We left off in glorious Glenorchy, but we aren’t done with paradise just yet! From there, we headed toward, you guessed it, Paradise. That’s the official name, and it’s not hard to see why. The road is narrow and gravelly, but with views like this, it’s impossible to turn back.
Destination Lothlorien! We knew the mystical elven forest wasn’t far ahead, thanks to our trusty LotR guidebook. As soon as the road went deep into a golden forest, we stopped to explore. Turns out this wasn’t the exact filming location, but it’s clearly similar to Galadriel’s stomping grounds.
I could’ve easily spent hours here, wandering amongst the trees in dappled sunlight.
I heard a noise behind me. An elf? Well, no…
We hopped back into the car and kept driving, through some streams (luckily our rental car had high clearance) and across fields.
At last, we made it to the true eaves of Lothlorien, where the Fellowship first entered the forest after losing Gandalf in Moria.
This isn’t the best screenshot, but you get the idea:
I think the Fellowship could’ve saved a lot of time if they just drove part of the way. Sauron would’ve never seen them coming.
With only so much time to spare before our planned dinner out for our last night, we reluctantly turned around. On the way back, we took a detour to visit the Dart River.
Emptying into Lake Wakatipu, the river is known to Maori as Te Awa Wakatipu. It was named the Dart in English because of its swift current.
We all found countless spots to take photos, because just LOOK at this place!
The color of the glacial water is unbelievable. The Dart originates in the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps, flowing out of the Dart Glacier and hurrying to Lake Wakatipu. Can’t you just feel the chill looking at it?
Just a stunning spot all around!
Nothing beats a snowy mountain pillow.
On our final night, we enjoyed a great dinner in central Queenstown before turning in. In the morning, Queenstown gave us a warm farewell, coloring the distant peaks with rose gold.
Before we bid our amazing bach adieu, I had to get some photos.
That’s the view from our bedroom. What I wouldn’t give to wake up to this view every day!
Even the bathroom had a view:
Yeah, I won’t be seeing that from my shower anywhere else.
Or this from my breakfast table…
So long, house of dreams!
We had Fergburger (because, of course) for a late breakfast/early lunch and walked around town a bit, killing time before our early afternoon flight. The botanic gardens, located on a peninsula sticking out into the lake, are always a wonderful spot to wander.
I recognized this next boat from my trip to Queenstown over eight years ago, since I took a photo at the time. Here’s the Tic-Toc today:
And the Tic-Toc in November 2008:
It’s held up well!
We still had time to spare, so we decided to drive past the airport out to Kelvin Heights to do some exploring and take advantage of the sunshine.
Paradise for humans and ducks alike.
Sadly, we’ve come to the end of the epic Fly family journey. Although we still had a few more days in Wellington, this is it for the photos. I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did. (We’re already planning our next one). I hope you’re not sick of Queenstown, since we’ll be back in the next blog for some epic Kelsey & Kelsey adventures! Stay tuned. 🙂