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The stunning scenery throughout 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, plus many more!
The road to Middle Earth begins in Queenstown, meandering along the shores of Lake Wakatipu toward Glenorchy and then Paradise Valley. 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.
The road follows the Deep blue shades of Lake Wakatipu whilst navigating through arches of beech tree canopies and undulating hills.
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!
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).
A 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. Glenorchy is a really small town, even for New Zealand, with only 300 residents. It’s also the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park, a world heritage site.
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.
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. A scenic tour to Paradise and Glenorchy with local Kiwi guides.