A trip to Queenstown would be simply incomplete without taking half a day to enjoy the stunning drive to Glenorchy. Named one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives, you’ll be fighting over who gets to drive, and who gets to enjoy the jaw-dropping views without interruption.
The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy really is renowned for being one of the most beautiful drives in the area. Scenically weaving through forests and along cliffs’ edge, this drive is surrounded by mountains and runs alongside of Lake Wakatipu – absolutely stunning… cue constant jaw-drop 😍
The drive has become super popular over the years, becoming apart of pretty much any Queenstown ‘to-do’ list. So keep this in mind along your way, and drive safely ☺️.
The Road to Glenorchy…
The road itself is conveniently named Glenorchy-Queenstown Road and is about 45km’s long. To find the road, head west out of Queenstown along Lake Esplanade road, and you’ll see the turn off on the left. The drive will most likely take around an hour with plenty of stops for photo opportunities and exploring. If you have more time, and are an avid hiker, there are lots of little trails along the route too.
Once you get to Glenorchy, you can spend some time checking out the wharf and the popularly photographed boat shed. You can also grab some lunch and just generally wander. There is not a whole lot to do here, but the views are certainly worth the trip, and the excursion will only take you half a day.
And Beyond to Paradise..
If you fancy a little adventure, and you have a 4WD, I would highly recommend you continue your drive all the way to Paradise. I promise, I’m not pulling your leg – it’s a real place 😉.
When you’re ready, continue your drive out of Glenorchy, and follow the sign to Kinloch / Paradise. The road will get skinnier, and the landscape more vast. To me, this already feels like Paradise.
Once you cross the Dart River, the roads do become unsealed, and involve some river crossings, which is why it’s important to have a 4WD. You can continue driving all the way until you reach Chinaman’s Bluff and Mount Aspiring National Park.
Supposedly, this whole area has been used as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit filming locations. I certainly felt a ‘Middle Earth’ vibe when we were here. I will let the photo’s speak for themselves…
This section of the drive literally felt like a weird cross between an African safari, and the Alps! One minute it was snowing, and then the clouds completely blew away, and then came back again. Such a moody day for some photography 😍.
I don’t know about you, but I find the Southern Alps just so breathtaking. Especially when they seem to loom up out of a lake. No matter where you look in this area of the world, it’s beautiful.
Anyway guys, that’s a wrap on our stunning adventure to Glenorchy, Paradise and beyond. As you can see, this can be a morning or afternoon filler, or turn into a full-day excursion. It’s entirely up to you!
Planning a Big Old Trip to Queenstown?
If you’re currently in planning mode for a trip to Queenstown, you might be interested in these posts below!
- A Guide to your Winter Holiday in Queenstown – for those looking for ski related information.
- Queenstown, New Zealand – A Travel Guide – for those looking for the in’s and out’s of Queenstown, and all of my top recommended activities!
If you have any questions about the area, or have some feedback to share, please feel free to leave a comment below ☺️