Our most recommended things to do in Glenorchy

Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

1. Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

Your cruise will begin at one of the most scenic points of the journey. You can take in the magnificent view of Mitre Peak (New Zealand's most photographed mountain) and the Sinbad Gully. This place is home to the Kakapo (world's heaviest flightless parrot), which was once thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in 1948. From there you will cruise past seal colonies and feel the spray of the waterfall as you travel directly under the Fairy Falls. Once the cruise reaches the Tasman Sea, you will get to see the hidden entrance to the Milford Sound (which Captain Cook missed twice on his explorations). On your return journey, you will find yourself underneath an even bigger waterfall, the Sterling Falls. If you feel like a world-famous "glacial facial", don't miss the opportunity here to do so. Throughout your tour, nature guides will entertain you with local anecdotes, as well as offer extra information on the passing flora and fauna. They are also there to help you with taking photos and assist with any requirements you may have. Around November you will have the chance to spot the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.

From Queenstown/Glenorchy: Dart River Jet Boat Tour

2. From Queenstown/Glenorchy: Dart River Jet Boat Tour

Discover breathtaking World Heritage scenery, exhilarating wilderness, thrilling jet boating, and Maori heritage on a half-day adventure. Travel deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park with the only jet boat operator allowed on the Dart River. Throughout the day, your experienced guides will add a personal touch, sharing the area’s history, the Greenstone trail, and Maori legends.  Enjoy 2 hours of thrilling high-speed on a jet boat ride through Dart River’s wilderness. Skim across braided, glacier-fed rivers into the Te Waipounamu World Heritage Area. You’ll travel as far up the river as possible, before returning to Glenorchy back down the Dart River to immerse yourself in scenes and backdrops from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Choose between 2 possible starting points.From Glenorchy: Drive to Glenorchy by yourself (allow a 1-hour drive from Queenstown). Check in 15 minutes prior to your departure time at the Dart River office. From Queenstown: Enjoy a return shuttle from Queenstown. Check in 15 minutes prior to your departure time inside the Station Building in Queenstown.

From Queenstown: Lord Of The Rings Tour to Glenorchy

3. From Queenstown: Lord Of The Rings Tour to Glenorchy

Enjoy a small-group tour of the most iconic Lord of the Rings filming locations in New Zealand, specially designed for fans of the films. Within minutes of leaving Queenstown, reach the Glenorchy Road, which follows the edges of the Great Lake Wakatipu, and has been voted  one of the top 10 drives in the world. Admire snowcapped mountains that arise around every corner of the journey. Your first stop will be the 12 Mile Delta. Here, enjoy a short nature walk over the 12 Mile canyon footbridge and spot trout and salmon in the crystal-clear water below. Learn about the local flora and fauna and visit the locations, where scenes from the films were shot. Next, refuel with a delicious morning or afternoon tea picnic near the famous Glenorchy red shed and wharf. Once you have eaten enough to satisfy a Hobbit, adventure further into the World Heritage Mt. Aspiring National Park, home of Lothlorien Forest, where you will have the opportunity to snap some photographs dressed as your favorite Lord of the Rings character with replica swords from the trilogy. Next, head up the Dart Valley through "Paradise" to Isengard for some time to enjoy this amazing location in this spectacular glacier-carved valley. Stories and behind-the-scenes secrets will be shared by your passionate local guides on the way back to Queenstown.

Queenstown: Dart River Canoe and Jet Boat Paradise Day Trip

4. Queenstown: Dart River Canoe and Jet Boat Paradise Day Trip

Combine wilderness jet boating with unique ‘Funyak’ inflatable canoes for a fun way to explore the Dart River located in the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park. Your full-day adventure begins with a courtesy transfer to Glenorchy from Queenstown.  Admire lakeside scenery as your local driver shares entertaining commentary about Lake Wakatipu and its legends. The spectacular 46-kilometer drive is considered one of the world’s top 10 scenic drives. Meet your friendly, experienced guides at the Dart River visitor center who will kit you out with all the equipment you’ll need for the day. Enjoy 1-hour of high-speed wilderness jet boating through the clear waters of the Dart River into the Te Waipounamu World Heritage Area and your Funyak launch site.  Start your paddle, soaking in the tranquillity as you float downstream on sparkling water. Explore hidden side streams, rock pools, and dramatic chasms under the expert guidance of your guides. Savor a delicious picnic lunch, which marks the midway point, before continuing downriver. At Paradise, climb aboard the bus for a back-country tour through the valley to Glenorchy. Immerse yourself in scenes and backdrops from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Your adventure concludes with your return to Queenstown. 

From Queenstown: Half Day Trip to Glenorchy by Coach

5. From Queenstown: Half Day Trip to Glenorchy by Coach

Be enchanted by the natural beauty of Glenorchy on this day trip from Queenstown aboard a spacious coach. Dive into the sights that you see along the way with onboard commentary. Take in the sights at your own pace with some free time explore the town before returning to Queenstown.  Meet your guide in central Queenstown and settle into your comfortable seat aboard the climate-controlled coach. Admire breathtaking mountain peaks and verdant landscapes on the relaxing drive to Glenorchy.  Immerse yourself in local history and culture as you hear the incredible story of the Southern Lakes from Maori mythology to early pioneers to the region. On arrival in Glenorchy, have plenty of time for photos and to take in the shimmering waters of Lake Wakatipu. Spend around 1.5 hours of free time going on one of Glenorchy’s short walks, or visiting cafe’s and local pubs before returning to Queenstown in the early evening.

From Queenstown: Glenorchy and Paradise Scenic Half-Day Tour

6. From Queenstown: Glenorchy and Paradise Scenic Half-Day Tour

Just 45 minutes from Queenstown, Glenorchy is nestled on the northern shores of Lake Whakatipu and is home to what many say is New Zealand's best scenery and a slice of Middle-Earth magic. View stunning scenery and alpine vistas as you are guided in style aboard a premium Mercedes van. Enjoy an overload of sightseeing and views packed into a fun half-day adventure to Glenorchy and beyond. Upon arrival in Glenorchy, you will be awe struck as you gaze at the mountain ranges and native beech forest which set the backdrop for this rustic town. You will have some time to check out the town's local sites and hidden gems, while also learning about Glenorchy and its fascinating Maori history. After Glenorchy, visit Paradise, view Diamond Lake, and explore the surrounding areas. There’s endless natural beauty and scenic stops along the way, ensuring you’ll go home with some postcard-worthy photos. View multiple Lord of the Rings movie locations, such as Twelve Mile Delta, where the first fight between Faramir's Rangers and the Giant Oliphaunts took place. In a location called "Paradise," you will also get to see the famous locations of Isengard and Saruman's Tower. Costumes are available, so you can re-create scenes and dress as a character from the movie. Whether you are a Lord of the Ring’s fan or not, you will be impressed with the stunning scenery surrounding these locations. Taste a kiwi-style morning or afternoon tea with a spectacular back drop. Your guide will set up the ultimate picnic in one of a number of picturesque locations, consisting of classic, kiwi delights. With a stunning natural backdrop comprised of majestic mountain ranges and native beech forest, Glenorchy is sure to leave you speechless.

Queenstown: Full-Day Lord of Rings Tour with Lunch

7. Queenstown: Full-Day Lord of Rings Tour with Lunch

Start with pickup from your hotel in Queenstown and travel west along Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy and Paradise. Discover a wide variety of filming locations throughout the tour with your expert guide. Bring the films to life with a variety of movie props you can use to recreate movie scenes at the filming locations. Enjoy photo stops in the Paradise region of Mount Aspiring National Park, with some short walks on easy trails. Explore the Forest of Middle Earth and discover the settings for scenes of Lothlórien. Stand on the Isengard Lookout and admire the scenic views of the area. Return to Queenstown for lunch at a local café, before heading east of the city for the afternoon portion of the tour. Discover Gibbston and Arrowtown and visit the settings for Gladden Fields and The Pillars of the Kings. Pan for elven gold in the river, and journey along a portion of the scenic Skippers Canyon Road, which was the setting for scenes featuring The Ford of Bruinen. Enjoy the spectacular scenic views over the Wakatipu Basin throughout the tour, with drop-off back in Queenstown in the evening.

From Te Anau: Milford Sound Tour with Cruise and Lunch

8. From Te Anau: Milford Sound Tour with Cruise and Lunch

Take a guided tour by comfortable minibus to explore the natural beauty of Milford Sound and the surrounding area. Your tour includes a sightseeing cruise, a picnic lunch, and plenty of scenic stops along the way. Meet your guide in Te Anau and drive along the lakeside, making a stop at Te Anau Downs to soak in the scenery. Enter the Fiordland National Park and visit Eglinton Valley, to admire the landscape carved by an ancient glacier. Continue to Mirror Lakes and see the Earl Mountains reflected in these clear waters. Relax and take photos by Lake Gunn, before continuing towards Hollyford River. Pass the waterfall at Falls Creek as you head higher into the Darran Mountains, stopping at viewpoints along the way. Keep a look out for local wildlife, including kea, the world’s largest alpine parrot. Enter Homer Tunnel and learn this history of this hand-built tunnel, before arriving at Milford Sound. Board the boat for a sightseeing cruise and see impressive views of Mitre Peak. Back on dry land, take a bush walk through The Chasm and snap photos at Pop's View Lookout, on the return journey to Te Anau.

Glenorchy Half-Day 4WD Lord Of the Rings Tour

9. Glenorchy Half-Day 4WD Lord Of the Rings Tour

If your main focus is to see as many Lord of the Rings locations as possible, then this is the tour for you! Head to Glenorchy on a scenic drive toward Paradise Valley, where Lord of the Rings and other movies were filmed. After pick-up from your hotel, set off on an adventure safari packed with breathtaking scenery and Lord of the Rings filming locations. Journey from Queenstown to Glenorchy, stopping at breath-taking viewpoints for mountain and forest views along the shore of Lake Wakatipu towards Glenorchy and the Paradise Valley.  En route from Glenorchy, follow the Dart River to the spectacular filming location for Isengard, a location offering stunning views of Mt Earnslaw. Head to Paradise discover the location for the Forest of Lothlorien. Leaving Glenorchy and heading towards Queenstown, you will stop at 12 Mile Delta to explore the location of the Ithilien Camp. You'll also visit gorgeous locations from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

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What people are saying about Glenorchy

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 257 reviews

Milford Sound was amazing. There are plenty of boats to choose from, the smaller boat option was great. Not too many people on board and it was easy to get around the deck/cabin. The captain did a great job of getting close to the key spots. There was tea/coffee and biscuits on board, no food to purchase, however you can bring your own to enjoy.

Amazing time. We drove from Kingston and took three tour to Milford Sound. I'm glad I didn't there directly as I would have missed so much. Our driver, Dave, was knowledgeable and attentive with a great sense of humor. Knew all the best places to stop. The boat into the Sound was comfortable and a great experience.

Although we had an issue with overlooking and had to wait for one hour, the weather was perfect for the day and we enjoyed the trip to Milford Sound. It could have been a better experience without the hassle to change the coach and the frustration. Overall it is worth the trip.

It looks like all / most boats trips you can book on the Milford Sound are more or less similar, but I’m glad I booked this one, as the boat was not overcrowded and the crew appeared very engaged.

It was absolutely awesome. Would definitely recommend it