Queenstown to Glenorchy: Ditch the Crowds and Take a Scenic Road Trip

Queenstown to Glenorchy

Picture the sun painting the Southern Alps in a fiery blush, a crisp breeze whispering through silver tussock, and the turquoise ribbon of Lake Wakatipu unfurling before you like a scene from a Tolkien fairytale. You're not dreaming. You're cruising along the Queenstown to Glenorchy road, a legendary ribbon of asphalt leading you far from the tourist hordes and deeper into the soul of New Zealand.

In this blog, we'll guide you through the magic of the Queenstown to Glenorchy drive. Prepare to trade selfie sticks for hiking boots and swap crowded cafes for sun-drenched paradise. This drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is for those who crave the real deal, the untamed, the breathtaking. 

So, how to get to Glenorchy from Queenstown? Just snag a set of wheels from RaD Queenstown and enjoy the freedom of the open road on this epic New Zealand ‘RaDventure’. Let’s ride.

What is Glenorchy known for?

First, let's address the burning question: Is Glenorchy worth visiting? Absolutely! Glenorchy is a small town in the South Island region of Otago and is the gateway to hiking trails and Middle-earth magic. Snow-capped mountains dominate the horizon, and the town's stunning location makes it a perfect base for outdoor activities and exploration.

How to get from Glenorchy to Queenstown 

The best way to get from Queenstown to Glenorchy is via Glenorchy-Queenstown Road. The distance is 46.1 km, and the drive to Glenorchy takes approximately 45 minutes.

The best stops between Queenstown and Glenorchy 

Transform your drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy into an unforgettable adventure. These carefully curated destinations ensure each moment along the way is as extraordinary as the breathtaking landscapes surrounding you.

Sunshine Bay

Enjoy a picturesque stop at Sunshine Bay, known for its stunning views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains. Enjoy an easy walk along the lakeshore, capture breathtaking photos, or simply relax and soak in the natural beauty.

Moke Lake

Moke Lake offers a serene and secluded setting and a great spot for a peaceful picnic lunch or a stroll. You can also follow the scenic Moke Lake Loop Track for gorgeous views of the landscape.

Wilson Bay

Continue your scenic drive from Queenstown to Wilson Bay. Pause to admire its beautiful beach and crystal-clear waters - take a refreshing dip, enjoy a lakeside picnic, or simply bask in the tranquillity.

Twelve Mile Delta 

Continuing along the route from Queenstown to Glenorchy will bring you to 12 Mile Delta - one of the best spots for picnicking and camping. Here, you’ll find the iconic Ithilien Camp from the Lord of the Rings (LTR), which served as the backdrop for pivotal scenes in Frodo and Sam's journey.

Mt Crichton Loop Track

Just 15 minutes from Queenstown, the Mt Crichton Loop Track offers a rewarding hiking experience, showcasing stunning waterfalls, lush greenery and beech forest. Along the way, you’ll encounter the rustic gold-mining Sam Summers Hut, built in the 1930s. 

Bob’s Cove

A short drive from 12 Mile Delta will bring you to Bob’s Cove. Look for the well-marked turnoff for Bob's Cove from Glenorchy-Queenstown Road. Or, park the car and take a short hike along Bob’s Cove Track. You’ll want to pull out your phone when you reach the cove - the crystal-clear lake waters, lush greenery, and rugged peaks create a breathtaking backdrop.

Bennetts Bluff Lookout

Stop along the way at Bennetts Bluff Lookout for an incredible view of the surrounding landscape. This vantage point provides an excellent opportunity to capture memorable pics and appreciate the spectacular natural scenery.

Discover the magic of Glenorchy

Now you’ve reached Glenorchy on your scenic road trip from Queenstown, breathe in the crisp alpine air and prepare to discover nearby wonders.

Channel your inner hobbit 

From Isengard's imposing cliffs to Lothlórien's mystical forests, guided tours of the famous LOTR filming locations whisk you through landscapes that ignited Peter Jackson's imagination. Relive iconic scenes, feel the magic tingle down your spine, and stand where hobbits once trotted.

Paradise found? Or perfectly placed? 

A 20-minute scenic drive north from the heart of Glenorchy will lead you to a small town called Paradise - a portal to Tolkien's fantastical realms. Take a short walk to discover a panorama of majestic mountains, verdant forests and crystal-clear rivers.

Explore the ancient landscapes of the Dart River Valley

Meandering for 60km from the Southern Alps and the Dart Glacier, the Dart River (Te Awa Whakatipu) snakes along to the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu near Glenorchy. Go jetboating, kayaking, or just soak in the incredible vistas.

Uncover the pristine playgrounds of Mount Aspiring National Park

Nestled amidst the awe-inspiring Southern Alps of New Zealand lies a protected wilderness paradise. Discover breathtaking landscapes of rugged alpine terrain, snow-capped mountains and verdant beech forests teeming with life. The park's waterways, carved by ancient glaciers and fed by crystal-clear alpine springs, offer amazing kayaking, rafting, and fishing opportunities. 

Enjoy the quaint village charm of Kinloch 

In Kinloch, charming cafes and boutique shops line the streets, while cosy lodges offer restful retreats with amazing views. Swim in the lake's turquoise waters, kayak across its glassy surface, or simply relax on the sun-warmed sand. Beyond the shore, scenic walks weave through native bush, and boat tours promise unforgettable encounters with hidden coves and towering waterfalls. 

Lace up your boots and hit the Routeburn Track

The Routeburn Track is one of NZ’s Great Walks. Set off on a one-way 2, 3 or 4-day hike along the 32-kilometre track. You’ll pass dense forests, trickling streams, cascading waterfalls, alpine meadows and spectacular views. The Routeburn Falls Hut is a great place to spend the night and one of the most scenic backcountry huts in New Zealand.

Lose yourself in the Fiordland’s remote wilderness

Disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, immerse yourself in nature and hike the Greenstone and Caples Tracks. These walking tracks are part of the Te Araroa Trail, spanning the entire length of New Zealand. Surrender to a remote and tranquil experience boasting breathtaking landscapes, dense forests, and meandering streams. 

Explore the best of New Zealand with RaD Car Hire 

Ready to kick off your own epic New Zealand adventure? Get off the beaten path to discover the hidden treasures and attractions of Queenstown, Glenorchy, and beyond with a car from RaD Car Hire. Book your vehicle today and prepare to drive off on an unforgettable exploration of New Zealand.

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