Tramper on Dynamo Hut track

Image: Adam Eason | Creative Commons

Introduction

Traverse rugged Skippers Creek to see New Zealand’s first industrial hydro power scheme or take the trail to the heart of Skippers’ quartz reef mining history.

Highlights

Bullendale hydro mine was the the site of the first industrial use of electricity in New Zealand. 

Track overview

Walking and tramping

4 - 6 hr Advanced: Tramping track

Dog access

Dogs on a leash only

About this track

Description

Bullendale Track

Time: 4 - 6 hr return, medium fitness

Start/finish: Skippers Cemetery. Park your vehicle here.

This trail to the heart of Skippers’ quartz reef mining history includes numerous creek crossings up to the junction of Skippers Creek’s two branches. Take the old pack track above the right branch. The former Phoenix Mine is marked by an old rock breaker perched high on the riverbank, above the site of the massive 30-head stamper. Nearby, Murdochs Creek is littered with mining relics, and the remains of Bullendale’s cottages are scattered on the tussock flat above.

Warning: heavy metals continue to leach from the old mine workings here – do not drink water from Murdochs Creek.

Dynamo Hut Track

Time: 6 hr return, medium fitness required

Start/finish: Skippers Cemetery. Park your vehicle here.

Traverse rugged Skippers Creek to see New Zealand’s first industrial hydro power scheme that was built in 1886 for the Bullendale battery 2.5 km away. Imagine going this way, lugging the two, solid steel, two-metre Pelton wheels and all  the other equipment that the scheme used.

The track heads northeast from the cemetery to Skippers Creek, then sidles upstream to the hydro dam that was part of the Mount Aurum Homestead power scheme. Further on, the track switches to Skippers Creek’s branch on the true left branch and climbs the left bank to a terrace where the old, tin Dynamo Hut holds a wealth of stories. Behind the hut are restored power plant parts.

Getting there

From Queenstown, travel along Gorge Road to Arthur’s Point and take the turn-off to Coronet Peak ski field. Off that road, turn left onto the unsealed road signposted to Skippers. From Skippers Saddle, continue on the narrow and winding 13 km Gorge Road to Skippers Bridge and Mount Aurum Recreation Reserve. This is a one-and-a-half- to two-hour drive.

Know before you go

Only experienced drivers should attempt this journey to Skippers. Because of its challenges, and precipitous drop-offs, this is not a road on which to learn gravel-driving techniques.

During high winds small-sized branches are falling out of dead trees within the densely forested pine stands in Mount Aurum Recreation Reserve. Avoid areas of dead trees during high winds.


Contacts

Whakatipu-wai-Māori / Queenstown Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 442 7935
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   queenstownvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   50 Stanley Street
Queenstown
9300
Postal Address:   PO Box 811
Queenstown 9348
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