A Perfect Weekend at Kinloch Lodge

Written by Kelsey Powell

With everyone’s eyes fixated on the energy and excitement of Queenstown, it’s understandable why sleepy towns like Glenorchy get overlooked when driving around New Zealand’s South Island.

Tucked away at the far end of Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy is pretty much the end of the road, but it’s certainly not a place to ignore. 

In fact, Glenorchy is the gateway to a world of adventure that most explorers (and hobbits) dream about when reading their favorite travel magazines (surely hobbits read travel magazines, right?).

Disguised by a one-street town, Glenrochy isn’t actually as sleepy as you might think when you first arrive.

Hidden in the surroundings of “GY” (the locals’ name for Glenorchy), you’ve got:

  • The Routeburn Track (a New Zealand Great Walk)
  • The Dart Rees Track
  • Dart River Jet Boats & Funyaks
  • Lord of the Rings tours
  • Horseback riding tours
  • Over a dozen day walks
  • Helicopter tours
  • Skydiving


If you ever plan to enjoy the sophisticated, yet raw beauty of Glenorchy for more than just lunch and a day walk, you’ll need to stay at the best lodge in New Zealand, the magical and remote Kinloch Lodge.

After spending a very perfect weekend at Kinloch Lodge, I feel bold enough saying that it’s my favorite place I’ve ever stayed during my few years in New Zealand.

Kinloch Lodge, by winter or summer, is just extraordinary.

With options to stay in the hostel (the “Wilderness Rooms”), the Heritage Lodge, Glenorchy Lake House, or the EcoScape cabins, you can enjoy a magnificent lakefront view on any budget.

In summer, you can walk right out the door of your room and into a kayak for some easy paddling on the lake.

During winter months, you can cozy up by the fire, have a beer in the restaurant, enjoy a bath in a Heritage Lodge claw foot bath tub, or star gaze from the hot tub right outside your EcoScape cabin.

Throughout the majority of the year, you’ll have access to multiple walking tracks and can explore the natural beauty that surrounds you.

Originally built in 1868 by Captain Richard Bryant, Kinloch Lodge has become one of the most unique spots to stay in Central Otago.

When Toni and John Glover bought the property in 2000, they’ve stayed true to their word to uphold a promise of “blending in with the environment whilst offering outstanding comfort and technology.”

Recently, I was very fortunate to have the experience of staying in an EcoScape cabin at Kinloch Lodge for a long weekend.

When my boyfriend, Nick, surprised me with a little trip away to this gem of a location, I fell in total and complete love with the place (anddd my boyfriend, of course) the moment I stepped foot on the property.

We spent our time hiking on the trail to Lake Rere, drinking wine in the hot tub outside our cabin, sitting on the window sofa enjoying the breathtaking view, and watching a movie in bed using the innovative projector system.

John and Toni were so kind and went above and beyond to ensure we had the best possible experience while we were there.

They cooked us amazing vegan food sourced from their own garden and even brought meals to our cabin so we could really make the most of the experience.

One morning we enjoyed breakfast in the restaurant and John took the time to chat with us about the local news, what life is like living in the best place ever, and how his family handles living so far away from Queenstown.

While work and life had us running on robotic energy, the break at Kinloch was exactly what we needed to remember that being in nature, slowing down sometimes, and enjoying the things we love in life are so crucially important for our well-being.

So, whether you’re looking for a special place to take a loved one during your trip to New Zealand...

a clandestine spot to enjoy away from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown...

or a launch pad before/landing pad after a big multi-day hike...

Kinloch Lodge has you covered on all fronts!