"A rural paradise" Top 5 Page for this destination Glenorchy by Robmj

Glenorchy Travel Guide: 48 reviews and 129 photos

Glenorchy is at the northern point of Lake Wakatipu in central Otago and just north (40kms) of the popular tourist spot of Queenstown.

Glenorchy is a destination in its own right and the drive around the lake from Queenstown is breathtaking. The road is now sealed all the way which means it only takes 30-40 minutes to drive, but allow plenty of time, as the photo stops are bound to be numerous.

Glenorchy is also the scene of filming for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and there are various tours based from Queenstown that will take you. You can get maps locally of the sites and visit yourself of course.

Glenorchy is a major gateway into the Mt Aspiring National Park (as is Wanaka) and this area is home to some major walking tracks being the Routeburn, Greenstone and Caples. There is a whole raft of local walks and you can also do the start of the major tracks as a return day walk if you don’t want to camp out.

The Dart and Rees valleys are also superb; one of the settlements down the valleys is called Paradise, very apt, come and visit and you will see why. These valleys make a day trip each to explore and admire the wonderful scenery. You may need a 4WD to get right in however, particularly in winter months.

The town was only opened to road in 1964 and the bridge over the Dart River giving access to the west side of the lake was only completed in 1976. Kinloch, which is a sister settlement to Glenorchy is on this side and has a great lodge to stay at with a range of accommodation options from budget to more luxurious and some great food. If you stay at Kinloch you will really sense the isolation of the place, my main photo on this page was taken at Kinloch looking down the lake.

Back to Glenorchy - it now has plenty of adventure activities, like jet boating, rafting, canyoning, skydiving, horse riding and the town itself has plenty of cafes, restaurants, a few shops and an all-important pub. Don’t worry; it definitely retains a small town feel.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great base for tramping, walking and exploring
  • In a nutshell:Photographers paradise
  • Intro Updated Sep 7, 2009
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