SOUTHERN GOLD THREE DAY TAG ALONG / PASSENGER TOUR
This is the ultimate three day Gold Trail and High Country Sheep Station Expedition exploring the magnificent Queenstown region. On this tour we return to Queenstown each afternoon, so you can stay at your own selected accommodation and enjoy Queenstown's shopping, restaurants and night life.
Skippers Canyon was the scene of the frenzied 1862 gold rush on the Shotover River. We begin by negotiating the infamous 1889 Skippers Canyon Road, literally carved into the mountain sides along the Shotover River. We explore the canyon and its secrets, past and present.
From Skippers Canyon this expedition travels through to a wonderful, very private high country sheep station. We spend the next day exploring this 33,000 acre farm with plenty of time to soak in the views, stretch the legs, or just relax at the beautifully situated lodge. Leaving the sheep station, we head west and start travelling through the Kopuwai Conservation area, with stunning Central Otago vistas, varied history, magnificent rock tors and more.
With a guaranteed variety of tracks, diverse stunning scenery, local area commentary, authentic high country food and legendary experiences this expedition brings it all together.
ITINERARY THREE DAY TAG ALONG TOUR
Includes Skippers Canyon, a private high country sheep station and the Old Woman and Old Man Range.
DAY ONE | Queenstown and Skippers Canyon
Meet at Skippers turn off up Coronet Peak Road for safety briefing.
Skippers Canyon provides magnificent high country vistas, the powerful Shotover River and incredible gold mining history and relics. Visit the restored 1879 Skippers School House, legendary 1901 Skippers Bridge, and follow up the mighty Shotover River. Your guide has travelled this road literally thousands of times, and we will have plenty of time to share stories and interpretation of the area's rich gold mining endeavours.
DAY TWO | Private high country sheep station
This morning we set off into an impressive working high country sheep station which boasts a diverse range of terrain including glacial carved valleys, crystal clear rivers, ancient beech forest, sweeping tussock grasslands, steep bluffs and mountains. The station is incredibly rich in gold mining history, with an estimated 3000 gold miners in the area during the 1862 gold rush. This sheep farm is also home to New Zealand’s famous merino sheep. Plenty of time is allowed to soak in the mountains, river, and raw scenery. We head out to a remote hut for lunch before returning to Queenstown. Time has been allowed to go walking, gold panning or just chill out.
DAY THREE | Kopuwai Conservation area, Old Woman / Old Man Range
After another hearty Queenstown breakfast we set off west following the Kawarau Gorge to Cromwell and Bannockburn. After a fuel and coffee stop we climb up towards Duffers Saddle on the Nevis Road.
Leaving the Nevis Road we start climbing again up to 1740m.
Traversing the mountain tops with Lake Dunstan behind us, the Nevis Valley, Hector Mountains and The Remarkables on one side, and Central Otago and Alexandra on the other side, the views are simply stunning. Plenty of time is allowed to investigate the amazing rock tors and soak in the vistas of this memorable region.
A rapuwai pakiwaitara or story, recalls a time when hunting parties from coastal settlements venturing into the interior often disappeared without trace. This was because of a giant called Kopuwai who lived near the Clutha/Mata-Au River and preyed on humans with a pack of ferocious two headed dogs. The pakiwaitara recalls when Kopuwai found a party from the Kaitangata area and killed all of them, except for a young woman called Kaiamio. He took her as his slave.
Fearsome as he was, Kopuwai had one weakness; warm, nor-west winds made him sleepy. He was aware of this and knew that when he nodded off, Kaiamio would attempt to escape. Whenever he felt drowsy, Kopuwai tied a taura/flax rope to her arm; if either of them moved, he’d know that she was still there. Despite that, Kaiamio was able to outwit him and escape. She undid the taura on her arm and tied it to a nearby rush/wīwī, so that when the giant stirred, he felt the rope give and take, as if his slave was tethered to him.
When Kopuwai woke and saw that Kaiamo was gone, he was enraged. In searching for her, he picked up her scent in the wind along the Mata-Au. This was when Kopuwai lived up to the meaning of his name – waterswallower – as in trying to recapture her he swallowed so much of the river that its bed was dry for some time.
In the meantime Kaiamo had escaped to her home on the coast. Intent on seeking her revenge from Kopuwai, she returned with a party of warriors and they waited for a nor-west wind to put the giant to sleep. When the wind arrived, the warriors blocked the front of the giant’s cave with dry bracken and ferns and lit them. The smoke finally woke Kopuwai and he tried to escape through a portal in the cave’s roof. As he emerged, Kaiamo’s war party grabbed him and beat him to death.
Killing Kopuwai was possible because his ferocious, two-headed dogs were away hunting. When they returned and found their master gone they searched, but in vain. In time, the dogs also died and became transformed into what are now rocky outcrops on hilltops between the Old Man Range/Kopuwai and South Canterbury.
PRICE (minimum vehicle numbers apply)
3 day tag along price
We offer discounts off the standard price with the following
Passenger price POA
DATES AVAILABLE 2018/19
Trips are also run on demand, contact me if you have alternate dates in mind. When available we are happy to be flexible with dates.
Day 1, Southern Gold tour
Day 2 video #2 of Southern Gold and
High Country tours
Day 3, Southern Gold tour
Video of fun river our track crosses
multiple times with this tour
Autumn helicopter sheep muster
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Freephone : 0800 4WD FUN (493 386)
Cell : 021 244 3920
From Overseas / International
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Phone : + 64 21 244 3920
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