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 stunning 33,000 acre farm, its awesome tracks, and  its views that need to be seen to be believed , 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.






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.


VIDEO : Autumn helicopter muster on station we visit.




  • Personalised service
  • Freedom to choose own accommodation and food
  • Exclusive and extremely private
  • Genuine kiwi experiences
  • Visit New Zealand legend Barry Crumps remote southern home
  • Either self drive or passenger option








 ADULTS        2 Adults     3 Adults     4 Adults    Child PRICE/DAY    $520pp      $395pp      $335pp     $150

  • Minimum 2 adults
  • Child (16 and under)
  • Maximum 4 passengers
  • Duration up to 8 hours per day



  • Morning tea and lunch
  • Extremely comfortable 4x4 vehicle
  • Sheep Station access fees
  • Includes 15% NZ Goods & Services Tax


These prices are for private vehicle charter and guide.







  • $3250 single vehicle
  • $POA - 2 or more vehicle




  • 3 days of fully guided 4WD tag along
  • Hand held radio use
  • Morning tea
  • Sheep Station access fees
  • Includes 15% NZ Goods & Services Tax


We offer discounts off the standard price with bookings of 2 or more vehicles.

Day 2 can be changed to the Pisa Range.




All our trips are run on demand.

We are able to confirm for one vehicle.

When available we are happy to be flexible with dates. We can break the tour up to include rest days during the tour if requested.




  • Vehicle insurance suitable for this tour.
  • All terrain tyres preferred with minimum 60% tread.
  • Hi/low ratio.
  • This tour is suitable for beginner to intermediate levels of off-road driving experience. However, this tour operates on private sheep station farm tracks and DOC land. As per most backcountry routes this tour has narrow tracks, and tracks at height. Drivers need to be confident driving on back country roads.
  • A full list of vehicle requirements is on our booking form. Contact us for details.
  • Due to hazard communication over radios, English must be your first language.
  • Skippers Canyon is a public road. Private and rental vehicle insurance policies must be checked to make sure they include Skippers Canyon. We can direct you to rental companies in Queenstown that allow their vehicles in Skippers.
  • During summer the road does not require 4WD vehicles, but further up the canyon there are small creeks to cross and areas that require vehicles with suitable ground clearance. Please contact us to check vehicle suitability.
  • If necessary vehicles can be hired in Queenstown for this tour.




3 steps for booking


  1. Email us at
  2. We will send you a link to the booking forms. Please read, sign and return. We can collect these on tour day.
  3. Payment options
    1. Online link we will supply - visa, mastercard, eftpos
    2. Direct bank transfer
    3. On the day, visa, mastercard, eftpos or cash






Day 1, Southern Gold tour



Day 2 video #2 of Southern Gold and

High Country tours


Day 3, Southern Gold tour



4WD Expeditions Limited

PO Box 1046

Queenstown 9348

New Zealand


From New Zealand

Email :

Freephone : 0800 4WD FUN (493 386)

Cell : 021 244 3920


From Overseas / International

Email :

Phone : + 64 21 244 3920

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