A rusted sign, off the Coronet Peak access road marks the entrance to the canyon displays a map of the area and
The Shotover River was once known as ’the richest river in the world’, and the one-way road was hand carved through vertical rock faces. In the 1860’s, there were four main hotels in the valley and many sly grog tents. Skippers township was home to 700 miners and their families. Today, a walk over the historic bridge reveals the Skippers Point Cemetery, the ruins of Johnston’s Otago Hotel and the restored Skippers Point School. By 1901, only 92 residents remained and the death knell for the settlement rang in 1927 when the school closed.
Maori Point, upstream from Skippers, was named in honour of the two men who discovered gold in the area in September 1861 - Rangiora Ellison and Hakaria Haeroa. Together, they panned 3.8 kilograms of gold in one day, and by September 1863, the township was home to 2,000 people. It spread across both sides of the river and had its own library, police camp, courthouse and BNZ Gold Office. Like Skippers, Maori Point went through a short lived boom and bust cycle, although mining continued in the area until the 1930’s.