I found two companies in Queenstown that offered Lord of the Rings half-day tours: Nomad Safari and Pure Glenorchy. They scheduled an hour or hour-and-a-half break between the morning and afternoon trips.
I took Glenorchy’s tour in the morning, but both groups had already booked their afternoon jaunts. (See this previous post for details.) Nomad Safari did have another tour available that offered a LOTR filming site. This was the Skippers Canyon tour. Pure Glenorchy helped make the arrangement with Nomad–again, another example of Kiwi hospitality.
There were only three tourists: myself, and a charming couple from Israel, plus the tour guide, who drove us in a vehicle with four-wheel drive.
We’d travel the 22km Skipper’s Canyon Road, rated the most dangerous road in the world by 9 News of Australia. Our guide was a tad more charitable, labeling it the eighth most dangerous road. According to 9 News, “It was hand-carved by miners in the late 1800s, and the conditions are so tricky that rental car companies won’t allow their vehicles onto it, as their insurance isn’t honoured there.”
This, I didn’t know.
It’s one lane, unpaved, narrow, uncomfortably close to the edge of precipices.
Geoff Mackley posted a real time video of the 22km trip at 39:29 minutes. Now you don’t have to worry about plunging onto the rocks or into the Shotover River.
“BJK1715” mentions, “The ‘scariest’ section at 17:13. Cool single lane suspension bridge at 38:30.” A particularly shaking section begins at around 21:00 through 22:30.
Other videos of the trip are available on YouTube.
Some sights along the way:
Yes, the road on this ridge is the same road that you see way beyond the ridge. Lots of curves.
Anyone see any Orcs?
It’s the Welcome Home Hotel!