Half Day Private Skippers Canyon Photography Adventure - Queenstown Photography Tours :: Remarkable Imagery Photo Tours

Skippers Canyon Photography Tour

Capture the most spectacular & majestic places on Earth

Half Day Private Skippers Canyon Photography Tour

Please note: From July to November, this tour may be altered to suit weather/road conditions.  Skippers Canyon Road can the treacherous, and there are awesome alternative high-country back roads with epic and often snow-covered landscapes to explore.

Journey with us into wild and remote Skippers Canyon on our Half Day Skippers Canyon Photography Tour. We'll take you on a photographic adventure into some of New Zealand's most spectacular and majestic landscapes and a ride through a window into our colourful gold mining past. This tour is perfect for photography enthusiasts, from beginners to the more advanced. Your guide will bring alive the history and the stories of this rugged region. 

Whatever your level of proficiency they help you find inspirational vantage points and subjects and then work with you, giving you compositional tips and tricks, showing you the camera settings you need to compose amazing images. capturing a vision you'll be proud to take home.

We pick you up from your accommodation in or close to Queenstown in our comfortable AWD. A short drive takes us from the downtown bustle through rolling rural countryside to Skippers Saddle, high up on the road to the Coronet Peak ski field. This is the beginning of a 22km dirt road, hewn over a hundred and thirty years ago through mountains and backcountry to reach the rich gold deposits of the Shotover River.

The one-lane road winds above precipitous valleys, past fantastic, sculptural landmarks and far-flung mountain vistas to reach and then follow the crystal blue Shotover River as it winds through its own spectacular ravine.

Along the way, we encounter aptly named waypoints like Hell's Gate, Bus Scratch Corner and Pincher's Bluff. Around every corner, awe-inspiring features such as Gorilla Rock, the Lighthouse and Castle Rock. Every bend in the road brings a view of distant ranges and snow-capped peaks. 

At the halfway point, we descend to a riverside beach, the launching point for jet boats and rafting tours and an opportunity experience the Shotover's blue glacial waters. The landscape opens now revealing massive glacial terraces, so flat and sharp-edged they look almost man made. Here we see how gold miners massively changed the landscape with their sluicing and dredging practices.

We pass sites where industrious communities, silent now, thrived briefly. Only the odd foundation stone or the remains of a chimney stand testament to the past. Our guide will show you where to look: a copse of trees, the site of a village, rusting steel pipes bringing water to sluicing guns, a Chinese miner's shack, all being taken back by nature.

Toward the end of the road, we cross a wooden suspension bridge, spanning a 70-metre ravine. Inaugurated in 1901, this remote structure was a huge engineering achievement for its time. Just wide enough for one vehicle, it is a fantastic example of the tenacity and drive of the people who came first to this region. Finally, we climb through a ghostly stretch of pine forest to reach Skippers Schoolhouse, the last intact building of the settlement that stood here for some sixty years. The lovingly restored building contains a collection of photographs capturing the stories, the characters the and experience of life in those hard times.

This is the perfect place for a rest and refreshment stop, with coffee, tea and cookies to replenish us for the drive back to Queenstown.

Our return journey gives us an opportunity to revisit views and landmarks, to capture favourite spots in a different light or from another angle. Your guide is a local landscape photographer who knows this road intimately in all its moods. You will be guided in techniques of composition and use of your camera to create images that capture the true beauty and majesty as you see it.

The tour runs for about 5 hours, with stops for photography, tuition and refreshments and returns to your accommodation in or around Queenstown.

Duration: 5 Hours (approx.)
Location: Queenstown, Otago
Product code: PXDN0H

Book Here!

What people are saying...

Don't just take our word for it! Our reviews speak for themselves...

  • "Had a great day with Martin taking photographs around Queenstown. We were able to visit many places ordinary tour group, or self-tour won't able to find and get to. Martin is great teacher, helped me in composition, using of light even operating my own camera. Specially enjoyed the "local" touch at the lunch spot and visiting around Kingstown."
    Yue-Roe Wu - 7th February 2023
  • Small group tour was great. Martin was extremely flexible on the schedule as well as sites to see. Very knowledgeable and personable as well We didn’t rent a camera but Martin was very accommodating regarding taking photos at various spot on the tour. We had another couple who almost canceled but we’re very glad they did the tour. Highly recommended
    Wade G - March 2023
  • Wonderful private photography tour!

    Thanks to Martin for a great day of photography. With Martin's inside knowledge of the area, we were able to get to some areas well away from crowds and photograph the beautiful varied landscapes around Queenstown. And to learn and practice getting compositions that work.
    Richard W - November 2022
  • Martin’s expertise in managing a rainy day photo outing, combining cloud, fog and low light to create moody photo landscapes was the highlight for me. I’m so happy to have a collection of lovely New Zealand landscape as a memento of my holiday.
    Patricia Woods - September 2022
  • Outstanding photography tour

    Martin made this experience more fun and interesting with his local knowledge and going out of his way to awesome locations for photos. I learned so much I just have to put it into practice now .. Martin is a great tutor and very patient.
    I highly recommend if you are looking at doing landscape photography or just wanting to go and take some awesome photos this is the man for you.
    Beth C - August 2022
  • Half Day Photography Tour

    I had a great afternoon of photography and sightseeing with Martin. Learned a few things and had some laughs along the way.
    Would definitely recommend this tour if you have a free afternoon in Queenstown.
    Michelle G - July 2022
  • See NZ Backcountry, and experience amazing photographic opportunities

    We booked a photo tour of areas that most people wouldn’t go, to capture unique images. We were highly delighted with not only the tour locations but the personalised and engaging explanations of the flora, fauna, local stories and histories en route. Martin, our driver and guide; was excellent tutoring, driving and advising on images. We went off-road into stunning high country which offered excellent picture opportunities, can’t wait to process. Summer was brilliant, would love to return in winter! Highly recommended and would love to repeat with Martin again if back in New Zealand.
    Simon E  - Feb 2020
  • Amazing afternoon of photography

    What a wonderful experience! We spent the afternoon traveling to photography locations only a local would know, and got dozens of fantastic pictures that you won't see in the guidebooks or typical tourist spots. Martin was a fantastic teacher and guide, providing great photography tips and historic insight to the locations we visited. It was a wonderful trip and I came away with a month's worth of wonderful images I couldn't have gotten anywhere else. If you love landscape photography you owe it to yourself to book this adventure.
    J Jarmanning  - Feb 2020
Read more reviews

All of our Private Tours include...

Exclusive locations and local knowledge
Itineraries to suit your style. Landscapes, rural life, history or even a creative theme
Custom itinerary based on your preferences, weather and light conditions
Refreshments – tea/coffee and cookies
Lunch stop in a local village on full day tours
Itineraries to suit your style. Landscapes, rural life, history or even a creative theme.
Pick-up and drop-off at your accommodation in Queenstown. (Tell us where you are staying, allow 5-10 minutes for pick up).
Creative and compositional advice from our expert guides will help you with get the most out of your camera
Nikon DSLRs are available for rental
We're prepared! We have extra SD cards available to buy if needed
All levels of photography and all types of camera catered for
Comfortable 4WD transport with heated seats

Sign up for our newsletter...

Get your FREE Guide to Composing Great Landscapes
Sign up for our regular newsletter, with tour updates and discounts, news from Queenstown and the Southern Lakes, tips and guides to better photography.

checkmark-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram