The Glenorchy walkway and Lagoon track is a short but very beautiful flat walk in Glenorchy showing you some of the best views of the Otago region. From snow capped mountains to reflection lakes and the turquoise Rees river, you can see it all during this family friendly walk. The 5 kilometres loop track is very easy to follow on wide, gravel paths and a wooden lagoon boardwalk. There is a lot of landscape variety and birdlife to see along this easy walk. And another huge plus are the scenic picnic table and cute benches with million dollar views. Glenorchy in general is absolutely worth a visit and this short walk makes it a perfect activity for young and old. Find here all you need to know about the Glenorchy walkway and Lagoon boardwalk.
Glenorchy walkway key facts
Before we get into the details of Glenorchy walkway let’s have a short look at the facts of this short and easy hike.
Hike distance and duration: Being a loop track the huge advantage is that you will see completely new views at every part of the walk. With only 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) return you can finish the Glenorchy walkway and Lagoon track in about 1 up to 2 hours. It is one of the easiest walks near Queenstown and perfect for an easy day trip.
Difficulty and incline: There is no incline at all during the Glenorchy walkway and Lagoon track so you can bring young kids, Grandpa’s and Grandma’s, or plan this walk after or before a heavy hike to warm up the muscles.
No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen.
A slip during hiking is made before you realize it, and the consequences can be bigger than you want to think of.
We are very happy with SafetyWing and highly recommend getting an insurance with them!
How to get to Glenorchy walkway
From Queenstown to Glenorchy its about a 45 minute drive to the car park of Glenorchy Lagoon Scenic walkway. The drive along Lake Wakatipu is beautiful and considered some of the most beautiful roads in New Zealand. The car park where you have to go is called Glenorchy Waterfront car park and basically brings you to the centre of Glenorchy. You can explore many other things in this area which is highly recommended to do so before or after your walk.
If you don’t have your own vehicle you can still explore Glenorchy with this private tour. You can customize this tour to your needs and fully enjoy the views along the way. Besides doing the Glenorchy walkway you can also explore some Lord of the Rings filming locations and drive further to Paradise to see the untouched landscape.
→ Book here your complete Paradise valley day tour. This tour includes everything you want to see in Paradise. You will visit a few movie locations used in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, catch views of the Dart River and Mt. Aspiring National Park, take a few optional hikes, explore a trail above Diamond Lake, and stop by a sheep-shearing farm. During this guided tour, you’ll also get to ride a 4WD off the beaten path to see the area used as Middle Earth in LOTR.
→ Book here your 4WD tour to Paradise. Explore the high country with an experienced guide and traverse the private farmland of Mt Earnslaw Station. Your informative guide offers a variety of options for exploring the high country, including a visit to the gold-mining town of Glenorchy in Paradise Valley.
The Road to Glenorchy along Lake Wakatipu is beautiful
Best time to do the Glenorchy walkway loop track
There isn’t a specific best time to do this walk, but clear weather will make the experience the best. Glenorchy is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National park so you want to see the snowy mountain peaks at least. A fine calm day will also help to see the reflections in Glenorchy lagoon. As usual you can expect the trail to be a bit busier during the midday and afternoon when tourists flock from Queenstown to Glenorchy for a day trip.
What to expect during the Glenorchy walkway
When you’ve parked your car at the Glenorchy Waterfront car park you will quickly see the trailhead of Glenorchy walkway. There is a very cosy cafe close by the parking lot called ‘The Trading Post’ which is the perfect spot for a caffeine shot before you head off for the walk. In my opinion is this cafe everything that’s Glenorchy about. With stunning views, delicious Patagonia coffee, home baked treats, locally sourced gifts and perfect souvenirs you have to check it out before or after your walk.
The Glenorchy walk starts right at along Lake Wakatipu where you can also see the famous red Glenorchy Shed and jetty with incredible views of the Humbolt Mountains and Kinloch Valley.
As you walk along the shore of Lake Wakatipu on the wide gravel path you will quickly see the Rees River with it’s stunning mountain backdrop. You’ll follow this part of the trail for a short part before it takes you inland on the boardwalk. Every turn you make along this path, another beautiful view of Mount Aspiring National Park appears. We truly enjoyed this and couldn’t stop taking pictures!
The boardwalk leads you over tussock grassland towards Glenorchy lagoon with again stunning mountain views in front of you. The huge advantage of this boardwalk is that it protects nature and keeps your shoes dry and clean!
This is a wonderful part of the Glenorchy walkway as well with benches where you can sit in stillness and take in the views. We packed our lunch and sat on this bench for about 30 minutes, enjoying the incredible views and singing birds.
Glenorchy jetty and mangrove trees
The infamous red wharf of Glenorchy and its jetty are worth a visit before or after the lagoon walk. Inside the red Railway Shed you will find information about the history of Glenorchy and how it was used. The jetty provides stunning views over the lake and mountains and is a great photo spot. It was a great way for us to wrap up a beautiful day in Glenorchy.
Another thing you can’t miss are the beautifully lined mangrove trees in the shallow water with the mountain backdrop. Especially if you love landscape photography this is the spot where you want to go!
How to get around in New Zealand
To experience New Zealand to the fullest and at your own pace, renting a car, campervan or motorhome is the best way to get around. Which one of these options you choose depends on your preference and budget. If you love camping, being outdoors all day and you don’t mind a smaller living space, then renting a camper van is the way to go. It also gives you the freedom to sleep at some of the most beautiful camping spots, but for some of them you’ll have to make a reservation and plan your trip accordingly. The same goes for a motorhome which is bigger than a campervan and fits about 4-6 people. Here’s what you need to know about renting a car, camper van or motorhome in New Zealand.
Car rental New Zealand
Renting a car in New Zealand is the easiest and cheapest rental vehicle available. It will get you to all the best destinations with ease and gives you the freedom to stop for a break wherever you want. However, you should keep in mind that some roads in New Zealand are still gravel or that you have to cross shallow rivers to some destinations in National Parks. Therefore we personally recommend a mini SUV or SUV model to have enough clearance for these kind of roads.
We rented for 6 weeks a Mitsubishi ASX model and were super happy with this car! The best place to book your rental car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare different car models, prices, companies and terms and conditions. You can also check Rental Cars to compare at which platform you can get the best deal. Make sure to secure the booking of your rental car as soon as possible to have the lowest price possible. Prices go up the closer you get to the pick up date.
Campervan rental in New Zealand
Traveling around in a campervan is one of the most popular ways for a roadtrip in New Zealand. With a bed, small kitchen and seating area you will have all the (basic) needs on four wheels. Make sure to check if your campervan has a shower or not because this might influence where you want to camp. A campervan allows you to camp at plenty of beautiful places, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. It will you give you a true feeling of freedom and connects you with nature.
We personally recommend to book your campervan with Travellers Autobarn as they have a wide range of Stationwagons, 2-berth campervans & 3-5 berth campervans to hire for all budgets. All Travellers Autobarn campervan hires in New Zealand come with free unlimited kilometers, 10% discount to premium campgrounds, 24/7 road side assistance & long term rental discounts. Check the availability and prices today to secure your campervan for a New Zealand dream roadtrip!
Must do tours in Glenorchy
Glenorchy is famous because of its Middle Earth mountain views and glacier fed river. It has lots of fun activities to offer and some are a once in a lifetime experience such as the Helicopter tour with 2 landings and Dart river jet boat. Depending on your interest you can book different tours to see the best of this area.
This tour includes everything you want to see in Paradise. You will visit a few movie locations used in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, catch views of the Dart River and Mt. Aspiring National Park, take a few optional hikes, explore a trail above Diamond Lake, and stop by a sheep-shearing farm. During this guided tour, you’ll also get to ride a 4WD off the beaten path to see the area used as Middle Earth in LOTR.
Explore the high country with an experienced guide and traverse the private farmland of Mt Earnslaw Station. Your informative guide offers a variety of options for exploring the high country, including a visit to the gold-mining town of Glenorchy in Paradise Valley.
We personally did this tour and can’t recommend it enough!! Whether you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or not, this helicopter tour is a once in a lifetime experience! Flying over the breathtaking landscapes of Queenstown and Glenorchy, you will see the mountain range from the opening scene of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,’ and feel like you’re in Middle-earth. Including 2 landings, you will experience remote places where you normally can’t get to. A once in a lifetime experience and totally worth the money!
If you come to Glenorchy you must include a tour on the Dart River with the jet boat! However, you have to secure your spot for the Dart River boat tour because they sell out quickly. Hop on a jet boat to explore the Dart river and then paddle your way through Mount Aspiring National Park in an inflatable canoe. Hotel pickup and drop-off plus picnic lunch and all equipment are included.
The perfect day tour to Glenorchy including several Lord of the Rings filming locations on the road to Paradise. You don’t have to worry about driving the winding roads as your driver will do that for you. Experience the cute sleepy town of Glenorchy with its stunning views.
If you’re interested in photography but you need some guidance to find the right spots in Glenorchy, then booking this photography tour is your solution! With a skilled photographer you will discover some beautiful locations in Glenorchy while learning how to take beautiful landscape images using your own equipment.
Where to stay in Glenorchy
For peace seekers and nature lovers is Glenorchy the perfect place to stay for one or two nights. It doesn’t have much facilities in terms of restaurants and supermarkets, but therefore it is the perfect place to relax and take in the fantastic activities that Glenorchy has to offer. Here are the best places to stay in Glenorchy.
Surrounded by the mountain peaks of Mt Aspiring National Park the Headwaters Eco Lodge offers some of the most beautiful accommodation in Glenorchy. Breakfast and 3 course dinner is included with all accommodation types, so the only thing you have to care about here is which activity you’re going to do during the day!
For a private getaway in a luxury lakehouse with stunning mountain views is this your best option in Glenorchy. With four bedrooms varied with double and twin beds, this is the perfect vacation home for families or a group of friends.
Located by the shores of Lake Wakatipu with stunning mountain views, Kinloch Wilderness Retreat offers a variety of rooms. From dormitory rooms to queen rooms, there’s something for every budget.
More New Zealand travel guides
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the scenic Glenorchy walkway and Lagoon. Make sure to put this walk on your list!
There are many amazing other things to do and places to visit on the South Island of New Zealand. So if you’re looking for more inspiration and ideas, head over to our other New Zealand travel guides.