Five reasons why Arrowtown is definitely worth visiting

Updated: Jan 15, 2019

When visiting or planning a trip to Queenstown you'll most likely hear about the neighbouring settlement of Arrowtown. With so much hype surrounding it you might be wondering if Arrowtown is worth visiting. The answer is... YES! Here's five reasons why you should add it to your trip.

If you thought Queenstown packs a lot into a small package then say g'day to Arrowtown! This little place is exploding with colourful history, flavours to be savoured and outdoor adventures to be had.

A historic miner's cottage in Arrowtown, NZ
A historic miner's cottage


There's gold in them thar hills!

Just like Queenstown, Arrowtown was first settled during the early 1860's by those looking to make their fortune after the discovery of gold in the Arrow River. The historic downtown area has been well preserved over the years and a stroll down the main street transports tourists back to those early settlement days. A walk around the Chinese village offers visitors a chance to see how the fortune seekers lived in those early years and information boards give great insight into what life was like for the first settlers.

Arrowtown, NZ
Credit: @jordan.draper123 // Instagram

Eating & Drinking

For such a small town, Arrowtown offers countless options for sampling the flavours of the region. With fast eats, pub grub, cafe culture and fine dining, you won't be disappointed with what's on offer. Most of the restaurants and bars can be found in the main historic precinct with the exception of a few scattered further afield.

Tip: Keep your eyes peeled as some of the best places can be easy to miss...

Brow Peak, Arrowtown

Outdoor Activities

The area also has loads of outdoor pursuits to keep all levels of adventures happy. Hike on one of the many picturesque walks Arrowtown has to offer (inc. Sawpit Gully, Arrow River Track, Brow Peak etc) or rent a bike and explore the scenery on the Queenstown trail. From Arrowtown you also have easy access to the Gibbston Valley and nearby wineries.

Dorothy Brown's Cinema in Arrowtown, NZ
Dorothy Brown's Cinema


Weather not looking so good? Or maybe the kids (big and small) are after something other than the typical outdoor activities? Step back in time and try your hand at gold panning in the Arrow River, visit the Lakes District museum and learn about the history of the area and the local characters that built the town or catch a flick at the quirky and quaint Dorothy Brown's cinema. If you are after a wee boogie make sure to check out The Blue Door and The Fork and Tap for a live music fix.

Arrowtown in Autumn
Credit: @yidan333 // Instagram

Autumn Festival

With so much on offer you wouldn't be wrong in thinking that Arrowtown is a year round destination similar to Queenstown, however it is in the Autumn (or 'Fall' for those of you from the USA) that the town really steps up its game! The Arrowtown autumn festival (held in mid-April) centers itself around the stunning colour transition of the nearby hillsides as they light up in the most spectacular hues of red, orange and yellow. For almost a week the town is taken over by market stalls, live entertainment, parades and other events.

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