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Glenorchy

11th May 2020 by Carmen

Just 45 minutes from Queenstown, Glenorchy is nestled on the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu & is the gateway to hiking trails and Middle‑earth™ magic.

This rustic town is a true outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Set against a background of native beech forest and towering mountain ranges, Glenorchy’s surrounds are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Lake Wakatipu and the Dart River offer opportunities for jet boating and kayaking, and some of New Zealand’s best hiking trails can be accessed from here. Horse trekking in the area is also highly recommended.

Glenorchy’s spectacular landscapes have become a prime location for film scouts, depicting many scenes from The Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as featuring in the Narnia movies. Twenty kilometres away from Glenorchy, as bucolic farmland gives way to beech forests, lies Paradise.  Some say it was christened for its natural charms, others for the paradise ducks that live in the area. Nobody can say for sure how it got its name, but the one thing people agree on is its breathtaking beauty. “This is the Middle‑earth™ I had always pictured,” Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf) said of Paradise.

Home to about 500 people, Glenorchy is a welcoming and vibrant place famous for its southern kiwi hospitality. There’s an assortment of accommodation, cafes, restaurants and bars. It’s a good idea to buy hiking supplies in nearby Queenstown.

 

Walking and hiking

A few of the most scenic walking tracks in the world are right on Glenorchy’s doorstep. One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Routeburn Track, is nearby and features soaring mountain peaks and jewel-like lakes as part of a 3-4 day hike. There’s also the 4-5 day Rees and Dart Track and the Greenstone/Caples Track. Accommodation is in the form of basic huts, which need to be booked in advance. The Department of Conservation Visitor Centre can help with information, booking and transport.

The area also offers a large choice of day walks with everything from 20-minute strolls to full day hikes available.

The Zipline

The Paradise Ziplines experience is an 8-line zipline course, which takes you on a very diverse journey by wire and walking track through the pristine native forest of the Oxburn stream valley. The lines vary; from up high and cliff to cliff, through the forest canopy, to skimming the stream bed down its slot canyons, just metres above the rapids. The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is rated one of the best in the world!Ziplining, called a flying fox by some, is a fun and adventurous activity – not as extreme as bungy jumping or a canyon swing but more exhilarating than a stroll in the Queenstown gardens! This is a perfect activity for those wanting to see some of the regions stunning scenery, experience the native forest and see an amazing slot canyon otherwise inaccessible to the public. The thrill and scenery compete for your attention during the regions best ziplining experience.