Introduction

Perhaps best known as the gateway to the Routeburn Track, Glenorchy sits on a rare shelf of flat land at the head of Lake Wakatipu. The small town is a great option if you want to be beside the lake and the mountains but prefer to stay once removed from the bustle and bluster of Queenstown. The tramping around Glenorchy is sensational, and the town is also a base for horse treks, jetboat rides, helicopter flights and skydives. It's Queenstown on sedatives.

There's often a sense of déjà vu when you arrive in Glenorchy, with areas around the town featuring heavily in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as being the setting for Jane Campion's Top of the Lake BBC series.

The town centre sits slightly back from the lake, so be sure to wander down to the wharf, where the Humboldt Mountains rise from the opposite shore.