Private Passenger Tour




This full day expedition provides an opportunity to explore the Waikaia Bush Road and Kopuwai conservation area. From the serene Waikaia river, lush beech forest, tussock plateaus, gold mining and massive rock tor covered scenery, this road provides access to the beautiful Umbrella and Old Man Ranges.


The first visitors were Māori hunting moa on the tussocklands of the Garvie Mountains and Old Man Range. As a results of gold discoveries further up the valley in 1862,  a rambunctious town known then as Switzers grew complete with hotels, dancing halls and gambling dens. The last productive claim was King Solomon’s Mine, which closed in 1937. A rail line operated from 1909 to 1959.





This is a big day.

From Queenstown we head west through the Kawarau Gorge  to historic Bannockburn. From Bannockburn we start climbing steeply to 1280m on the Duffers Saddle Road, providing commanding views over Lake Dunstan and Cromwell. This area has an average annual temperature close to zero degrees Celsius. As a result the ranges are dotted with distinctive schist rock tors and bisected by fields of freeze-thaw hummocks and mounds, creating a wave-like effect across the slopes and basins.

We negotiate the old gold mining tracks and trails traversing the Old Woman and Old Man Ranges which run from north-west to south- east, creating a rain shadow that blocks and absorbs southerly fronts, making Central Otago New Zealand’s driest area. Attaining the height of 1740m we start travelling through the Kopuwai Conservation area, with stunning Central Otago vistas on our left, and the Nevis Valley and Hector Mountains on our right.


Unlike our Kopuwai tour which exits via the Obelisk Rock, this tour proceeds onto the Waikaia Bush Road,  Piano flat and Waikaia. Once we hit the ridge the countryside has commanding views over the Garvie and Umbrella mountains. Rock tors are a common feature in this landscape adding to the dramatic views.

There is a  rock step section that requires vehicles have good entry and exit departure angles (vehicles with low overhanging front or rear bumpers and tow-bars are not suitable for this trip).

From the ridgeline we descend via a zigzag track down through stunning beech forest at Piano Flat beside the Waikaia River and onto Waikaia township, Lumsden and back to Queenstown.


Due to safety with conditions, if it is wet or raining at Piano Flat we will not attempt the zigzag track section before Piano Flat. Instead we will exit as per our Kopuwai tour at the Obelisk and Central Otago.





    • Waikaia Bush Road
    • Umbrella Range
    • Old Man Range
    • Obelisk rock
    • Potters
    • Historic Clyde
    • Mitchells cottage
    • Gold mining history





ADULTS       2 Adults     3 Adults     4 Adults    Child PRICE          $445pp      $315pp      $250pp     $55

    • Min 2 adults, max 4 passengers
    • Child (16 and under)




    • 8-12 hours ex Queenstown




    • Morning tea and lunch
    • Extremely comfortable 4x4 vehicle


These prices are for private vehicle charter and guide.




Full day tours depart 7:30 am




These trips run from mid December to mid April, depending on snow conditions.

Please contact us to discuss dates.







Return to half and full day passenger menu



waikaia bush road old man old woman range kopuwai guided 4x4 tour
4wd expeditions queenstown new zealand

4WD Expeditions Limited

PO Box 1046

Queenstown 9348

New Zealand


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Freephone : 0800 4WD FUN (493 386)

Cell : 021 244 3920


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Phone : + 64 21 244 3920

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