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Top Things To See & Do In Glenorchy

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Only a short 45-minute drive from Queenstown and one of the most naturally striking locations in New Zealand, Glenorchy, is the perfect day trip for those staying in the Queenstown area.

Glenorchy is located on the northern shore of the beautiful Lake Whakatipu. Here you’ll find a gateway to some amazing hiking trails, jet boating, kayaking and even horse trekking.

The breathtaking hills and deep greens have been used as a setting for some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, including ‘Lord Of The Rings’ and ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’.

Glenorchy’s Lord Of The Rings Locations

The Destruction of Isengard from the Lord of the Rings

Glenorchy is home to some of the most iconic settings of the Lord Of The Rings film franchise, including: Amon Hen, Ithilien, Isengard, Lothlorien and the Misty Mountains. You can book specific tours that visit the locations of the film in Queenstown’s surrounds. Dart River Adventures also visit some of these areas like Isengard, where the Tower of Orthanc is found. This setting is famous for being the stronghold of Saruman the White, and where Gandalf defeats Saruman during the Destruction of Isengard.

Routeburn Track

Routeburn Track

The Routeburn Track is a great full day walk for those looking for something active to do in the area. Guided Walks New Zealand offer an excellent tour, run by knowledgeable guides, that take you through the history, geography, and cultural significance of the area. The land comes alive as you learn its stories and explore between 13 to 18 kilometres of some of New Zealand’s most mesmerising natural scenery.

Learn more about our guided walk of the Routeburn Track here.

Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu is truly an incredible sight. Surrounded by tall mountains, including the massive Mount Earnslaw towering at 2,819 metres, the stillness of the waters come to life as the tide makes the waters rapidly rise and fall as though they’re breathing. This is caused by the unusual shape of the lake, which has been carved into the mountains by ancient glaciers, as a result the water rises and falls 10 centimetres every 25 minutes. The Maori legend tells the story of an ancient monster, named Matua, that lives at the bottom of the lake and his heartbeat creates the waters to rise and recede. Today you can explore the lake by cruises and see it in both the ‘Lord of the Rings’ (as the setting of Amon Hen) and the 2007 Chronicles of Narnia film – ‘The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep’.

Aspiring Wilderness Experience

Wilderness Jet, Dart River Adventures

With exclusive access to a section of the breathtaking Dart River, our Aspiring Wilderness Experience combines the beauty of a ride on Lake Wakatipu, the thrill of a jet boat ride, and the cultural experience of a hike in some of the most culturally significant sections of Glenorchy’s trails.

The journey starts with a Dart River Wilderness jet boat ride where you’ll spend about one and a half hours on the water. Next, the driver guide takes you through the ancient Beech Forest found in Mount Aspiring National Park. Here you’ll learn about the area’s unique geology and the lore of the ancient land and customs of the Maori people. You’ll enjoy exclusive off-track access in the area and even see some native and migratory birds.

Learn more about the Aspiring Wilderness Experience here.

If you’re planning on visiting Glenorchy then make sure to check out our full selection of guided walks to make the most of your trip!