Have you ever seen more than ten rainbows in one day? I have and I’m not even kidding! It was at Glenorchy, a 45-minute ride away from Queenstown at the head of Lake Wakatipu. I was there in the middle of September last year and the climate was so moody, going from rainy one minute to sunny the next, that rainbows graced my presence again and again that day. Not that I’m complaining. On the contrary, gawking at rainbows over majestic landscapes was the most magical experience I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing!

Glenorchy is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and makes for a great day trip from Queenstown. It’s a small rustic town, so a day really is enough to see the town itself. The surroundings are so beautiful though, I simply had to share my 5 best tips on where to go and how to maximise your day in Glenorchy.

It's an easy day trip from Queenstown, and yet a hidden gem off the beaten track in New Zealand: Glenorchy!

1. Take a long scenic walk along Glenorchy Lagoon’s Boardwalk

I had the pleasure of roaming the boardwalk alone after grabbing a bite from one of the cafes in town, which was only 5 minutes away. The serene setting took my breath away. Every minute or so, I would stop just to breathe in all the wonder around me. Glenorchy Lagoon’s Boardwalk is a quick walk and should take no more and 1.5 hours, depending on the exact route you choose. There are clear markings and signs to help with directions!

There was barely anyone around so the calm surroundings were all the more powerful. I was a bit nervous about being in this wilderness on my own, but every now and then I met some other hikers. With the view of the lagoons, the mountains and the swans under a canopy of trees, my fear was ultimately squashed and replaced with wonder.

It's an easy day trip from Queenstown, and yet a hidden gem off the beaten track in New Zealand: Glenorchy!

2. Indulge in Glenorchy’s cafes

Glenorchy has charming cafes on offer that are perfect for a break before or after your scenic walk along the boardwalk. There is no better way to catch a breather after a strenuous walk, munch on a slice of cake, sip some coffee and fill up your water bottle with their free water. Win-win.

It's an easy day trip from Queenstown, and yet a hidden gem off the beaten track in New Zealand: Glenorchy!

3. Gush over the world’s smallest library

Glenorchy’s library is a quaint destination that will make you wonder just how many books they could possibly fit into such a small space. Hey, at least the town’s got a cute library, right?!

4. Discover the area on horseback

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to ride a horse across a river like Prince Charming did in all these fairy tales? I have, so given the opportunity of a horseback ride in Glenorchy, I could not resist. It was glorious despite lacking any experience on horseback… My phone might have jumped out of my pocket at some point, and at another my horse decided to lie down in the sand with me still on the back – but eventually I found both my phone and a way not to be crushed under my horse, Dylan.

The horse-riding experience is one of my most cherished moments from Glenorchy and we even passed by Lord of the Rings, Narnia and Hobbit filming locations! All gear is provided and for every 5 riders, there’s a professional guide to help. I booked the horse-riding tour at Novotel in Queenstown and they arranged everything for me including transportation.

It's an easy day trip from Queenstown, and yet a hidden gem off the beaten track in New Zealand: Glenorchy!

5. Take a picture of the Paradise sign

Finally the search is over – Paradise actually exists and it is in Glenorchy! Don’t miss your chance to snap a pic and prove it to your friends at home. I even heard that the Paradise sign is one of the most photographed signs in the world – so you’re in good company!

It's an easy day trip from Queenstown, and yet a hidden gem off the beaten track in New Zealand: Glenorchy!

I haven’t even told you the best thing about Glenorchy yet – it’s a hidden gem and not too many travellers find their way to this beautiful corner of New Zealand! Rest assured that a day trip to Glenorchy will be the best decision you will ever make!


This is a guest post by Dia Bianca Lao.

IMG_2725Dia may look like your average bookworm but she is always up for an adventure! Having skydived twice in Australia and New Zealand, she has lived in 3 countries and visited 16 others. Armed with her selfie stick, big tote and even bigger dreams, she embarks for new and faraway places for her next dose of adrenaline rush. Follow her travel adventures on her blog: We Will Go Places.