Historic Arrowtown sits in rolling foothills around 20 minutes drive from Queenstown, on New Zealand's South Island.
You can see Arrowtown's location on the map at the foot of this page.
Filled with historic buildings, an excellent museum, a range of shops and restaurants, and some stunning scenery, it's a place you just have to visit if you are in the region.
Well before European settlement, the Maori people frequented the area on hunting trips and to search for greenstone.
The Maori settlers came from three separate tribes, who had joined by the early 1700's.
Farmers William Rees and Nicholas von Tunzelmann were the first European settlers in the area and eked out a meagre existence in the harsh surrounds.
In 1862, a Maori shearer named Jack Tewa found gold, and the floodgates opened. More discoveries followed, and in no time, around 1,500 miners were camped by the Arrow River. The settlement was first known as Fox's, after one of the miners, Bill Fox.
In January 1863, over three hundred kilograms of precious gold were transported out of the settlement. During the late 1860's, avenues of trees were planted, giving the settlement a more European feel.
By 1865, many of the original miners moved to new gold finds on the West Coast, and were replaced by Chinese miners, who were encouraged to come to the area.
Their village, in what is now Arrowtown, remained until 1928, and is preserved today with over seventy buildings still standing.
With the decline of gold reserves, the town became a service centre for the surrounding farming area, but by this time the population had diminished significantly.
Around the middle of the twentieth century, tourism began to flourish, attracting investors and residents to the town, and Arrowtown was "reborn".
Today, Arrowtown stands as both a mirror into the region's colourful past, but also as one of our unique treasures.
Things to see and do in Arrowtown
Arrowtown is one of those places that just relaxes you.
The historic architecture, laid back feel, meandering Arrow River, and welcoming businesses make it a great place to come and wander.
Here's a few things to do:
* as a ski base, it's a perfect place to stay. Coronet Peak is a short twenty minute drive away, and The Remarkables and Cardrona are also just a short drive.
* spend some time and wander amongst the historic buildings.
* take a stroll along the Arrow River and maybe have a picnic lunch.
* dine at one of the local cafe's, bars or restaurants. There's some beaut local produce on offer.
* have a game of golf at the local Arrowtown Golf Club, or the nearby Millbrook Resort.
* visit the Lakes District Museum. This is an eye-opener and gives a real understanding of how tough it was for the traditional Maori people and early settlers. You can even hire a gold pan and try your luck in the Arrow River.
* go walking. At last count there were more than fifteen recognised trails. The most popular are the Arrow River Trail (easy grade - one hour return), Millenium Walk (easy grade - one hour return), Big Hill Trail (five to six hours return - medium to high fitness level and full hiking gear recommended), Bush Creek Trail (easy grade - one hour return), Motatapu Track (three days - challenging. Full hiking, overnight and survival gear required). Maps are available from the museum and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have lots more information on their website here.
* hire a bike and go riding. Many of the local walking trails are shared cycling trails. Arrowtown also sits on the famous 110 kilometre long Queenstown Trail. The Lake Hayes Loop and the Arrow River Bridges Trail are very popular and welcome you to the region's stunning scenery. There are several bike shops in town for you to hire your equipment. Trail maps are available from the museum. If you love biking, why not stay for a few days and really get to know Arrowtown.
Perhaps the best known of Arrowtown's accommodation options, Millbrook offers a wide range of room options, comprehensive on-site facilities, and a championship golf course.
You can read customer reviews and search the range of Arrowtown accommodation here.