Southern Alps: Queenstown, Glenorchy

This post explores the Crown Range Road, Queenstown, The Remarkables, and best of all – Glenorchy.

Driving between Wānaka and Queenstown is an activity all on its own. One of two routes: Cardrona Valley road or for scenery Crown Range Road. Either way it’s about an hour plus stops.

Crown Range Road

“An exhilarating road, with hairpin turns, serpentines and steep grades. This road is not recommended if passengers are prone to car sickness.”

NZ’s highest main road – a drive “not for the faint hearted” with massive views from crystal blue waters to purple mountains with golden grasses.

Queenstown and The Remarkables

Dramatically surrounded by mountain ranges, Queenstown is at the foot of the The Remarkables, an aptly named range of mountains that run straight down into Lake Wakatipu.

Lake Wakatipu, NZ’s longest lake, 50 miles long and 3rd largest at 112 sq. miles, was carved 15,000 years ago by a glacier,

Queenstown satisfies your thrill seeking soul – boats, climbs, hikes, wine, jumping, gliding, you name it.

The Gondola at Bob’s Mountain

“Let’s ride up…and walk down, it will be fun!” We slipped and climbed over rocks and roots for an hour down the Tiki Trail.

The Remarkables

We drove up to The Remarkables Ski Field on a fantastic winding road and I hiked upwards to Lake Alta, an alpine lake at the top.

Glenorchy, Middle-Earth

The road between Queenstown and Glenorchyis “one of the most beautiful drives in the world”. About an hour’s drive from Queenstown alongside the long arm of Lake Wakatipu with 29 miles of views before you reach Glenorchy at Lake Wakatipu’s tip.

There is only one way in and out.

The drive will take you by surprise at every turn. Mirror images of the mountains along the lake and Earnslaw Glacier.

The landscape around Glenorchy was featured in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia. The village is encircled by sheer mountains.

Quote Sir Ian McKellan, “This is the Middle-earth I always pictured”.

Day Tripping in the Otago Valley

Bungee jumping at the Kawarau Bridge – 142 feet of fun.

Wine Tasting – NZ’s wine industry is one of the world’s youngest and we were keen to find a “cellar door” experience in the Otago Valley.

What We Missed

More time in Glenorchy

  • LOTR Tour
  • Rockburn Chasm. a 10k roundtrip to granite rock walls in water so clear you can see the sculpted rock walls all the way to the bottom.
  • Kayak to Pigeon Island on the lake
  • Drive to the end of the road to…Paradise
  • Otago Valley Wine tasting


  • Skippers Canyon (tour)
  • Jetboating on Shotover River
  • Queenstown Gardens
  • Helicopter – Queenstown from above
  • A soak at Onsen Hot Pools
  • Check out Queenstown walking trails
  • Mount Crichton Loop Track

Click here for More Southern Alps – Mt Cook

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8 thoughts on “Southern Alps: Queenstown, Glenorchy

  1. It is great to know that you guys are having fun, and from everyone in the Conway household today, Happy Birthday Marlene! It’s likely the 24th in New Zealand by the time I’m posting this, but I guess it’s the thought that counts!
    Stay healthy!

  2. Glennie Bowland March 20, 2020 — 5:32 am

    Your pics bring back such fond memories of my time in New Zealand…makes me want to go back and retrace my steps! Stay safe and be well! Glennie

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