Glenorchy: Peacefulness, beauty and accessibility
Glenorchy is called “Gateway of Paradise” and we quickly understand why if we take the time to stop there. Located about 40 minutes from the famous Queenstown, Glenorchy is a small town of just a bit more than 360 peoples. It is not much known by the tourists even if it is a good place to stroll and to discover the kiwi way of living.
The road between the two cities is worth going out of your way to see it. This road is one of the most beautiful in New Zealand. You will drive along the Wakatipu Lake and will be able to enjoy some amazing view of the mountains. You can stop at “Bennetts Bluff Lookout” to take the time to contemplate the landscapes and to take some pictures.
At the end of the road, enclaved in the west extremity of the lake, you will reach Glenorchy. It is nice the city is not as famous as Queenstown. This way we can quietly enjoy these beautiful landscapes which have welcome the shooting teams of The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia and X-Men origins.
It is also in these sceneries that the TV-show “Top of lake” was filmed. In this drama, which I really liked, we discover one small New Zealand city (called Laketop) life by following the investigation of a pregnant twelve years old teenager who disappeared. The tone is serious, sometimes grave and the pace is slow. Slower than usual in a TV-show. That could prevent some of you to watch it. Still, it is a good TV-show. One of the last episodes has the same effect on me than the last episode of “Six Feet under”… Those who watched it know what I am talking about.
When I arrived in Glenorchy the city appears quite different to me compare to what I imagined. It is more beautiful, warmer and colorful. During the Top of the Lake story it is supposed to be winter so obviously it is quite different as I visited Glenorchy in the middle of the summer. The criminal and suspicious atmosphere was gone. Instead the sunbeams were enhancing the mountainous areas playing with the shadows.
From the road getting to Kinloch, a very small city situated 20 kilometres far away, we caught sight of a pathway in the middle of a lagoon below. The pathway seems to be fitted out, made of wood boards and so appears wheelchair accessible. The weather is really nice so we decide to enjoy a little walk before ending the day. Let’s go to stroll on the “Glenorchy Lagoon Boardwalk”.
At the beginning of that walk we have to cross a small bridge. There is a piece of wood in the middle of the way and an edge to get on the bridge. The bridge entrance est delimited by a wood barrier which makes more difficult to manoeuvre a wheelchair but it is possible.
Next the pathway split into two parts : the Southern Circuit and the Northern Circuit which allow a longer walk. We chose the latter. Firstly the pathway is made of compact ground and then becomes a boardwalk. Unfortunately there are two steps to access it. Plus everytime you will need to go on and off the boardwalk you will have to pass trough an edge.
The wooden boards are well-maintained but it is necessary to be careful as the path is not so wide. All along the walk there are many benches facing some little ponds which allow us to stop and admire the view. In some places we also can observe ducks and black swans quietly swimming on the lake.
The pathway last part is made of compacted gravels and the ground is uneven so it is more difficult to go forward. Some parts are a bit steep and I needed Franck to push me. So if you want to avoid this part you can still choose the Southern Circuit at the beginning of the walk. It is shorter and you will be able to stay on the wooden boards. In any case I really enjoy the Northern Circuit as it allows to admire more great views and it is quite easy to go forward the edges with another person help.
After this walk which I really liked we’ve been back on the road and braved a few kilometres of gravel road before reaching Kinloch where we had the chance to be amazed by a wonderful sunset before leaving to new adventures!
You want to travel all around New Zealand? Find many ideas of awesome destinations in north island and south island in my other articles as well as wheelchair accessibility tips.
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