Skippers Canyon Road one of the most dangerous in the world
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A stretch of road in the South Island is the third most dangerous in the world, according to an international watchdog website.
Website dangerousroads.org -- which searches for the world's most dangerous routes -- has labelled Skippers Canyon Rd, 25 minutes from Queenstown in the Mt Aurum Recreation Reserve, as "unbelievably scary as it's totally narrow and difficult to manoeuvre your car".
The gravel road is predominantly used by tour buses and commercial tourism operators for activities such as jet boating.
However, the website warns visitors the route is so dangerous that "your rental car insurance won't be honoured if you drive on it".
It went on to say: "This gravel road, with a length of 16.5 miles (26.5km), carved by hand by miners over 140 years ago, is made from a very narrow cut in the middle of a sheer cliff face."
While Skippers Canyon was ranked in the top three most dangerous, it pales alongside the top two listings.
A highway to hell in Turkey which has taken a toll of numerous lives in recent years is named as number one.
The D915 Bayburt Road is 170km long with 29 dangerous hairpin bends and no railings to prevent cars plunging over the edges. It is located in the foothills of the towering Soganli Mountain and was built by Russian soldiers in 1916.
Parts of the road are closed in winter due to snow, blizzards and ice.
Number two on the list is India's Keylong-Kishtwar Road. Vehicles are constantly twisted along this high mountain trail which has mind-numbing vertical drops.
Mike Noon, Automobile Association general manager of motoring affairs, said it was not a surprise Skippers Canyon Road was on the list of most dangerous roads.
"I have been on it before on a tour van but would not choose to drive it myself," he said.
Some corners had been strengthened underneath by stones to hold the road to the cliff and the route should not be tackled by inexperienced drivers, he cautioned.
"It has spectacular views but it is a pretty hairy stretch, especially on the corners."
OTHER DANGEROUS ROADS LISTED:
4. France-Italy border (in the Alps) - La piste de l'Amitie
5. Bolivia - Death Road
6. Pakistan - Fairy Meadows Road
7. Siberia - BAM road
8. Northern Peru - Ruta 3N
9. Iceland - Route 622