Monday, June 4, 2012
In 1862, a couple of shepherds discovered gold in the Shotover River near Queenstown, New Zealand, prompting an immediate gold rush. This in turn necessitated the creation of an access route, and the result was Skippers Road, a narrow, winding, and exhilaratingly treacherous pathway that twists and turns for about 16 ½ miles through Skippers Canyon.
Carved and blasted right out of the solid rock by Chinese laborers, Skippers Road took 22 years to complete, and it doesn’t look much different today than when it was first created. In most places it’s too narrow for vehicles to pass each other, there are no guardrails, and the drop-offs leave absolutely no room for error.
Beautiful, yes, but also risky. Unless you’re a thrill seeker, leave the driving to the tour guides, and keep in mind that car rental companies probably won’t allow you to explore Skippers Road with their vehicles.