When we left off yesterday I was none to happy that I had mistaken the location of my accommodations and therefore underestimated the amount time to travel between Wanaka and Kinloch (vs Glenorchy). It was dark and raining when I arrive in Kinloch the night before so course I had no idea of the landscape on my drive in or what the area I was staying looked like…..until morning.
I stayed in the Kinloch lodge. It is a combination B&B with a nice restaurant and a backpackers YHA (youth hostel accommodations). Kinloch is very close to several of most famous tracks (trails) in New Zealand so many backpackers pass through and stay here as a “rest day” between Wanaka and Milford Sound. It’s a pretty lodge on the edge of the lake…..
When I woke up and walked outside the skies were clear, the sun was shining, the lake (100′ from the B&B) was sparkling and the mountains (on the other side of the lake) were beautiful. So the extra drive last night was worth it. I made/ate breakfast, loaded up the car and spent a little time on the computer in the dining area trying to map out my “agenda” (I use that term loosely) for the day.
If you look on a map Glenorchy is pretty much in the middle of nowhere (and Kinloch doesn’t even show up on a map :-)…..
So why did I come here….good question. Another Stephen “secret” for those of you who actually take the time to read this…..I will confess, I am a Lord of the Rings fan (as I know several of you are as well). I have to further confess that when I begin to think about coming to New Zealand I knew from the get go that I wanted to visit some of the areas where they filmed the movie (as I did when I visited several of the Braveheart locations in Scotland several years ago). And several of the scenes in the LOTR were filmed in the Glenorchy/Kinloch areas. In studying LOTR locations I knew that the Glenorchy area was very beautiful and it definitely did not disappoint….
The first LOTR location that I came to in this area (I’ve seen others in my travels before Glenorchy) was the valley in Middle-earth where Isengard was located. Of course in the movie Isengard was a very dark and morbid place which is nothing like the actually location on bright sunny day; however, if you look at the pictures from the movie you can definitely see it’s the same place…
Next I drove for a while on a gravel road called the Glenorchy-Paradise Rd. It was appropriately named because it goes right through the middle of a place called Paradise (Google
). From what I could tell Paradise NZ consisted of 2 house, a lot of pasture land, a lot of sheep and cattle and some magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. And it’s probably also one of the biggest film making locations in New Zealand. Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the movies, speaking of Paradise said, “This is the Middle-earth I had always pictured”….
I was driving to try and get a good view of Mt Earnslaw. Mt. Earnslaw was used as the fictional Caradhas where the party passed in a snowstorm in the Fellowship of the Rings. This is the best view I was able to get as unfortunately didn’t have time for a 4-5 hour hike today 🙁 (it’s the snow covered mountain on the right in the picture above)…..
After coming to a ford that was too deep to drive through, “You…Shall…Not…Pass” 🙂 (my fellow LOTR fans will recognize that), I turned around to drive back and just before reaching Paradise I spotted some trucks and confirmed with someone in town later that it was a film crew making a movie. After that I passed through the forest that was used as Lothlorien when the fellowship fought as they ran toward the river, so I snapped a couple of pictures of that as well…..
Before I left the Glenorchy area I stopped and snapped a few more pictures of this amazing 🙂 valley and mountains. If you like beautiful mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers it is Paradise….
I stopped to have lunch in Glenorchy and spent the rest of the late afternoon driving back through Queensland on my way to Te Anau. It was a beautiful drive around the very long, emerald waters of Lake Wakatipu (Google).
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