During the making of 'On the Way (a journey through Aotearoa)' I had the pleasure of staying in Skippers Canyon for a couple of nights. The following photos were taken along Skippers Road which is 22km long running through. It is frequently listed as one of the world's most dangerous roads due to its extreme narrowness and blood curdelling drops off cliffs measuring over 200 metres in height straight to the canyon floor. For this reason, all rental car companies have a clause in their rental policies that their cars are not allowed to be driven along Skippers Road.
Skippers Canyon became famous in 1862 when Northern Irish man 'Skipper' Malcolm Duncan discovered gold in the Shotover river (runs through the canyon), which soon became one of New Zealands richest gold bearing rivers. Rumours still run rife through the canyon's inhabitants that there is still a 'mother load of gold' buried somewhere in the mountains waiting to be found. With these rumours of a large undiscovered quantity of gold still in the canyon running rampant, licenses to prospect for gold along certain parts of the river are still being sold for keen sums of money.
Today Skippers' is home to approximately 10 residents (dependant on the seasons) each of whom etch a living from the landscape. In winter the ice and snow make day to day life very difficult so a number of residents leave the canyon to live in more hospitable climates