The commercial pressures of Queenstown drop away as soon gets a few kilometres out of town. Heading towards Glenorchy, pause a while beside the lake at Bob’s Cove and admire the quirky plantings at Little Paradise Gardens. There’s more rugged exploration beside the churning Shotover River, once the scene of frenetic gold mining. The early gold discoveries were here, and the tourist motherlode is now mined through rafting trips, jetboating, mountain bike rides and 4WD tours. The Shotover rises in the Richardson Mountains north of Queenstown and picks up speed to surge through its deepest and narrowest section, Skippers Canyon, and into the Kawarau River downstream from Lake Wakatipu. The Skippers Road, which follows the Shotover River only in its upper reaches, branches off Coronet Peak Road 12km north of Queenstown. It is approached along Malaghans Road through Arthur’s Point.

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