New Zealand, Glenorchy: At the end of the world

January 1, 1970

by Staanis


About New Zealand have been said a lot. It is the country, where thousants of backpackers from all the world are coming in every year. Why is the country so special? Becouse you have feeling that everything is easy there. You can easilly find a job, make ne friends, save money and, off course, explore wonderfull nature which seems amost untouched. Actually many of places still are untouched. I spent there 15 months and that have been the best 15 months in my life becouse I have learned how to find myself and decided what life I want to live. That happend when I was visiting Glenorchy area. That is why the place is so pecial for me. I went there three times and still haven´t enough. So much more many places where I haven´t been.

Glenorchy is accessible only from one road from Queenstown, which is about 5O kms far away. It is maybe the reason why people are skipping this place. At least, they are coming there just to see the village and becouse the popular Roteburn track is beggining there. Such a pitty. Glenorchy area has so many places you can visit. It is the right place for hiking and nature lovers

Glenorchy village

Glenorchy is a small villagge situated on the bank of lake Wakatipu, from the other side then Queenstown, and in frontier of Mt. Aspiring NP. In the village there are couple of restaurants, cafés and accomodation. Glenorchy Hotel is running also as an info center and as little store, but they haven´t many thinks to buy. If you gonna spent more days in the area, what I am highly recommending, buy enough food with you in Queenstown.

Bank of the lake is a lovely spot for photography or just for relax. A mole, little hut and huge mountines behind with snow on the top is the first meeting with this area. You can take a walk around the village.

Rees Valley

Rees Valley is a little far and the road conditions aren´t best. If you will decide to go there, be carefull with your vehicle with driving over the rivers and rocky road. You will have to leave your car in a wood after about half an hour of driving becouse father it is not suitable for any vehicles. So lets walk in the valley, cross the rivers, walk in a wood and enjoy peacefull atmosphere just with sheeps and cows. Over there, there some tracks are beggining. But I didn´t have more time till dusk and went back. Anyway I was satisfied with walking in the valley just with my thoughts.


Continue the road to Paradise. Yes, Paradise. I can´t find a better name for this place. It so peacefull. The green lands with sheeps, cows and horses. I guess there is possible ridding into the mountines with a guide. But walking is nice as well. The land are surrounded by mountines, forest and a lake which is called Diamond Lake. I think this is pure New Zealand 🙂

If you will continue, there is possible to hike into Mt. Aspiring NP to Aspiring hut and also up to Haast on West coast what could be awesome more days track. There are also more options, for example a round back to Rees Valley.

I drove back and continue on Routeburn rd. On the right side, there is a great track up to Mt. Alfred which is for about 5 hours return. Top part is little bit difficult. There are friable rocks where you can easilly loose the path what I did 🙂 But finnaly I got up and 360 degrees view is pretty cool. You can see all the area around.



Sylvan Lake

On Routeburn rd is a low cost camp for 6 dollars per person. It is pretty nice campside. Such a good spot to meet other travellers exploring the area. I have had a nice evening With italian guys with wine  and billions of stars on the sky. Something for romantics 🙂

On the morning I cross the swing bridge over the river and walk to Sylvan Lake. It is about 40 minutes return. It is my favourite place. I spent there a long time and made so many pictures of the lake with mirrors reeflection of the mountines. And I met almost nobody there. I don´t understand why. I is so lovely place close to campside and most of skip that. If it will be in some famous travel guides, I am pretty sure, that there will be full of people with their cameras 🙂

Routeburn track

Routeburn is one of NZ great walks. There is a problem that it is not a round. Beggining is here, in Glenorchy area and finnish is in Milford Sound. So if you want to do this track, you need to manage how to get back. One of the options is switch the cars with your friends who will come from Milford side. Second option is take a shuttle or hitchhike back. Next is come back by Greenstone or Caples tracks. I decided to do Routeburn and come back by Greenstone track.

Routeburn should be beautifull but I didn´t see too much all two days on the way was rainy and cloudy. Such a pitty. The view was covered by clouds but it is usuall for this track.

Greenstone track

When I swiched to Greenstone the weather became clear. Greenstone is easy, amazing track throw the valley, along a river and throw a wood. There are two huts on the way but I decided to skip the second one and walk about 8 hours to the end. I am highly recommending this track. I met just few people there in contrast to Routeburn track. And Greenstone is bigger adventure. You need to cross some rivers and jumping over them on stones. So expect that you will get wet :).

After a long way I needed to make a plan how to get back or my car, which was about 20 kms away. I was waiting for an hour on car park and finally some people came thre and drove me back for my car. I was so lucky. There is also possibility to take a shuttle but you have to make booking before. I did´t want to be bounded by timing so I chose a risk 🙂

I did´t do Caples track which is creating round with Greenstone. Together that could be 3 or 4 days. I guess Caples part should be lovely as well. Maybe I will do that next time 🙂



By Staanis

I am originally from the Czech republic but actually I don´t feel like home there. I am home on the road. I have travelling mostly in Europe, then NZ, Vietnam etc. Now I am in Ireland and planning next trip to Asia :)


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