On our way from Queenstown to Mt Cook we stopped off at the cutest and quaintest little town. Arrowtown is a small town, only about 20 km north east of Queenstown, just a short trip off Highway 6.
It has a rich long history, with early Maori settlers in the 1700’s and in the 1860’s European settlers discovered gold in the nearby river and started mining, but they headed for richer mining elsewhere some 5 years later. This led to the Otago Provinicial Government inviting Chinese Miners, who created a separate settlement in Arrowtown. So the town certainly has a mixed and interesting history.
The town continued to make a good living even after the gold rush by servicing the local farms. Even though the permanent population declined greatly in the 50’s it also gained interest as a holiday destination, resulting in the restoration of many original cottages and buildings. Today there are around 70 buildings and monuments still remaining after the gold rush era, which made it one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in New Zealand during the “noughties”.
Gold can still be found in the region today, with the most recent in 2013 at 3.8 oz (107.7 gram), I did ask the lady at The Gold Nugget, where some of them are displayed, how much it was worth, however she didn’t seem too happy to help when she said she didn’t know.
There are a lot of activities in and around Arrowtown too, there are some day hikes you can take around the nearby river and old mines, you can play golf, go to the museum and much more and of course, you can always try your luck in finding a nugget!
Of all the towns and cities we have visited during our trip, this was the cutest and most picturesque. The main street looks like something out of a movie set, it’s so perfect and well maintained. There are a couple of newer buildings mixed in, but it is done very well and is pleasing to the eye. I would say that Arrowtown is definitely a must stop for foodies, there’s an array of good restaurants and cafes and many cute B&B’s to choose from. (if only our budget would have allowed it). But for me, it was nice enough to just have a nosey around the different eateries and see the ‘oh so pretty’ cottages and gardens. If only I could make a copy of Arrowtown and its beautiful surroundings and put it in England or Sweden!