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A red shed with glenorchy sign and tree next to Lake

Glenorchy / Tāhuna


Queenstown to Glenorchy: the Road to Spectacular Things to Do


Made it to Queenstown? Do yourself a favour and journey 45 minutes further to Glenorchy—the head of the lake and the heart of the mountains.

A place where time stands still. The awe-inspiring landscape and untouched natural beauty of Glenorchy will have your senses captivated and soul nourished. No matter how long you plan to stay here, it likely won’t feel enough. Make sure you take the time to stop, look around and experience the breadth of things to do in Glenorchy. Channel your inner hobbit at the Glenorchy Lord of the Rings filming sites; put your photography skills to the test on the iconic Glenorchy wharf; find serenity on the Glenorchy Lagoon Scenic Walkway; and discover pure family fun at the Glenorchy Animal Experience. (Spoiler, adults love this one too!) Read on for the definitive list of things to do in Glenorchy, from the locals who know it best. (We’ll assume you know what’s up and have already booked your spot on a funyak or the wilderness jet experience with Dart River Adventures!)

Man balancing on a wharf post while having photograph taken

About the Glenorchy township

This picturesque town is an outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise, nestled on the shores of Lake Whakatipu. Set against a background of native beech forest, pristine waterways & towering mountain ranges. The scale of Glenorchy’s surrounds is spectacular. Home to around 500 residents, Glenorchy is a welcoming & quaint township famous for its Southern Kiwi hospitality. Within the village, there is a small selection of accommodation providers & restaurants but make sure you also leave enough time to stop and take in the magnificent scenery.


Things to do in Glenorchy

Glenorchy Hiking Trails

The alpine valleys beyond Glenorchy are home to some of Aotearoa's most renowned hikes. From short day walks to multi-day hikes and mountain biking trails, Glenorchy is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.


Short Walks

Glenorchy has a range of short walking tracks, ideal for visitors who are just visiting for the day. From the Glenorchy walkway loop track across wetland boardwalks, the Lake Sylvan track through native bush to a tranquil glacial lake, or opt for something a little more intensive, such as the Mt. Judah Track.

Glenorchy Walking Trails (PDF)

Longer Hikes 

Visitors with a little more time on their hands would also be well advised to check out one of the many longer hikes which begin from just outside Glenorchy. One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Routeburn Track, is nearby and features soaring mountain peaks and jewel-like lakes as part of a 3–4-day hike. There’s also the 4–5-day Rees-Dart Track and the Greenstone/Caples Track. Accommodation for these walks is in the form of basic huts, which need to be booked in advance. To learn more, or to book, please visit the following Department of Conservation pages.

 Routeburn Track    Rees & Dart Track     Greenstone/Caples Track

A group of trampers look down the valley of the Routeburn Track