Day 135 on the Road
4×4 Tour in Queenstown
Today we are doing a 4×4 off-roading tour in Queenstown with Nomad Safaris! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities, head on over to our YouTube Channel and join the backpacker squad!
So today we are going to be 4WD our way through Middle-earth a.k.a Queenstown. Queenstown is Middle-earth Ok.
This morning we are being picked up straight away from the Nomads Queenstown hostel by Nomad Safaris they are going to be taking us on a 4×4 trip around Queenstown to see this awesome area and all the off the beaten track places. Our guide is Laura who is born and bred in Queenstown it’s not often that you actually meet a local in Queenstown and she’s the perfect person to take us around this area.
Our first stop is a lookout over the Kawarau River which is a famous Lord of the Rings location. It is that part in the Fellowship of the Ring the Fellowship is canoeing under those giant statues. And this obviously makes for heaps of very nerdy pictures that the entire group is taking.
As well as some Lord of the Rings locations we are going to an awesome vantage point where Laura can tell us more about the history of the Queenstown area and the Wakatipu Basin. This has a whole gold mining history surrounding it, Queenstown is not just the adrenaline and adventure capital of New Zealand. And speaking of gold mining we are now off roading our way down to the Arrow River which is a famous place to actually find some gold ourselves which we will be doing later in the tour. But for now we are having a crazy time doing about 14 different river crossings across the river.
That’s right in our quest for gold are going to be going in and out the Arrowtown River heaps of times and our 4WD is up to the task this landrover is a beast and is absolutely not stopped by anything there is a ton of rocks below this river it’s shallow it’s deep there is heaps of different tree trunks that just felled into the water and the truck is going over everything with ease.
The trip is about 2 hours long and we are on the Gold Seeker Tour today with Nomad Safaris, it’s a really awesome way to see the area and Laura actually gives us the choice whether we want to focus on the Lord of the Rings side of things or focus more on the history of Queenstown and it’s a unanimous decision we decide all together us along with the two other people on our tour who are students from the US that we want to learn more about the history of Queenstown.
To be quite honest it’s not so much about the history of Queenstown that’s attracting everybody but the prospect of finding our own gold Laura tells us that along the tour we are gonna get the chance to find our own gold since the Arrowtown River was very famous for being one of the most gold-producing river of New Zealand. So as we keep on moving toward the gold panning location we are crossing the river again and again and again. Laura is showcasing incredible skills in maneuvering the four wheel drive around the very torturous terrain that are presented to us today.
On the back of the truck we are having a blast. Everybody is laughing and shouting and screaming it’s a lot of fun. Quite surprisingly we don’t even get wet despite the truck being almost halfway submerged in the water at some point.
It’s a crazy journey but eventually we do make it to our gold panning area so Laura is filling up some gold pans with dirt and showing us the techniques used to find gold in the Arrow River which you really have to have a lot of patience and technique to find. And Laura in first try finds a little spec of gold. Right here Laura has found less than 20 cents worth of gold so now it’s time for us to try this for ourselves get the gold pans and do some swirling action.
While none of us find a single spec of gold we are rewarded anyway with a nice little lunch but we do some quick math and work out that it took two minutes to find this 20 cents speck of gold making it a whopping $6 an hour as a gold miner. I really think we should be sticking to what we’re currently doing.
And now we are moving onto one of the world’s most dangerous roads winding it’s way along the edge of the Skippers Canyon. This place is absolutely crazy but luckily we are in the right vehicle to get down there. We then arrive at an old pub or at least the remains of one.
The story tells that in this pub the owners were only hiring really ugly barmaids because he was sick of miners striking gold and leaving with his barmaids to go live the high life in other parts of New Zealand.
On the way back up the Skippers Road we are taking the time to make a few pit stops along the way to actually embrace these amazing views. We have lots of photo opportunities to take and Laura is helping us out with all our photos it’s really awesome.
Laura’s also pointing out some really bizarre shapes that we can see in the rocks around us for instance we can see King Kong face etched into the rocks as well as Lighthouse Rock.
Being a local, Laura also has heaps of stories to tell us about the area, especially stuff that she used to do when she was much younger taking dirt bikes down this crazy road. I just can’t believe what the locals can get up to sometimes.
This is a really awesome way to see around Queenstown especially if you don’t have your own mode of transport or if you are like us and you have a crappy campervan that you just hate driving everywhere.
And in now time at all Laura drops us back into the little township of Queenstown where we have to get onto a little bit of shopping. We are going to Torpedo7 cos we need to get some new gear.
We are really putting our clothes and gear through their paces so we need to get new clothes every 6 months during this crazy adventure. Laura’s getting herself some flashy new shoes. I’m getting some new tops some new pants we even get ourselves a new backpack because almost everything was destroyed and we are back on track for the next leg of our trip.
The scene of the Lord of the Rings it’s the one where they have the big state where they put their hand right in front of the screen for people to say You shall not pass and then the statues transform into gollums and Hagrid arrives.