Arrowtown owes a lot to the river it was built on, for the Arrow River gave the town both its name and its fortune. Arrowtown is a historic former gold-mining settlement located just 20 minutes from Queenstown. Despite its population falling to less than 200 people during the 20th century, the tourism boom in the region helped restore Arrowtown to its former glory. Today, the town attracts visitors wanting to learn about the early settlers of the region, and hikers and cyclists who come to use some of the best trails in the area.
Pan for gold in the Arrow River, an exciting activity for children and adults alike. While most of the gold has long been mined from the region, panning remains a popular activity for visitors to Arrowtown. Walk through the restored original buildings of the township to understand how the original settlers once lived. Make your way towards the buildings closest to the river to see the fascinating Chinese settlement. Visit the Lakes District Museum to learn about the history of the gold-rush town and the South Island’s lakes district.
Arrowtown marks the beginning of some of the region’s best mountain biking and hiking trails, and you can rent a bike from one of the stores in town. The trails vary in difficulty; pick up a map indicating the suggested experience level when you get your bike.
Take a short walk along the river from the town to discover a vista used in the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The scene depicting the “Ford of Bruinen” was filmed here, and the region contains much of the imagery used through the films.
Arrowtown can be reached by car or charter bus and is about 20 minutes’ drive from Queenstown. There is ample free parking, although spots near the main street can fill quickly