“Gateway to Paradise”

Skydive Southern Alps dropzone in Glenorchy, near Queenstown, has the same magnificent backdrop as many scenes in Sir Peter Jacksons’ famous trilogy The Lord of the Rings (and now The Hobbit) which was filmed throughout New Zealand. The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit fans may be able to pick out particular Glenorchy landmarks which shape Middle Earth. The area is a popular set for international film companies who film near Glenorchy regularly, including our beautiful Skydive Southern Alps dropzone.

Enjoy a spectacular bird’s eye view of this stunning vista with the best  tandem skydiving with Skydive Southern Alps. Take a look for yourself and see why many film directors chose this dramatic scenery as the backdrop for their films, strap in with us and enjoy the best place to go skydiving in New Zealand. 

Dropzone Location: Glenorchy, New Zealand

Glenorchy is a picturesque village situated at the head of Lake Wakatipu, only a leisurely 45 minute scenic lakeside drive from Queenstown. With a population of 200, it is nestled amongst New Zealand’s most dramatic scenery of jagged peaks and snow capped mountains. The town borders both Fiordland National Park and Mount Aspiring National Park.

“The 45 minute journey from Queenstown to Glenorchy is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever experience. The road follows the edge of Lake Wakatipu, providing spectacular views of the surrounding mountains which rise abruptly from the lake’s shores.” See Tourism New Zealand Website

The iconic Dart River also spills into the head of Lake Wakatipu after its meandering journey through the 80 million year old Te Wahipounamu (‘The Place of Greenstone’). Te Wahipounamu was included as an UNESCO World Heritage area in 1990 and boasts some of the world’s most spectacular glaciated landforms and beautiful native forest.

This region at the head of Lake Wakatipu is known for its pounamu, greenstone. Maori tribes would travel by foot from the North Island down the West Coast of the South Island to access the pounamu, valued for its strength and suitability for tooling.

Glenorchy Today

The two main industries in Glenorchy are farming and tourism which have enabled the town to thrive while still maintaining its unique qualities and southern kiwi culture.

Glenorchy now provides an array of activities such as fishing, hunting, hiking, canyoning, jet boating, horse treks and skydiving. It is a fantastic base for keen trampers, being near the start of the famous Routeburn track and other multi day walks such as The Greenstone Track, The Caples Track, and The Rees/Dart track. There are numerous day walks of varying difficulties around the area boasting beautiful Glenorchy scenery or showing off historic mining artifacts.

From Glenorchy, you can travel to the Rees Valley, Paradise and the Dart Valley, the Routeburn Valley, Kinloch township, and Greenstone/Caples Valleys which border both Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks. To find out more visit the Glenorchy Community Website

Where to Stay – Glenorchy Accommodation

Mid Range and Backpacker

Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat:

Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat has a wide range of room choices, priced for every budget. Whether you visit by yourself, as a couple, a family, or a corporate group, you’ll have your choice of standard or luxury ensuite cabins, bunkrooms, shared or private bunk huts or powered campervan/RV sites. Each is inviting well-appointed, and environmentally sustainable.

Glenorchy Hotel and Backpackers:

A classic kiwi country-style hotel offering old-fashioned hospitality. The ideal venue to relax and enjoy the comforts of one of our warm and relaxing hotel rooms, or stay in the Backpacker Retreat (self-contained cottage and cabin). Dine in the Bonnie Jean Restaurant and Cafe renowned for it’s superb views to Mt Earnslaw and the mountains of Mt Aspiring National Park.

Kinloch Lodge:

Kinloch Lodge is a remote, lakeside wilderness lodge located on New Zealand’s South Island. Just a stones throw from the Routeburn and Greenstone tracks and within easy reach of Queenstown and Glenorchy, we offer accommodation ranging from 4-share bunkrooms to queen bed & breakfast rooms. You can self-cater or enjoy a meal in our restaurant, and spend the days trekking, fishing, jetboating, horse-trekking, or simply enjoying the magnificent natural surroundings.

Paradise Trust:

Since the late 1800’s Paradise has been the perfect retreat for people who seek tranquillity and an accessible experience of wild places. Not only does Paradise offer simple secluded cottage accommodation but with the recent restoration of the historic homestead there is also the option of luxury and comfort in a yesteryear experience.

Little Paradise Guesthouse:

Located on Lake Wakatipu and only 20 minutes drive from Queenstown, Little Paradise Guesthouse offers relaxing accommodation situated in a beautiful garden with thousands of different flowers and several water features. Little Paradise Guesthouse is as the name suggests – a quiet and restful place to relax or a base from which to take advantage of all the surrounding area has to offer.

Luxury Accommodation


Located just across the lake from Glenorchy, EcoScapes have been built with locally sourced green building technology and designed to blend with the environment whilst offering outstanding comfort and luxuries. EcoScapes are passive low energy rooms , providing luxury lakefront accommodation that allows you to immerse yourself in nature, relax and rejuvenate.

Glenorchy Lake House:

The Glenorchy Lake House aims to provide a luxury b&b accommodation experience in the heart of Glenorchy. The Glenorchy Lake House was designed with comfort, style and privacy in mind. Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded on all sides by mountains, the Glenorchy Lake House is just a stone’s throw from Paradise, Mt. Aspiring National Park, the world famous Routeburn Track and Fiordland National Park.

Blanket Bay:

Nestled amidst rugged snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps on the shores of Lake Wakatipu is New Zealand’s finest lodge – Blanket Bay. Here we celebrate the art of pure relaxation.

What to Do – Glenorchy Activities


Skydive Southern Alps:
Discover your own natural high while jumping from a plane 15,000ft above New Zealand’s most stunning alpine scenery! Experience the best skydiving in New Zealand, freefalling at 200kph over Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area – the place of greenstone. Discover your own natural high while skydiving from 15,000ft above New Zealand’s! Welcome to Paradise, New Zealand's skydiving experience that is beyond imagination. Join us for the best skydiving experience in New Zealand. 

Jet Boating

Dart River Jet Safaris:
Travel in comfort on board a Dart Valley jet boat safari – into some of New Zealand’s most magnificent alpine backcountry and Mt Aspiring National Park and World Heritage Area. You are invited to explore the ancient beach forest and hidden rock pools while enjoying stories of local legends and listen to native birds within this mountainous vista.

Horse Treks

High Country Horses:
Horse Riding Treks and Horse Riding Tours through Glenorchy, stunning scenic horse rides through Rees Valley Station on horseback. Choose a horse riding trek that suits you. Come and enjoy the beautiful scenery by horseback. Our horse rides take you through glacial fed rivers with stunning mountain backdrops. High Country Horses has been established and running quality horse rides since 1987. We ride through some of the most spectacular scenery in the south island of New Zealand. Horse Riding is New Zealand’s natural way of seeing the real New Zealand by horseback.

Dart River Stables:
Since 1992, Dart Stables has offered horseback riders a range of experiences from short treks across the Dart and Rees rivers to day long rides up to the beautiful and tranquil Paradise Valley . Dart Stables have exclusive horse riding rights to station which was chosen by Peter Jackson as the location for several scenes from the The Lord of The Rings trilogy, including Isengard, Amon Hen and “The Death of Boromir” scene from The Fellowship of The Ring film.


Revolution Tours:
Revolution Cycle Tours run a fully guided and supported luxury cycle tour around Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu through parts of Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Park and across the areas high country stations.


Routeburn Canyoning:
In this hidden spot you’ll find yourself in harmony with a spectacular environment and enjoy some serious adventure. This is Mount Aspiring National Park – real “Lord of the Rings” country. In fact this World Heritage area is not far from several locations used in the films, and it’s only a 20 minute walk through primeval rain forest.


Rippled Earth:
Join us on a kayak adventure across one of New Zealand’s most scenic mountain lakes within the Southern Alps. Two great kayaking tours leave from Glenorchy’s shores at the head of Lake Wakatipu, only 40 minutes from Queenstown.

Guided Walks

Glenorchy Base – Guided Day Walks:
We offer a wide range of superb guided day walks in the area. Enjoy the privilege to have your very own experienced enthusiastic guide, who is a keen tramper, Search & Rescue dog handler and has a strong interest in local history, fauna and flora, ecology and conservation with a Department of Conservation background.

Routeburn Guided Walks:
Join us on the famous Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks! Our guides will collect you from Queenstown and transfer you to the Routeburn Shelter, located in Mt. Aspiring National Park. Access to the track is via a swing bridge, where you are immediately immersed into stunning native beech forest. The wide variety of flora and fauna on display is sure to impress!

4WD Tours

Lord of the Rings Tours:
The beautiful Southern Lakes region of New Zealand, particularly Queenstown and nearby Glenorchy, provided many of the stunning locations used in the filming of the Lord of The Rings trilogy. An area packed with awe-inspiring sights, it has also been featured more recently in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Water Horse and X-Men: Wolverine. On our scenic tours you can experience the unprecedented natural beauty of this part of New Zealand in comfort and safety, with a knowledgeable local guide on hand to provide comprehensive insight into the many film projects undertaken in the area.