Tuesday 9th October
What a day! We loved the day we spent in Glenorchy and we think it probably has some of the most beautiful scenery we have seen in all of New Zealand! We didn’t manage to visit when we came to New Zealand back in 2006 and it was a high priority this time round – and didn’t disappoint! Despite the weather being a little overcast to start with we felt it was ‘moody’ and created just the right atmosphere for us to be heading into Lord of the Rings country. We left Queenstown early in the morning and drove up along the lake to Glenorchy. The drive was spectacular and was probably the drive with the best views we have seen in NZ. We stopped at a few lookouts along the way to take it all in. We stopped at Wilson lake on the way – a filming location for LOTR where they filmed the Ithilien camp scenes. Arriving in Glenorchy – it was pretty much deserted! It only has a population of approx 500 people, but we only saw a couple of other cars around at that time.
We headed to the Glenorchy Lagoon Walkway and took a nice 1 hour 20 min walk around the lagoon – walking a lot of the way of a new boardwalk that we were informed was only finished last week and was built by the community. It was a great walk and is highly recommended! Coming back into Glenorchy it was a little busier now with a few people wandering around. We spent time down at the lake and exploring the Glenorchy shed/info hut. It was demolished back in 1999 when there was a big flood and the LOTR crew helped rebuild this after this happened. We went to Foxy’s Cafe for a nice basket of chips for lunch.
Then … the moment had finally arrived – for our Lord of the Rings (LOTR) tour! John is a massive fan of both the books and films (I would go as far as to say he is a LOTR geek!), and I have also read the books and watched the films multiple times. Anyone not a fan on LOTR may not want to read on as the names/locations will mean nothing to you! However any LOTR fans reading will know all of the reference points and locations. Pictures are below – in my gallery – with labels too! Firstly – our tour guide was AMAZING! He was from Glenorchy Journeys and was called Alan and was a local and true Kiwi and had such insight and knowledge about the area and the films. He also talked about how he was lucky enough to have recently worked on the new Hobbit film assisting at their location sites in Glenorchy and had all sorts of stories about cast and crew! He picked us up in his 4WD vehicle and we went off-roading around the Glenorchy area as he pointed out various filming locations for LOTR and The Hobbit (and the Wolverine film and also Narnia). We looked across to the filming location for Isengard (obviously minus Sauron’s CGI tower!), went to the forest where they filmed Boromir’s death (very exciting!) and scenes of Lothlorien. We also saw the trees that inspired Peter Jackson to film the Ent scenes here, and looked across to the snowy mountains where they filmed the Misty Mountains scenes. We travelled past the new filming location for hobbiton for the new Hobbit film, and also entered a forest they used to film a scene in the new film. Visiting the landscape used for the opening to the Two Towers was also spectacular – as we looked out over the land where Gandalf rides Shadowfax. Alan was a fantastics guide and we throughly enjoyed the day and were sad to leave Glenorchy – they home of the Lord of the Rings, but can’t wait for the new Hobbit film and to spot all the places we have been.