Our third day in Queenstown (yes, I’m starting with the third day) was my favourite. James took the car and we headed north towards Glenorchy, a frontier town with a reputation as ridiculously far-reaching as Hollywood. I could hardly believe the immense beauty that surrounded us all throughout our journey and we honestly could not have asked for better weather! Glenorchy itself was only about an hour’s drive away, but we stopped every few minutes to give our cameras a good run in the cold.
We came across glacial streams that shimmered in the sun and flowed straight into Lake Wakatipu, spotted gushing waterfalls along the sides of the road, picked out Pig and Pigeon Islands in the distance, and of course, marvelled at all the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Glenorchy was pretty much what I expected – a quiet, rustic town with a tiny population (about 200 people). Not the most exciting of places, but definitely out-of-this-world pretty. I can see why the surrounding landscapes were chosen to be featured in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (for scenes that involved Isengard, Lothlórien, Ithilien and Amon Hen, among others). Other big-budget movies like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian were also filmed nearby.
Despite the stinging cold (and I was wearing three layers, not counting my coat, mind you), we stopped by the lakeside to admire everything from the viewpoint of the jetty. Here, Lake Wakatipu turns into the Dart River. Here, a smart little red shed sits by the shore, the words GLENORCHY emblazoned across it. Here, we observed a large dog relentlessly harass visitors into playing fetch with him (his face actually visibly fell when someone threw a stick into the frigid waters of the lake and expected him to go get it).
After taking a few hundred photos, we popped into a local café for a light lunch before heading back to Queenstown. I had an excellent slice of white chocolate & cherry cheesecake paired with a pot of the best earl grey tea I have ever tasted. James settled for a warm satay pie and some hot chocolate. There was a sleepy-looking cat prowling around, looking for scraps and trying in vain to avoid contact with grabby customers.
16 thoughts on “The Journey to Glenorchy (Or Middle-Earth, if you’ve watched Lord of the Rings)”
Wow stunning! You’ve got me feeling homesick now! I am looking forward to a trip home in July August! Would love to get down south. Your photos are inspiring!
This was actually my first time being in New Zealand and I definitely fell in love! So much beauty and the people are lovely! :)
Hope you make it back again sometime!
Amazing photography, Angie..hopefully can visit this place one day :)
Thank you for your lovely words! I hope you do get to visit the Queenstown area one day! It’s a magical place!
Gleonarchy still in my mind when I visited there 3 years ago, such a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing, beautiful photos!
Isn’t Glenorchy just magical? It’s good to know that lots of people make it a point to visit! :)
Not to be miss when in queenstown! :) The drive there is so lovely and you’re so right to say that you’ve to stop many times to take photos!
Love this post. Makes me want to go back to NZ cos everything is just so gorgeous and magical there!
Incredible images!! Happy winter, there!
Happy winter indeed! :) xx
Wow Angela stunning place and beautiful photos. My Trainer and I must get to new Zealand one day soon. I kind of like the idea of doing something on a bicycle there.
Not sure if you have seen the youtube “this is why i fly” it from the cockpit landing into Queenstown NZ. it is sensational check it out. Looking forward to checking out reading your posts. Louise
I love reading your posts and your photography is absolutely stunning!