Glenorchy Road, Queenstown © Tourism NZ

Queenstown to Glenorchy Road: a drive to Paradise


Is there a more amazing drive? Forty-five minutes of emerald lake water and bush-clad hills, against a backdrop of snow-touched mountains. 

It’ll probably take a lot longer than 45, actually, because you’ll be wanting to stop every five minutes, have a look around and pinch yourself that it’s real.

Even if it’s your first visit, it may look strangely familiar. This is major Lord of the Rings territory, with scenes from all three movies shot in and around Glenorchy. Around 20km on from the tiny town with the big activity options, there is actually a bucolic utopia called Paradise.

Why wouldn’t you film here? Epic scenes of beech forest marching down the hillsides, set against towering, majestic mountains.

What location scout is going to say, nahh, let’s just re-create that on the laptop in Mirimar. Come on!

Glenorchy is a gateway – you’re en route to the Routeburn Track here, and there are other less well-known but equally satisfying trails around the region. The Dart River offers great hiking and primo jet boating, as does Lake Wakatipu itself, of course.

Stunning scenery and the amazing environment will deliver all round ‘nothing beats this’ holiday snaps for when you’re back in your colourless office making paperclip structures while you wait for the tea trolley. Sigh. At least you can tell the folks you’ve been to Paradise. And maybe fended off a few orcs while you were at it.

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