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Skippers Canyon

Skippers Canyon

Skippers Canyon: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Queenstown: Skippers Canyon Jet Boat Ride

1. From Queenstown: Skippers Canyon Jet Boat Ride

Experience unbeatable value as you are taken on a spectacular guided tour of Skippers Canyon followed by a thrilling jet boat ride through the narrowest canyons on the Shotover River. Begin with a guided drive into historic Skippers Canyon with on board commentary from knowledgeable drivers. You will be escorted into a land rich in gold mining history and stunning scenery via the infamous Skippers Road which was carved out of the vertical rock face by miners over 130 years ago. Once on the boat you will feel your adrenaline surge as you power deeper into Skippers Canyon through the most dramatic canyons on the Shotover River. The highly skilled jet boat drivers maneuver the boat just inches from the sheer canyon walls and keep the excitement levels high with speeds in excess of 80kmh and a series of full 360-degree spins. After the boat ride, head to the historic Pipeline Bungy area for a rest break and incredible views out over the canyon before making the 45min journey back to Queenstown.

Queenstown: Shotover River Whitewater Rafting Adventure

2. Queenstown: Shotover River Whitewater Rafting Adventure

Start the tour with a fun drive to the rafting take-off point via Skippers Canyon. The drive is an experience in itself; the narrow dirt road hugs the canyon's sheer cliffs and offers spectacular views over the river you'll soon be soaring down. At the rafting base, get fitted in all your gear and listen to a full safety briefing. The rapids can change on a daily basis but rest assured our guides are expertly trained and have a keen sense of adventure. They will guide you through canyons and help you navigate rapids. Begin your whitewater rafting adventure from Deep Creek. Cruise over peaceful waters before heading towards the exhilarating rapids of the lower canyon. Feel the adrenaline pumping as you paddle through the rapids and into the darkness of the historic, 550-foot Oxenbridge Tunnel before shooting over Cascade Rapid to complete your adventure. Enjoy a hot shower at Rafting Base before returning to Queenstown. 

Queenstown: Half-Day 4WD Lord Of the Rings Discovery Tour

3. Queenstown: Half-Day 4WD Lord Of the Rings Discovery Tour

Embark on an adventure safari packed with breathtaking scenery, thrilling 4WD action, and LOTR filming locations. Visit the filming locations of Minas Tirith, Misty Mountains, the Pillars of the Kings (Argonath), Gladden Fields, the Ford of Bruinen, and more.  After pick-up from your hotel, journey around the Wakatipu Basin to see The Remarkables, which were used as various mountains throughout the three movies. Travel part way up Queenstown Hill for a bird's-eye view onto Deer Park Heights, which was used for the refugees of Rohan and the Battle of the Wargs scenes. From the viewpoint, head to Kawarau Gorge where the filming took place for the Argonath - 'Pillars of the Kings'. After Kawarau Gorge, travel to Arrowtown where the loss of The One Ring scene at Gladden Fields was shot. Near Arrowtown, you will experience a true off-road adventure. Following a historic gold mining road up the Arrow River, cross the river many times to get to the Ford of Bruinen. Here you can indulge in a refreshing afternoon tea and try your hand at a spot of gold panning. From Arrowtown, travel to the entrance of Skippers Canyon for spectacular panoramic views of the Wakatipu Basin and into the Canyon. Please read Disclosure of Risks and Weather Cancellation Policy here

Glacier Explorer Helicopter Flight from Queenstown

4. Glacier Explorer Helicopter Flight from Queenstown

Our most popular scenic helicopter tour flies over the Queenstown Basin, Paradise Valley and Mt Aspiring National Park. Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter flight over spectacular mountain scenery, impressive ice falls and multiple glaciers before landing on exclusive alpine terrain and stepping out to breathe in the back country wilderness. When conditions permit* you'll land on the glacier itself for once in a lifetime photo opportunities before heading back to Queenstown over hidden alpine lakes and historic Skippers Canyon. *Please note: between January and June, due to the summer conditions such as snow cover changes exposing crevasses, we may not be able to land on a Glacier as our landing locations are limited. In such instances, you will always flyover the Glaciers, but we can’t guarantee a Glacier landing. Your pilot will choose the next best alternative such as landing close to the Glacier or opting for an Alpine landing, either of which will have spectacular views.

Queenstown: Shotover River Whitewater Rafting Trip

5. Queenstown: Shotover River Whitewater Rafting Trip

Enjoy the thrill of whitewater rafting on this river trip. Raft past the rugged beauty of the Shotover River, drive into Skippers Canyon, and cool off in the water. Meet in Queenstown and hop on a bus to head to Skippers Canyon and the Shotover River. At the river, get into your wetsuit and learn about your rafting equipment from your guide. After a safety briefing, get into the water to begin your adventure. Raft down the Shotover, shooting through 6 grade 4-5 rapids. Navigate the Aftershock, Squeeze, Toilet, and Pinball rapids, before entering the darkness of the 170-meter-long Oxenbridge Tunnel. Between rapids, enjoy the calm water and the canyon's natural beauty. Cool off with a swim in the river or relax in the sun. Finish your rafting adventure with the challenging Cascade Rapid before arriving back at the base in Queenstown.

Queenstown: Scenic Alpine Heli-Flight

6. Queenstown: Scenic Alpine Heli-Flight

This 35-minute helicopter flight from Queenstown is a winning combination. Enjoy spectacular alpine scenery, including Skippers Canyon and the Queenstown Basin, and and make a dramatic landing on one of the region’s stunning alpine peaks, whatever the season. Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters is Queenstown’s leading scenic helicopter flight company, built on a reputation of providing a high standard of professionalism and service. Following a transfer from your hotel and safety briefing, climb aboard your helicopter and head for the skies! The landscapes you will fly over contain many stories of the natural and human history of New Zealand and the Southern Lakes. During your flight you will discover how glaciers and the movement of the earth’s crust formed New Zealand’s unique mountains and valleys over thousands of years. Plenty of evidence also remains of the rich gold mining history left by Europeans and Chinese gold miners in the late 1800s. Land on the roof of Queenstown and jump off to take photos of the wilderness. Your alpine landing will provide excellent photo opportunities. Please note, all trips are subject to favorable weather conditions and availability.

Lord of the Rings Tours: Half Day in Middle Earth

7. Lord of the Rings Tours: Half Day in Middle Earth

Your journey through Middle Earth starts from the station information centre on Camp Street at 8:00AM or 1:30PM.  From there you will travel to the top of Skippers Canyon and to Arrowtown, once rich gold mining locations, and you will learn about the history of the area.  We will check out The Ford of Bruinen, where the Black Riders challenge Arwen and are swept down the river, and then onto the Gladden Fields where Isildur was ambushed by Orcs and where the One Ring was lost.  From Arrowtown you will travel towards the Kawarau river where you will see The Argonath (The Pillars of the King).  Then its time for some fun handling and photographing weapons, such as Gimli's axe, Anduril and Sting.  After spending time reenacting scenes with the weapons there will be one last lookout stop where we will point out more locations of Rohan and Gondor before heading back to Queenstown.

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What people are saying about Skippers Canyon

Overall rating

(283 reviews)

Awesome experience transiting the road to the canyon amongst gorgeous scenery in a white knuckle drive - truly awesome. The jet boat was driven by the skipper that appears in mission impossible chase scene between the jet boat and s helicopter. We came within inches of the canyon wall and am awestruck by the superb driving skills. At the end we drive up to a bridge across the canyon that used to be used for bungee jumping. Incredible viewpoint. We most highly recommend this excursion and hike to be able to do it again,

a breathtaking must do experience! our driver and the jet boat operators were very friendly and engaging, the drive and the ride are not for the faint of heart but I would do it 50 more times! went during the autumn but the views were just as stunning as they would be in winter

From start to finish it was the perfect activity. Our guide Jess was so lovely and made sure we all had the best experience :)

Cal did a great job getting thru the tight canyon road and Ben thrilled us on the jet boat. Thanks!

Such an enjoyable trip! Our guide, Jess, was friendly and informative. Would recommend :)