Summer Road Trip Series: Glenorchy

Welcome to one of the most scenic drives, to one of the most scenic locations in ALL OF THE WORLD - Glenorchy!

Yes, we believe that the small sleepy settlement at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu is one of the best Day Trips from Queenstown, if not in the world! 

While this little township was named after Glen Orchy, a valley in ArgyllScotland, the name Glenorchy also means 'glen of tumbling waters'.  Latest consensus in 2013 has Glenorchy's population bubbling at 363.  We seriously doubt that's the case today though - there has been a steady growth in the sleepy community with an overflow of Queenstown'ers searching for even cheaper real estate and a step away from the tourist meca.  It's approximately 45 km (28 mi) by road or boat from Queenstown and at last count there were two pubs, a really homely café and a range of small touristy and outdoorsy types of shops catering to the adventurous traveller.

While it's often referred to as being made famous by its inclusion in a number of recent movies, it has in fact, always been popular due to its close proximity to a number of New Zealand's best Trail Routes & Tracks such as; Mount Aspiring National Park, Fiordland National Park, The Routeburn, The Greenstone Trail, & The Caples Trail, amongst many many more.  It also accesses the Rees and Dart Rivers and Trails.






'Epic' is really the only way to describe the scenery of Glenorchy, which as mentioned earlier, has been made famous outside of NZ in a number of Movies and TV series (sorry folks, but Glenorchy and its surrounds have always been one of our best guarded secrets!):

  • Lord of the Rings; The Fellowship of the Ring (2001),
  • Vertical Limit (2000),
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), 
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) 
  • Race for the Yankee Zephyr (1981) 
  • The Water Horse (2007)
  • Top of the Lake 

An ideal day may g something like this:  Rise and shine at 8am.  Depart for Glenorchy around 9.30am.  Enjoy your drive up, stopping to take photos along the way and arriving around 10:30 / 10:45am.  Wander around Glenorchy and stop for a coffee at The Trading Post Cafe.  Drive out to Paradise and even consider doing part of one of the Great Walks around Glenorchy.  Have a late lunch at The GYC - maybe outside on a picnic bench..., then early to late afternoon head back to Queenstown!

If a picture can say a thousand words then.....