I was up early for a tour with Nomad Safaris, to do their Safari of the Scenes tour. They have two of these types of tours – one to the Wakatipu Basin, which goes through Arrowtown and Skippers Canyon and the second one to Glenorchy. I really wanted to see Glenorchy because I’d heard that the scenery there was gorgeous so I plumped for that tour. We got picked up at 8am and we had the full compliment of six people in the minibus. Fifteen minutes into the journey, we had to turn back and go back to base. There was some confusion at the office but within a few minutes that was cleared up and we could continue on our way, without losing too much time.
We came to this stunning viewpoint where you could see three islands in the middle of the lake. Mt. Earnslaw’s peak was nestled in cloud but the rest of the mountains were in plain view. This was a good day to do the tour because the sun was showing off the scenery at its best. It was a breathtaking view, with the blues of the sky, studded with the odd cloud, contrasting with the turquoise blue of the lake and the deep navy colour of the islands in the distance. I got to take one photo of this scene and I ran out of batteries again. Can you believe it? I’ll never learn, will I?
Julie, our guide, explained a lot about the geology and history of Queenstown and told us about William Rees, who was the first person to discover the area and two of the mountain peaks which were named after his sons: Cecil and Walter. We had a quick stop in Glenorchy, which is a beautiful, little village, with its own charm. She brought us into an area called Paradise which to me was just out of this world! It’s an open valley with a lot of sheep stations in the area and as you looked around, you were surrounded by high mountains, some who had a dusting of snow on their peaks from the night before. This was the location for the filming of the forest of Lothlorien in Lord of The Rings and where Boromir died at Amon Hen. If I thought Paradise was fabulous, then Isengard was even more breathtaking. I would have loved to have stayed here for hours.
We took a small detour for a cup of coffee/hot chocolate in the forest. It was autumn, so the leaves of the red and silver birch trees were turning a golden colour and I could see why they used this location for Lothlorien forest. The leaves littered the floor of the forest and the sun filtered through the canopy onto moss covered branches. It was magical and mystical. A little South Island robin flew onto one of the girl’s shoes, looking for food. It was so cute! The main reason why I went on the tour was because I wanted to see the scenery of Glenorchy and I certainly got my wish fulfilled. It was a good tour for 165 NZD and worth the money.