Stunning scenery from Glenorchy and Paradise has been featured in the following films: The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Wolverine, and most recently the Hobbit, to name a few!
The 45km road from Queenstown to Glenorchy follows Lake Wakatipu and is filled with jaw dropping scenery. Several scenes from The Two Towers were shot along this road. Many Queenstown locals were employed as extras during the filming of Lord of the Rings back in 1999. Their pay rate was $300/day. So of course, many Kiwis called in sick to their real jobs during filming!
We stopped at several overlooks along the route to Glenorchy alongside Lake Wakatipu. Lake Wakatipu is a brilliant blue colour due to the glacial sediments suspended in the water. It’s 82km long and almost 400m deep, and hovers around 10° C all year.
Glenorchy is a really small town, even for New Zealand, with only 200 residents. It’s also the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park, a world heritage site.
The road leading out of Glenorchy heads to Paradise, where Lothlorien, Amon Hen, and Isengard were filmed. The sign posted at the junction is one of the most photographed signs in New Zealand.
Continuing down the road from Paradise, there are a couple of small streams to cross, before reaching the end of the road at the Dart River. From this point, it’s only 14 km to Milford Sound, but the mountains are in the way.
Travel New Zealand’s most scenic highway, heading deep into Middle Earth, and visit the landscape that inspired Peter Jackson’s film locations for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Local Kiwi guides complement this family operated business.