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Rainy day: are Glenorchy or Makarora Valley worth a trip?

Rainy day: are Glenorchy or Makarora Valley worth a trip?

Jul 6th, 2019, 05:26 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 12
Rainy day: are Glenorchy or Makarora Valley worth a trip?

Hi! I will spend 5 days near Queenstown in September. I´m not interested in indoor activities, and I intend to rent a car. Even on a rainy day, I would make a day tour by bus to Milford Sound. And I wouldn´t hike Mount Roy. But what about Glenorchy and Makarora Valley (Blue Pools)? Are they worth a trip on a rainy day?
heliomf is offline  
Jul 6th, 2019, 04:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Even if it's wet, Glenorchy is worth a visit! As long as the roads are open and considered safe. But do heed weather warnings (see link below). If it's raining, drive to the Lake Sylvan Track, which goes through a moss laden native beech forest. We walked it on a really wet day and it was gorgeous, returned to walk it on sunny dry day and it wasn't as nice (in my opinion). I enjoyed the scent of the damp forest, the sound of the rain's pitter-patter on the trees, the deep-green color of the moss, the brooding grey sky above the lake. It all looked like a set from Lord of the Rings. You'll need to drive on unpaved (gravel) road to get to the Lake Sylvan track. If the weather's really poor when you're here, check with the I-Site (tourist info) office in Queenstown before you set off on your drives. There will be more tourist info in Glenorchy and Wanaka. Also check:
The weather can change very quickly (even a brilliantly sunny day can turn ugly), so check forecasts on Metservice:

The drive to Blue Pools from Queenstown will take a little more than 2 hours, without stops. You'll want to stop, probably a lot! This is a such a pretty drive, I think it'd be better on a sunnier day. This route is also winding and narrow in places. Crown Range Road can be especially tricky at this time of year.

In September, there will probably be a lot of flowers in bloom in Queenstown--don't miss walking through the Botanic Garden.

It won't necessarily be wet. It could be brilliantly sunny. We've so far had a drier and warmer year down in Otago; the southern skifields are desperate for more snowfall. But meteorologists are predicting more unsettled weather for September. Even if this happens, I doubt it will be wet for the entire 5 days you're here.

Last edited by Diamantina; Jul 6th, 2019 at 04:34 PM.
Diamantina is offline  
Jul 6th, 2019, 10:35 PM
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Thanks, Diamantina, that was very helpful!
heliomf is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 04:42 PM
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I hope you have a wonderful trip!
Diamantina is offline  
Jul 13th, 2019, 10:09 AM
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Have to say that I thought the lookout some 20 km from Glenorchy looked more stunning than Glenorchy itself.

Now I admit I only looked around the pier area and didn't venture too far.

I was in QT in January and it rained most of the time so I didn't drive to Glenorchy nor do the day trip to Milford Sound, which I previously visited in heavy rain.
scrb11 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2019, 04:39 AM
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I agree with scrb11, my favorite view is north of Glenorchy, on the way to Kinloch where the road makes the turn around the Dart River. Google Maps now labels the area "Isengard Lookout". Also the view from Kinloch looking down Wakatip is pretty special. Just keep going...it isn't too much farther.

I would give up walking around the lake (marsh?) at Glenorchy if you're short on time. I also like that Lake Sylvan walk if you are staying in the area. I spent a night or two at the Kinloch Lodge on one trip (part of the YHA). PS this is a sandfly area.

There is as much chance it won't be raining as that it will... four seasons in a day, and all that.

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 15th, 2019 at 04:45 AM.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 15th, 2019, 08:32 AM
Join Date: May 2010
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The name of the lookout I'm thinking of is Bennet's Bluff. It's just a turnout from the road, with room for you to pull your car off the road.

Gets very windy there.

But you can look at the winding road north and in the summer, there's this yellow field under a mountaintop the east and of course the lake to the west and mountains across it as well.

And the reason why it looks better, especially in the morning sun, is that when those yellow fields are lit up brilliantly, it looks otherworldly.
scrb11 is offline  
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