| Arrowtown is a quaint historic gold-mining town only 20
minutes drive from spectacular Queenstown.
Arrowtown is at the heart of the Southern
Lakes ski areas, and is known for its hot summers and striking
autumn foliage. Arrowtown has a number of superb cafes & restaurants.
On the main street of Arrowtown, Buckingham Street you will find shops selling
New Zealand's finest clothing, souvenirs, arts and crafts, giftware, and
wines. A wide range of accommodation
is available in Arrowtown or nearby Queenstown.
Things to see in & around Arrowtown
- The Lakes District Museum - The Lakes Distict Museum is a great place to catch up on the town's extensive history. The original part of
the building was built in 1875 as the Bank of New Zealand. This was
donated to the Museum in 1955 and has been added to in various stages
- The Stone Cottage - Built around 1870 for a mining agent. Since then has been
used by a dressmaker, bank and lawyer's office. The Stone Cottage today is a tearoom.
- Arrowtown Jail - Built in 1876 in the Police Compound to replace the old log
jail which had been used since 1863. Nowadays the jail can be visited by obtaining the key from
- Stables Restaurant and Village Green - The Stables was built in the 1860's
and is a good example of local rock building with small windows and thick walls. Originally
the Stables were used for horses of guests staying at the New Orleans Hotel.
- Buckingham Street. The main street of Arrowtown is now occupied with an array
of shops. The shopping is varied from an original grocers store to a gold shop and jade carving
shop. There are several quality clothing shops, craft shops, souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants.
- The Arrow River - This was the start of it all with the discovery of gold
not far from where the town stands today. Gold panning in the river can still produce a little
"colour", so hire a gold pans and see if you are lucky. The Arrow River is also a popular fishing spot. Fishinh licenses can be obtained the Museum.
- The Chinese Settlement - Built by the Chinese miners from 1868. The Settlement
includes Ah Lum's Store and outhouse, which operated until 1972. Much of the Settlement was
unearthed in 1983 and some parts recreated.
Useful Links: Queenstown
, Queenstown Accommodation
Things to do in Arrowtown
- Annual Arrowtown
Autumn Festival in April
- Visit the Chinese Village
- Choose a golf course - Millbrook Resort has a international class
18 hole championship golf course.
- Hike to the Old Macetown - Walking track maps can be picked up from
Lake Districts Museum.
- Explore the pools of the Arrow River
- Follow the Historic Walk around town
- Check out the Bungy Bridge
- Try one of the old pubs
- Catch a trout at Lake Hayes
- Relive the Gold Rush at the Museum
- Horse trek the old trails
- Ride the Double Decker Bus
- Relax at Waterfall Park
- Sample the great vineyards - Amisfield at Lakes Hayes and Gibbston
Valley Winery are close by.
- Try parapenting
- Hire a gold pan, you never know!
- Raft the Kawarau and Shotover River
- Nice day for a horse and carriage ride
- See Skippers, the Canyon of Gold
- What a great place for a bike ride
- Four wheel drive trips
Arrowtown was established as the town of Foxes in 1862. It was the discovery of gold in the Arrow
River which led miners by their thousand into the district and resulted in the formation of settlements
adjacent to the gold diggings.
William Fox, John O'Callaghan and a small band of miners had discoverd gold in the Arrow River
some weeks prior to the fact becoming known and by being secretive they managed to have the diggings
to themselves. In this time they recovered some 230 lbs of gold! Ultimately the population of
Arrowtown rose to over 7,000 people, and the now ghost towns of Macetown and Bullendale counted
for several hundred more. The Arrow River became famed as one of the world's richest sources of
alluvial gold, and many miners made their fortunes in the diggings.
Many of the early miners were fairly nomadic and lived in canvas tents, not having the time,
money or inclination to build permanent lodgings. However, the merchants and hoteliers were always
quick to recognise a good thing, and some of the stone buildings in Buckingham Street date back
to 1862 or 1863, which was only months after the beginning of the rush.
Trees were of course planted in the area, with many coming from Europe, the Americas and Australia.
The wide variety of trees in the district is now one of its great attractions and the seasonal
changes, particularly in the Autumn, add greatly to the landscape. The main Avenue of Sycamores
and Oaks was planted in 1867 and to this day is a feature of Arrowtown.
Since the gloss went out of the gold rush in the early part of this century, Arrowtown has continued
on as a small satellite town to Queenstown and as a base for agriculture in this part of the basin.
More recently, with the increase in visitors from New Zealand and all over the world, the town
has become an attraction as an example of a living historic town. Strict preservation orders protect
the originality of the town's historic buildings, and the excellent Lakes District Museum has
many displays pertaining to the pioneering past of the district.