begin our descent then into Long Gully, past Lighthouse and Castle Rock a favourite nesting place for native falcon- Karearea. Passing through Heaven and Hells Gate, the magnitude of the roading contract won by for building and constructing this road is truly appreciated. Across the valley is the old Pack Track which relied on horses to carry supplies and settlers along this eastern route.
Here we pause and take a panoramic portrait of the rocky outcrops and the line of view to the west of the huge Mount Selwyn, Gilbert, Silverhorn and Aurum.
Highlights to be seen as we journey into the bridge include the turquoise Shotover River down below us in the canyon where rafters can be seen, the impressive alpine flora and velvet fauna of the wild tussocks and blend of fruit trees and flower seeds brought there by settlers from days gone by. Which marry into tracks for us to explore on foot as we find raspberries, gooseberries and wild marjoram, thyme and roses. Above us the alpine daisies, lillies and spaniards flower and the summer air smells of honey.
We explain the story of the ‘wonderfully good road” paid for by the gold it lead to and extension of the Skippers Suspension Bridge opened in 1901, which allowed settlement of Skippers and Bullendale further along the road. We turn around after a walk here and more photography around the township returning to Maori Point and the claims it provided within the heart of the Gold Rush.
Our Nikon cameras are able to capture this unique journey and its landscape through our continued field research into the environment of Skippers and the many peoples who have journeyed there in the 100 or so years of the Skippers Road.
To travel this route we are permitted by NZTA and the Department of Conservation to use Skippers and Mount Aurum as licensed photographers.