When visiting the Queenstown lakes district there are 2 main townships that you will see. Arrowtown is the second largest town. It’s a charming old gold mining town that has had the main township kept as much as possible in it’s original historic charm. 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.
The main attraction of Arrowtown are the shops and the The Lakes District Museum. The shops have a great selection of woolen products, and souvenirs. We suggest that you go to Arrowtown for the lovely river walks up and down the Arrow River. There is a four wheel drive trip that you can take up the Arrow river to a deserted gold mining town called Macetown.
It is a half day trip that will show you the hardships that the early settlers had to over come in their discovery of gold. Enjoy the changing colours from the trees of the residential gardens. A pleasant walk can be had just strolling around the old established part of the town. The Lakes District Museum, housed in the old Bank of New Zealand building. Found at the bottom in the main street. Has an excellent record of the old Gold Mining days. It frequently displays local art.
Beside the Museum is the Old Stone Cottage built around 1870 for a mining agent. Since then it has been used by a dressmaker, bank and lawyer’s office. The Stone Cottage today is a bar and restaurant. Just along the road 100m is the 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 the Museum.
At the top end of Buckingham Street you are able to walk through 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.
You can visit Arrowtown as part of a Garden Tour or Wine Tour with Heather and Lance and be shown around the Wakatipu Valley. One of New Zealand’s most photographed lakes is Lake Hayes. This is a ideal picnic spot for summer, only minutes from Arrowtown. Close by is the Amisfield Winery, ideal place for lunch.
Arrowtown is a good option for your evening meal. Queenstown can be very busy in the evening. So when guests ask for a recommendation for a quite relaxed and informal place for dinner. The Arrowtown restaurants are ideal, Saffron and The Stables are two, we like the Thai restaurant beside the river. The 15 minutes drive is pleasant, especially on a summers evening .
Arrowtown offers some very good accommodation options from luxurious lodges to a international golf resort, bed and breakfast, motels etc. The township is a popular holiday destination for the people of the southern provinces