Glenorchy is a small rural town 45 minutes away from the bustling streets of Queenstown. If you’re looking to escape to the wilderness for the day then this is the perfect getaway. It is picture perfect and the gateway to paradise.
The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is also absolutely beautiful and is all part of the experience. The road winds along the northern shores of Lake Wakitipu and is simply stunning. There are several bays to pull over and enjoy the views.
If you’re a water-sport enthusiast then you’ll also enjoy what Glenorchy has to offer. You can enjoy a jet boat tour along the Dart River or experience a kayaking tour below the southern alps. They will set you back a few dollars but the views will be worth it. Glenorchy is famous for it’s stunning scenery which is no wonder why it was chosen to act as the backdrop for several Hollywood movies, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
There are several filming locations from the movies located near the town including Isenguard, Amon Hen, Lothlorien and several others. We are big fans of the trilogy so this was really exciting for us to see some of these famous locations in real life. The drive to paradise, yes, there is an actual place called paradise, will take you right into the heart of Middle-Earth. The road is unsealed but we had no problem in our 2WD getting there. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and Wolverine have also taken advantage of Glenorchy’s natural beauty in their films.
There are several cafes and bars in town as well as several shops to pick up a couple of souvenirs or essentials. We went to the Glenorchy cafe and enjoyed a nice coffee and a slice of cake after our little hike. Before you head back to Queenstown make sure you head to the pier and to check out the Glenorchy boat shed; both have become quite famous with photographers and tourists given the snow-capped mountains resting just behind them.
Glenorchy is a charming little town with lots of free things to do and beautiful places to explore. It really showcases some of New Zealand’s best natural beauty and is defiantly worth the trip.
T R A M P I N G in G L E N O R C H Y
Glenorchy is very popular with the tramping community as it boasts some of the best trails on the South Island. The most popular walk in the area is the Routeburn Track; a 32k trail that traverses Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Park. It is a moderate trail that can take between two to four days to complete. It is known for it’s outstanding beauty so you can however walk parts of the trail in a day if you’re on a tight schedule. The track passes through the Humboldt Mountains and by several cascading waterfalls, helping it receive it’s status as one of the most famous walks in the country.
Another great walk in the area is the Lagoon Boardwalk track. The one hour return track winds its way around the lagoon and is a very easy trail. This little walk showcases the incredible beauty of the surrounding area and is ideally located in the centre of town. There are some amazing photo opportunities on the way as well, however this walk is very popular with tourists so make sure you arrive early to avoid the crowds.