"Arrowtown a special hideaway." Top 5 Page for this destination Arrowtown by kiwi

Arrowtown Travel Guide: 113 reviews and 310 photos

Small town with a big history.

As you drive into Arrowtown, probably from Lake Hayes, take the time to get your mind into a bygone era and think for a moment about the history of the town. It will help you appreciate better what you find.
Gold was discovered in the Arrow River in 1862 and suddenly the town was born. I wondered, as I stood and looked, why they built it so close to the river, under the hills and shaded from the lovely warming sun. I guess accessibility to the river and convenience of closeness was their priority.
The town was only ever intended to be there for the period of gold gathering, but when they build with stone, and left things there, it was not going to fall down on its own, lucky for us! At the height of the gold mining frenzy, the population of Arrowtown grew to over 7000 people, but is now a more realistic size of less than 2000.
Now you see the sunny side of Arrowtown growing with the development of a housing area facing the Lake Hayes direction.
It's a very small town and doesn't take a lot of time to get around. There is a museum which I found to be very interesting, along with an art gallery. You can take walks from here, and visit the old Chinese Miners' Village nearby, walking distance from the town.
You can picnic beside the Arrow River or eat at one of the lovely modern caf?s in the main street. Or even play a round of golf at the nearby Millbrook Resort, open to the public.
The shops in Arrowtown are totally geared to the tourist and open 7 days a week, however they do stock an array of high quality and lovely momentos and useful items mostly from New Zealand.
Arrowtown is just 25 minutes drive from Queenstown, and I suggest strongly that you take two particular routes to take in the beautiful surrounding scenery. One is from the main highway 6 via Lake Hayes. The other, is along Gorge Road, which is a beautiful drive through a canyon from Arrowtown back to the centre of Queenstown. Well worth taking both these roads.
Arrowtown - Queenstown 25 mins
Arrowtown - Cromwell 40 mins
Arrowtown - Wanaka (via Cardrona, summertime) 50 mins
Arrowtown - Wanaka (via Cromwell) 1hr10mins.

Some things you can do while visiting Arrowtown are: Hot Air Ballooning, Tramping (hiking), Horseriding, Golf (Millbrook), Skiing, Hang Gliding, 4wd tracks, Mountain biking, and Movies at the boutique cinema. Not to mention eating al fresco during the summer at one of the award winning cafés.

Gorgeous colours

During April the trees in the area change colour and the hills come alive for a short time. It is truly beautiful and somewhat of an attraction.

Chinese Mining Village.

Just near to the main street of town, there is an old Chinese Village from the gold mining days. Take the short walk through and see these lovely little stone houses, carefully restored to view.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Small, historical, not far from Queenstown.
  • Cons:Touristy, Cold out of the sun, Isolated.
  • In a nutshell:It is a tourist town, but with a special history.
  • Last visit to Arrowtown: May 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (12)

  • amandajayne81's Profile Photo
    Nov 1, 2008 at 6:07 PM

    Great Page. Looks like a lovely place. We hope to visit over the summer. Will definitely try the drive you recommend.

  • Darby2's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2008 at 4:45 PM

    Reminds me of some of the mining towns in B.C., specially in the Kootenays. Is that a yellow miner's hard hat you're wearing? :o)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Aug 11, 2007 at 9:12 PM

    great off the beaten path destination!

  • poppyfav's Profile Photo
    Aug 7, 2006 at 5:24 PM

    I love your "banter" in the forum , had to check your travel pages. Arrowtown brought back memories .I left the tour group and made the most of the short visit (who needs to eat? did grab a delicious meat pie. )Keep up your great sense of humour.

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Oct 6, 2005 at 5:55 PM

    A day in Arrowtown is always part of our bi-ennial Wanaka visit -there's always something new to see and do and it is just so beautiful in Autumn - a dear wee town. Cheers from across the ditch. leyle

  • K.Knight's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2005 at 9:57 PM

    Anne and I visited here a couple of years ago, It was spectacular!

  • SEALIFE's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2004 at 4:14 PM

    such as living ancient times, both old and new to be live together in naturally .point out that is life. Thanks for your travelling library.

  • Kaspian's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2004 at 11:27 AM

    What a great little page. A kind of beautiful, quaint, yet uniquely bizarre place. Loved the tiny stone buildings, the cottages built so tightly to each other, and of course the bra fence. Neat! Thanks, Ed.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Oct 24, 2004 at 5:33 PM

    Think I could dig this Arrowtown. Shops, cafes, and probably lots of antiques. yowzah!

  • quartinb's Profile Photo
    Oct 17, 2004 at 4:15 AM

    ,,,chinese are everywhere! very interesting place!


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