Glenorchy in 1 Day
A taste of Kiwiana (Kiwi culture…)
You should make time to visit Glenorchy. That about sums it up. It's a beautiful, relatively untouched part of New Zealand that should be experienced first hand. If you love nature and the wild and epic scenery (from start to finish), coupled with a very relaxed slow pace of life, then Glenorchy will satisfy you completely!
The best advice we could give you would be to ‘take your time' in exploring Glenorchy. It’s not a place to rush… and the value is in the nature and the laid back kiwi culture. Don’t expect anything to happen fast - so make time to relax and experience an environment where nature and community coexist in simple harmony!
Geographically, Glenorchy is about 45min - 1 hr drive from Queenstown. It's actually at the ‘top’ or ‘head’ of lake Wakatipu, nestled between the Richardson mountain ranges in the east and the Humboltd Mountain Ranges in the west. It’s a stunning drive towards Glenorchy (and return), which in itself should be taken slowly with absolute focus on the road. There are a few places in which to stop and take photos but just take your time and aim to arrive safely!
It’s a small settlement with approx. 400 people, great local cafes and epic scenery. Many movies have been made here including scenes from Lord of The Ring and the Hobbit, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and The 2013 television mini-series Top of the Lake.
There are no supermarkets or malls, no cell tours or traffic jams. What you’ll find is super embracing locals who want to share their slice of paradise with you!
1 Day Itinerary for Glenorchy
Wake up slow and leave late. Yes, you may encounter a little traffic, but let’s be realistic - it’s not the M20 and as long as you are patient, you’ll enjoy the drive!
Plan to stop at Bennetts Bluff Lookout and have your camera’s ready! As you drive down, you’ll see Walter Peak and Mt Nicholas on your left, pass by Closeburn and Mount Creighton on your side of the road, and then, further along, Tooth Peak on your left (across the lake) before arriving into Glenorchy.
Park somewhere near The Trading Post Cafe and enjoy a fabulous breakfast and coffee outside under the trees - great food and great coffee!
If you are there for sightseeing then I suggest that you take a walk around the ‘waterfront’. In all honestly, it's not much or far… but worth the stroll. Along the way, you’ll encounter the rather famous and iconic little red shed. This is one of those ‘inst photo opportunities that shouts ‘been there, done that and got the photo’!
We suggest you back up the waterfront walk with a slow and leisurely walk around the Glenorchy Lagoon Scenic Walkway which is a 1.5-hour flat loop trail (great for all fitness levels) that winds through the wetlands of Glenorchy. Keep your camera close as there are a lot of opportunities to catch the sun with Paradise Vally as a backdrop!
Along the way, about halfway through this walk, there is a little bench which you can take a few minutes to sit and enjoy the view and soak up the enormity of the scenic vista in front of you!
Heading back into town, we suggest heading to the Glenorchy Cafe and Bar (GYC) for lunch and take a seat in the garden outback. The service is just fantastic as is the beautiful food - a delightful surprise! But for something a little more simple, then Mrs Woolly’s General Store has fantastic kiwi pies (a kiwi food staple), as well as local based gifts and souvenirs.
Unless you decide to do a longer walk or activity, this brings and end to your day in Glenorchy.
There are a lot more actives including jet boating, kayaking, hiking, horse riding, helicopter tours,, hiking and it’s best to speak to our front desk for more information - we can book anything on your behalf!
Take your time getting home - the view as you drive home is as spectacular as it is different. As always, drive safe and enjoy your day!