The reserve begins after crossing the historic Skippers suspension bridge. Opened in 1901 it’s the most spectacular of its kind in New Zealand. On the terrace above is a virtual ghost town, the remnants of Skippers Township, once the largest gold settlement on the Shotover River.
The 1862 gold rush lured thousands of miners to Skippers Canyon, closely followed by packers, blacksmiths, butchers and bankers. At its peak, the settlement boasted a post office, hall, hotel, stores and a school. When the school closed in 1927 it became a woolshed, and later left derelict for some 20 years. In 1992 it was restored by the Department of Conservation.
Photograph by Neil Simpson