Arrowtown is unique as a perfectly preserved, picture perfect, gold rush village, that just gets better with age.
The town is a little golden nugget – born of gold and still maintaining its original character. You can easily visualise the pioneer diggers swaggering down the street and elbowing their way into bustling saloons, dance halls and gambling dens.
Arrowtown is 21km northeast of Queenstown and was named after the Arrow River – once one of the richest sources of alluvial gold in the world. Today it is a tourist mecca, particularly in autumn, when the hills are lit up with amber and red hues and the golden poplars are on fire in the streets. Autumn Festival Week in April, is the best time to visit to see the colours. In summer, you can explore the surrounding orchards and vineyards and sample excellent wines and the world’s sweetest cherries, apricots, nectarines and apples. Art and craft markets are popular here and there is a local art trail that is fun to follow.
Other things to do include; sampling the town’s cafes and restaurants, which offer fine New Zealand cuisine, strolling through the Chinese Village, tramping remote bush tracks, reliving the gold rush at the first-rate museum and browsing the clothing, art and jewellery stores. Also in the area are opportunities for gold panning, hot air ballooning, horse riding, golfing, hang gliding, parapenting, 4WD tours, bungy jumping and watching movies at a boutique cinema.
An outstanding 4WD trip is the 15km river-crossing romp into Macetown, a ghost town that brings home to you the isolation and hardships of the gold diggers.
For memorable views and photo stops the best options are Lake Hayes, Tobbins Track, The Crown Range and Memorial Hill.
Accommodation is available to suit all needs in lodges, B&B’s, home stays, motels, cottages, backpacker hostels and camping grounds.