USE THIS L2986 Queenstown looking down

Richard's Historic Walks

Journey into the pioneering past

An authentic and entertaining adventure into the lives of the early Wakatipu settlers led by local man Richard Soper.


Wakatipu History

Whalers and sealers settled on New Zealand’s southern shores during the early 1800’s but it was most often good farmland that drew pioneers to inland regions.  William Rees was Queenstown’s famous first settler arriving in 1860.  A hardy and determined man, he staked his claim on the Wakatipu ‘run’.

Gold was soon discovered though, and thousands of opportunists rushed to Central Otago from all over the world as word spread: British, Germans, Chinese, and many already mining the Victorian goldfields in Australia.   Richard’s great-great-grandfather William Soper came to the region in 1864 after ten years mining in Victoria.  Originally from Cornwall, he soon abandoned goldmining for commerce, building a pub to the south of Queenstown.

International visitors still flock to Queenstown these days, many also looking for action but of a different kind.  The stunning Remarkables mountain backdrop is recognised internationally but few people know the early history of the town, something Richard will bring to life for you.

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The Queenstown Walk

Explore the buildings and characters of this historic town on a 90 minute walk.

Days:               Tuesday – Saturday

Timing:            11am – 12:30pm

                         2pm – 3:30pm

                         Arrive at least 5 minutes early.

Distance:         2.8km (1.75 miles)

Cost:                $30 per person

Terrain:            Moderate fitness required, as there is a short steep downhill stretch.

Start point:      Tours meet by the statue of William Rees at the foot of the Mall, opposite Eichardt’s Private Hotel, as in the photo above.                                   Please book in advance (see below).

Weather:        Please dress for the weather, as you may need suntan lotion, a coat or an umbrella depending on conditions.


Contact Richard in advance to check availability.

Phone:  027 740 4508



Richard Soper - Your Guide

I've always had a passion for history, an interest shared by my mother. In 2011 I co-authored an update of Live and Let Live, her book about the pioneering history of our family who settled to the south of Queenstown. 

For many years I've belonged to historical societies and trusts and promoted history locally.  I set up Richard’s Historic Walks in 2019 and enjoy the opportunity to share stories about the fascinating people who built this region 150 years ago.



Mountain Scene - December 2019

Mayor Jim Boult and local MP Hamish Walker at the launch of Richard's Historic Walks.

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Tours Restarted - 14 May 2020

With the move to Level 2, I'm pleased to announce that walking tours have restarted, at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, Tuesday to Saturday. With the need for social distancing there is a limit at the moment of one party per tour. I look forward to seeing you.

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