The road to Middle Earth begins in Queenstown, meandering along the shores of Lake Wakatipu on the Queenstown to Glenorchy Road. A trip like this shouldn’t be rushed, this is where you slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy the experience.
The road follows the Deep blue shades of Lake Wakatipu whilst navigating through arches of beech tree canopies and undulating hills.
This is the Trail of Middle Earth for Lord of The Ring followers and also the road that will lead to the shores of the Dart River and the battle scenes from the Movie Narnia. Many movies that have been filmed in the region around Glenorchy to Paradise.
Fascination has grown in this area since many well known films graced these shores, but even for those “non” movie fans the geography and landscape in this region is diverse and majestic.
As you leave Queenstown your first notable stop is 12 Mile Delta. This beautiful conservation area surrounded by native bushland and a river delta, was the scene for the Ithilien Camp in the Lord of The Rings trilogy.
Also the scene for the memorable “Cooking the Coneys” and “PO-TA-TOES”, stick em in a stew, with Sam and Gollum in a heated conversation on the best way to cook them! There are some short hikes in this region as well as longer half day trails if time allows.
The road zig zags along the stunning Lake Wakatipu and as you head towards Bennetts Bluff, the half way point between Queenstown and Glenorchy, you will notice the diverse native flora, 80 per cent of which is endemic (found only in New Zealand).
Arguably the highlight of the road trip from Queenstown to Glenorchy is Bennets Bluff itself, which showcases New Zealand in all her staggering glory! The view looks to the top of the Headwaters of Lake Wakatipu and in the distance the gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park and Mt Earnslaw in the near background.
Lord of the Rings fans will be given the treat of their first glimpse of The Misty Mountains which is that of Mt Earnslaw. On the lower slopes of Mt Earnslaw, the “Earnslaw burn” was used for scenes of the company departing Rivendell to start their quest in an Unexpected Journey from the Hobbit films.
Pressing on to the quaint village of Glenorchy with a population of just under 300 occupants, you can see by the spectacular landscape why this area has also become a prime location for film scouts.
Glenorchy is also known for its iconic red boat shed on the shores of the Lake. Not only will a walk out onto the pier provide you with some postcard photographs but you will gain a history lesson of this popular location just by walking inside the shed itself.
The road to Paradise is bewitching, green fields, stock lazing around without a care in the world and Mt Aspiring National Park welcoming the traveller and photographer alike into her kingdom.
Many a film has graced this area and some of the more notable are ; “Vertical Limit” (2000), The Chronicles of Narnia;Prince Caspian (2008),Wolverine (2009) The Hobbit (2012) and the backdrop for Saraman’s Tower or” Isengard” in Lord of The Rings (2001)
Those that would like to delve deeper into the area that is “Paradise”, there is horse riding or kayaking into the heart of this glacier country.
The magic of Paradise touches everyone that visits, and photographers, artists and travellers alike can enjoy the natural environment of this region.
Allow a full day in the least to explore this journey from Queenstown to Glenorchy and Paradise.
Posted in: Pure Glenorchy Blog