Central Otago
National Parks

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended Central Otago National Parks

Glenorchy & Paradise Scenic Half-Day Tour from Queenstown

1. Glenorchy & Paradise Scenic Half-Day Tour from Queenstown

Just 45 minutes from Queenstown, Glenorchy is nestled on the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu and is home to what many say is New Zealand's best scenery and a slice of Middle-Earth magic. View stunning scenery and alpine vistas as you are guided in style aboard a luxury Mercedes van. Enjoy an overload of sightseeing and views packed into a fun half-day adventure to Glenorchy and beyond. Upon arrival in Glenorchy, you will be awe struck as you gaze at the mountain ranges and native beech forest which set the backdrop for this rustic town. You will have some time to check out the town's local sites and hidden gems, while also learning about Glenorchy and its fascinating Maori history. After Glenorchy, visit Paradise, view Diamond Lake, and explore the surrounding areas. There’s endless natural beauty and scenic stops along the way, ensuring you’ll go home with some postcard-worthy photos. View multiple Lord of the Rings movie locations, such as Twelve Mile Delta, where the first fight between Faramir's Rangers and the Giant Oliphaunts took place. In a location called "Paradise," you will also get to see the famous locations of Isengard and Saruman's Tower. Costumes are available, so you can re-create scenes and dress as a character from the movie. Whether you are a Lord of the Ring’s fan or not, you will be impressed with the stunning scenery surrounding these locations. Taste a kiwi-style morning and afternoon tea with a spectacular back drop. Your guide will set up the ultimate picnic in one of a number of picturesque locations, consisting of classic, kiwi delights. With a stunning natural backdrop comprised of majestic mountain ranges and native beech forest, Glenorchy is sure to leave you speechless.

From Queenstown: Mount Cook and Hooker Valley Day Trip

2. From Queenstown: Mount Cook and Hooker Valley Day Trip

Visit breathtaking locations in Queenstown as you make your way to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Travel with a reliable tour guide who will share stories and rich background knowledge on Queenstown and the Mount Cook area. Start your tour in the stunning city of Queenstown. Drive through the Kawarau Suspension Bridge and marvel at the scenery the Kawarau Gorge has to offer. Stop at the Roaring Meg Lookout to take photos of your stunning view. Then, enter the region of Cromwell, famous for fruits and wine and where you can see huge fields of vines. Next, traverse the majestic Lindis Pass which lies between two valleys against a backdrop of a bright blue sky. This stretch of highway is one of the only three Alpine roads through the otherwise impassable Southern Alps. After taking photos at the top of the pass, drive through the Mackenzie District and visit the township of Omarama. Turning west, you'll enter Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, and Lake Pukaki will emerge in front of you. Proceed to the start of the Hooker Valley Track and depart on a 3-hour self-guided hike with amazing views of Hooker Lake, Hooker Glacier, and Mount Cook. Finish your tour by visiting High Country Salmon as you make your way back to Queenstown.

From Queenstown: Mount Cook Skydive & Tour

3. From Queenstown: Mount Cook Skydive & Tour

Meet your guide in Queenstown before setting off for a day of thrills and adventure. Your guide will set the scene and prepare you for your skydive as you head out of the city and towards Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Admire the views as you pass through Kawarau Gorge, Lindis Pass and the Southern Alps. There will be a few short stops along the way to take in the scenery, and a longer stop in the quaint town of Omarama to get some lunch. After lunch, you will head to your skydive in Pukaki. Boasting some of the country’s most epic scenery and views of the snow-capped mountains, glaciers, lakes of Mount Cook National Park, this is one of the best bits of sky in the country. You will take a 10-minute scenic flight up to 9,000, 13,000, or 15,000 feet where you will get ready to dive. Enjoy a thrilling 30-second freefall before your professional instructor pulls the parachute for 3-5 minutes of incredible views across the South Island and Aoraki National Park. Back on solid ground, you will take a short drive past Lake Pukaki to arrive at Mount Cook village. You will have 2.5 hours to explore the National Park on foot, an ideal amount of time to take the easy hike along the Kea Point track. After a packed day of adventure, you will visit High Country Salmon to taste some of the freshest salmon in New Zealand. During the summer months, you will also stop at Mrs Jones Fruit Stall to try some fresh local fruit before heading back to Queenstown. Alternatively, you can choose to continue heading North from Mount Cook National park and end your day trip in Christchurch. If you would like to choose this, please select the ‘Drop-off in Christchurch’ option.

From Queenstown: Mount Cook Heli-Hike and Tour Combo

4. From Queenstown: Mount Cook Heli-Hike and Tour Combo

Discover everything the beautiful Mount Cook and Tasman Glacier area has to offer on a guided small-group full-day trip from Queenstown. Meet your small group early in the morning and hop on the minivan which will take you to the Tasman Glacier, stopping at some of the area's most iconic sights along the way. Make your way through the Kawarau Gorge, passing the Kawarau Suspension Bridge and of course the famous Roaring Meg Lookout. Drive past sights such as the beautiful Lake Dunstan, Lindis Pass, and the Cromwell wine region, stopping for photos along the way, before arriving in Omarama. Here, spot Merino sheep and sample New Zealand's creamiest chicken pie before continuing to Lake Pukaki, where you can spot several Lord of the Rings filming locations. Next, get ready for the adventure of a lifetime with a Tasman Glacier Heli Hike. Combine the excitement of walking on New Zealand’s biggest glacier with the stunning scenic helicopter fly-bys of New Zealand’s largest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. After flying to a remote part of the glacier, follow your guide as they cut steps in the glacier, using skills handed down from New Zealand's mountain pioneers. Finish your hike with another spectacular scenic flight back to the base. After your flight, stop for a quick photo stop in Mount Cook village before continuing to High Country Salmon, a local salmon farm, where you can feed the fish and taste some of the freshest salmon in New Zealand. Stop at Mrs. Jones Suncrest Orchard to try or buy her delicious local fruit or real fruit ice cream before returning to Queenstown with your group.

Frequently asked questions about Central Otago National Parks

What are other things to do than National Parks that are worth visiting in Central Otago?

The other unmissable things to do in Central Otago are:

Which Central Otago National Parks are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?

Other Sightseeing Options in Central Otago

Want to discover all there is to do in Central Otago? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Central Otago

It’s well worth the 9 am start to experience the beautiful drive to Glenorchy & Paradise. Andy was a very informative guide and I appreciated his personal knowledge of the area. We enjoyed a simple but tasty morning tea before driving home after plenty of photo opportunities. If you are a LOTR movie buff, you’ll enjoy the experience even more.

Awesome Glenorchy tour and our tour guide Andy was marvellous! He knows everything! Thank you so much Altitude! Very cozy van, nice morning tea with a cool and enjoyable background/scenery. 5 stars rating isn’t enough. It should be a 100 stars- rating!

It was amazing! Lance was very nice and approachable Trip was amazing! I had enough time to explore the place. Recommendable!

Brilliant driver leader. Arils provided excellent commentary. Great information was very helpful and pleasant

Fantastic tour and the tour guide was amazing and so friendly and fun, highly recommend this tour