Things to do in Glenorchy

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.

Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

2. Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

Take flight a small luxury plane leaving Queenstown. Admire the awe-inspiring scenery from your very own window seat as you soar over Fiordland National Park, listening to the pilot's commentary. Landing at Milford Sound airport you will be escorted to the Cruise Terminal either by shuttle or 15 minute nature walk to meet your boat. Enjoy 2 hours of spectacular scenery and wildlife on the Gem of the Sound, learn all about the history of the area from the skipper as he skillfully pulls the boat underneath waterfalls and right up to the base of famous Mitre Peak. Your pilots will meet you off the cruise at the Terminal and take you back to the awaiting plane for your return to Queenstown. Your complimentary shuttle will drop you back to your hotel with plenty of time to enjoy the legendary dining scene.

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, Jet Boat & Paradise Day Trip

4. Queenstown: Dart River Canoe, 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: Milford Sound Full-Day Tour with Lunch

5. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Tour with Lunch

In the heart of Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is known as one of New Zealand’s top scenic attractions. On this day tour from Queenstown, jump on board an air-conditioned coach and be entertained with commentary from your driver/guide. After passing through the 1.2-kilometer-long Homer Tunnel, descend into Milford Sound. Here jump on board a boat to cruise along the fjord. Take in the famous sights, like the uniquely-shaped Mitre Peak and the glacier-scarred rock. Keep an eye out for marine life like dolphins, seals, and penguins too. The fjord is dotted with waterfalls that tumble through the valleys and crash into the sound far below, making the scenery in Milford Sound spectacular, rain or shine.

Glenorchy & Paradise Scenic Half-Day Tour from Queenstown

6. Glenorchy & Paradise Scenic Half-Day Tour from Queenstown

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.

Glenorchy Half-Day 4WD Lord Of the Rings Tour

7. 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.

Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

8. Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

Join a guided day tour from Queenstown or Te Anau to the world-renowned Milford Sound: the crowning glory of Fiordland. Highlights of the drive will include Lake Wakatipu, the Devil’s Staircase, the truly majestic mountains of Fiordland, Mirror Lake, and Homer Tunnel. Enjoy multiple stops along the way for photo opportunities and to spot the Kea bird. Travel through the mind-blowing Homer Tunnel, emerging as the valley descends sharply down to Milford Sound, with its hundreds of waterfalls cascading into the crystal clear waters beneath. At Milford Sound, take an intimate cruise on a smaller boat that gets right up close to nature and wildlife. Onboard your cruise you will have up-close views of thousands of waterfalls, Mitre Peak, as well as local wildlife, providing you with hundreds of amazing photo opportunities along the way. Following your cruise you will begin the return journey back to Queenstown, stopping again in Te Anau for a quick break. At the end of the day, your guide will drop you back to your Queenstown accommodation, or you can opt to upgrade to a scenic, one-way flight back from Milford instead. Choose this option for the ultimate view over the mountains and region during your return journey.

From Te Anau: Milford Sound Tour with Cruise and Lunch

9. 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.

Queenstown: Half-Day Dart River Jet Boat & Paradise Tour

10. Queenstown: Half-Day Dart River Jet Boat & Paradise 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.  Your half-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. Arrive at the Dart River visitor centre and be equipped with everything you need for your jet boat experience. Climb aboard and discover a unique combination of breathtaking scenery matched with thrilling high speeds.  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. Return to Glenorchy and join the courtesy transfer back to Queenstown.  Sample Itinerary: 08:30 AM Courtesy transfer from Queenstown to Glenorchy 09:30 AM Dart River jet boat experience 11:30 AM Return to Glenorchy 1:00 PM Arrive Queenstown

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What people are saying about Glenorchy

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 107 reviews

This tour with Altitude was amazing and we were very lucky with the weather too so we were able to see the whole beauty of Glenorchy and surroundings. Ethan, our tour guide was incredible, very kind, super happy, gave us lots of information of the area, great vibe and chats, he made us feel very comfortable. The tour was made in a nice Mercedes Benz Van, super clean, new, comfy and stylish and also the tour was made with a small group which is even nicer. I definitely recommend to get this tour while you stay in Queenstown, you won’t regret it. My advice is to be aware of motion sickness, I got pretty sick in our way back due to move in the road, the good thing was that the tour guide was very helpful and empathetic, so don’t forget to take some motion sickness tablets if you are prone to suffer from it. Thanks Altitude, this tour was awesome and I’ll definitely take more tours with you in the future

We fell in love with Milford Sound the second we arrived! I could go there every day of my life and be amazed by everything surrounding me every single time! And with Te Anau: Milford Sound Tour this experience was so much more amazing! Our guide, Jamie, welcomed us and gave such an amazing experience with all his knowledge about this place and everything in it that we just loved it even more! The cruise was astounding and it felt really personal, despite being for dozens of people! We felt that everyone on the cruise loved everything! It was one of the best experiences of my life!!

Milford sound itself is overhyped, comparing to other beautiful places we have been. The 45 mins drive way from Queenstown to Glenorchy is more scenic than Milford in our opinion. Nevertheless, our tour guide Mark from cheeky kiwi made our day. His knowledge in geology and environmental science plus his unique sense of humour energised our more than 4 hours drive to the Milford sound cruise point.

If you are a Lord of the Ring Fan this tour is a must trip. I cannot explain it in just a few words all I can say is WOW.

I felt safe during the whole bus trip and our driver/ was funny and amazing.