Glenorchy is a beautiful and quaint town lying on the outskirts of Queenstown and is best known for being one of the location settings for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. With our heads filled with scenes of imposing mountains, craggy rock faces, thundering rivers and boundless fields housing tiny people with hairy feet, we set off on our short drive from Queenstown.
We planned Glenorchy into our route as a day trip from Queenstown as it is less than an hour away by car. When we arrived, we found ourselves greeted by vast, sprawling landscapes, painted gold and crimson, with highlights of lush green fields and turquoise rivers. The stunning vistas brought back memories of the gorgeous backdrop of Lake Garda in Italy.
I can honestly say that I have never seen so many sheep and newborn lambs in one place in my life, we even witnessed sheep in the process of giving birth! It really was quite special, and we spent more time than we intended just standing by the side of the road watching those woolly cuties basking in the sunshine.
We managed eventually to tear ourselves away from the sheep and stumbled, completely by accident, upon the little red Glenorchy hut. This a cosy little nook for backpackers and travellers to stop and have a rest and catch up on the history of the area.
Just beyond the hut lies a pier with a wooden jetty, with one of the most beautiful views we had seen so far. With the mountains framing the water’s edge, leaving a delicate reflection upon the surface, and just the sound of lapping water and birdsong as an accompaniment, we found ourselves just sitting for a moment, keen to drink it all in.
Keen to squeeze as much as possible into our day, we pulled ourselves away from the tranquility and made our way down onto the beautiful Dart River, with a huge modern bridge and pretty white shingle adorning the shore. We soon found out, much to our amusement, that the River Jet takes this route along the river and the drivers take great pleasure out of soaking unsuspecting tourists who may be filming innocently by the water’s edge. Luckily our gear didn’t get ruined, but it did leave us and the passengers on the boat in hysterics.
We bumped into another drone-owner down by the river, filming footage for his son’s cycle hire business and were struck again by how friendly and relaxed the locals are in New Zealand. We even got some tips on where to head next, and were so glad we listened, as it took us on to Paradise Road.
It’s always promising when you encounter a place name like this…
The scenery here was like something straight out of a fairytale, with towering mountains, crooked trees and mossy paths, each few minutes seemed to take us further away from civilisation and deeper into a mysterious and enigmatic landscape.
The end of the road brought us to a woodland hike bordering the water’s edge, which felt like something plucked out of the imagination of the Grimm brothers.
As we descended deeper into the forest, I was acutely reminded of the dark, mossy forests of Jurassic Park – it really felt like we were in another world.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get much better, we rounded onto a sprawling golden field with this view as a backdrop. New Zealand is just full of surprises.
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