The main street of Arrowtown is a favourite with visitors. Boutiques and gallerys share space with cafes and candy stores - all with well preserved shop fronts. There are even historical telephone boxes and post boxes.
The historic goldmining town of Arrowtown is popular for more than just well preserved buildings. It holds an annual Autmn Festival. Unfortunately I missed the festival by a week but the colours were still brilliant.
The Arrow Basin was formed when the great glaciers carved out the Wakatipu Basin.
Local Maori had settled in the area by the 1700s.
William Rees and Nicholas von Tunzelmann were the first Europeans to establish farms in the area. Jack Tewa, a shearer for Rees, was the first to discover gold around May 1861, followed by either William (Bill) Fox or the team of Thomas Low and John MacGregor late in 1862. It is unclear who was next. Fox took credit for the discovery and for a while the town was called Fox’s.
Although there were attempts to keep the discovery secret, there were 1,500 miners camped down on the Arrow River by the end of 1862. After the initial gold rush, a more permanent town began to establish itself. The avenues of trees were planted in 1867 in an attempt to make Arrowtown look more like the European towns the settlers had left behind. The Chinese area also established a settlement and were part of the Gold Rush history.
Arrowtown continued to survive after the gold ran out by becoming a farm service town. Although the permanent population declined, during the 1950s it gained a reputation as a popular holiday destination which continues today.
Autumn is also a great time to visit with leaves turning golden brown along with many brilliant reds.
A 250m climb will get you some fantastic views over Arrowtown and the surrounding basin.
Tobins Track was constructed in the 1870's to give access to Cardrona over the Crown Range Road. It is a legal public road that 4WDs can use. A footbridge by the ford crosses over the Arrow river and from there it is a steady climb to the top for a great viewpoint. At the top of Tobins Track is a trig station and two seats provided by the Stevenson family for walkers to enjoy the view and rest awhile.
A great way to get your bearing over the area.
The track was constructed in the late 19th or early 20th century as a means of connecting Arrowtown with the Cardrona Valley. From the top you can open a gate and connect up with the roads in the Valley and up over the Crown Range.
The Arrow River is a short river which runs through Arrowtown where gold was discovered by William Fox in the Arrow river during the Central Otago goldrush of the 1860's.
There is a short but scenic walk along the banks of the river starting in Arrowtown. It isn't very strenuous and takes you to an historic walk bridge.
Just to the north of Arrowtown, on the banks of Bush Creek, is the partially restored Arrowtown Chinese Settlement.
It is a stark reminder of the harsh and brutal living conditions in their search for wealth in gold.
Census figures for 1874 reveal that there were 3,564 Chinese in Otago. They were often victims of discrimination and lived on the fringes of European settlements.
on the main street, this little museum captures the history of the Lakes District area.
Its has various displays of the mining past, collections of books, photographs and newspapers. The museum also organises tour if required.
This old miners camp is well worth a visit, its only metres down the track behind the Arrowtown main street.
There are some good interpretive signs and historic photographs of the settlement which dates from the 1860's. It will take you around an hour to wander around and soak up the atmosphere. The Chinese miners build some stone wingdams into the creek to divert water so they could mine the riverbed. Some of these old workings are now being exposed by river erosion.
This is a great 4WD or mountain bike or walk into the 21kms from Arrowtown to the historic mining settlement of Macetown.
You cross the Arrow river around 19 times if taking the 4WD drive track, recently there have been 2 different walking tracks developed that take you dryly into this splendid area.
Once in, you can see the old gold diggings area and old miners huts that are still standing. A camping area is nearby, but really you can free camp anywhere. Watch the river conditions, they change, as I can atest, having put the 4WD into a deep pool. Make sure you see the bubbling brook of the proposed river crossings.
Macetown is a beautiful spot to explore with many stone ruins of huts left and the setting amongst deciduous trees, strawberries and gooseberries is spectacular.
In autumn, this trip will leave you completely spellbound, it really is a must-do!
This is a pleasant 1 hour return stroll along the banks of the Arrow River and leaves from the skateboard park on Ramshaw lane just behind the Museum on the main Buckingham Street.
This popular walking track was built to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the settlement and also to open up access along the river.
The track is well formed and shaded by willow trees.
The Chinese Settlement is on the very outskirts of Arrowtown, at Bush Creek and is free of charge to visit. Here you can explore the remains of the settlement that was home to the many Chinese goldminers. You can see inside the basic little huts which must have been cramped, cold and uncomfortable. Some of the walls inside the huts are little more than branches woven together, some are made from stone, whilst others have old newspapers pasted over boards, which I have seen in other old huts and houses of the time. It would have gone some way to keeping the drafts out.
The Chinese lived separately from the main township, as despite being hard working and honest, they were viewed with suspicion by the other miners and would have encountered much prejudice. The settlement has it's own stores and small cemetery. Many of the men living in the settlement would have intended their time here to be a temporary one, a few years hard work on the gold fields before returning home as prosperous men. However, the harsh reality was that most of them never saw their homeland again.
Sited along the main road of Arrowtown is this little chapel. This was one of the individual building you'd see when you enter into town.
I'm not too sure which denomination this chapel belongs to. So if you do, please leave me a commentk? Thanks.
It's rather interesting to know that Chinese were in New Zealand slogging in the rough terrain to find gold during the 1800s. It was just so far away from their homes in China, but they made this country their home.
The government did an archaeological excavations in 1983 Arrowtown Chinese Settlement where they found the remnants of a number of huts, and a number of them, like the one I'm standing in, have since been reconstructed.
The settlement is also the last remaining Chinese settlement in a relatively intact state in Otago.
Normally, I do not stop by roads to look at the trees. But the trees that lined Arrowtown was something that I had see. Many trees planted in the area came from Europe, the Americas and Australia. What gives it the additional allure was the lovely brown leaves during Autumn.
The main Avenue of Sycamores and Oaks was planted in 1867. The trees are all lined along the main road, so you don't have to go out of the way to experience this wonderful view.
The Lakes District Museum is an excellent place to visit - heaps of local history is presented here, and the museum (part of which is in the old Bank Of New Zealand building) doubles as Arrowtown's visitor information centre too. They have a street scene exhibition, where you can see recreated an old nineteenth century schoolhouse, shops etc and of course lots of history and information on how the township evolved through the goldmining years.
Right opposite the museum is the towns Post Office, which is actually run by the museum. A full post office, the historic building is one of the only "Post and Telegraph Offices" left in New Zealand.