Arrowtown is the eye-catching southern lakes district of New Zealand. It is world famous for its stunning scenery, historic settlements and outdoor venture.

Nestled on the banks of the arrow river in the central Otago area, a 20 minute drive from Queenstown, Arrowtown is the most picturesque and best preserved gold-mining town in the region. Born out of the gold rush days of the 1860s Arrowtown remains a historic town that lives on today with tourism being the biggest growth industry in the region.

It all began in1862 when a small band of minors, including William Fox and John O’Callaghan, discovered gold in the Fox River and in just 2 weeks they had found 113kg of gold. Today that gold would be worth about three quarters of a million dollars. From that day on Arrowtown became famous and the population in the region grew with the Fox River becoming well-known as one of the worlds richest.

Arrowstown’s population peaked at more than 7,000 and is one of the few towns to not have become a ghost town or infested with modern development. Today many of the town’s original buildings remain still standing.

Arrowtown’s historic main street is to some extent lined with deciduous trees and has many old colonial shops and buildings at one end and tiny miners stone cottages dating back to the 1860s and 1870s at the other end.

The main street of Arrowtown
The main street of Arrowtown

You can stroll around a variety of shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries. One place well worth a visit is the town museum called the Lakes District Museum. The museum tells the great history of both Arrowtown and Queenstown’s past, focusing on gold miners and includes displays of agriculture and sawmilling (a facility where logs are cut into boards).

Chinese miners played a big part in Arrowtown’s history after 1865, when they were called to fulfil the vacuity produced by European miners who has left for the West Coast gold rush. Their legacy is the Chinese settlement at Arrowntown that serves as a tribute to the contribution made by the Chinese miners. It is now known as the Chinese village and is one of only three such places left in the world. It’s an interesting glimpse of how the Chinese gold miners lived over 100 years ago.

stone cottage at the Chinese settlement
stone cottage at the Chinese settlement

Near to Arrowtown is the much photographed Lake Hayes. A beautiful lake that attracts many tourists every year.

Lake Hayes near Arrowtown
Lake Hayes near Arrowtown

The road from Arrowtown to Queenstown passes the access road to Coronet Peak which takes you 7 km to the top where you can experience great views from the ski area. Coronet peak is one of two class ski fields within 40 minutes of Arrowtown and is a winter destination however in summer you can enjoy the views out over the tussock mountain, down in to the valleys and up to the Remarkables Mountain, it really is overwhelming.

There’s a whole range of activities within a 15 minute drive of Arrowtown including wine tasting such as Gibbston Valley Wines featuring an award winning winery, picturesque vineyard restaurant and underground wine cave where the wine is stored Tours and wine tasting are available.

Other activities include mountain biking and of course the world famous AJ Hacker bungee jump, golf facilities, trout fishing, swimming and lots more.

Arrowtown is popular all year round with something to do whatever the season.

There’s a great range of visitor accommodation ranging from camping grounds, hotels and motels through to the luxury Millbrook resort hotel, a luxury five star accommodation famous for its top class sport and leisure retreat.

For more about Arrowtown see the video clip below.

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