If you are spending some time in Queenstown, you should visit this beautiful historical little town as well. Arrowtown is one not to miss! No matter if you are the type of tourist who loves outdoors as we do, the one who is after history and museums, or if you love shopping and dining experience. Arrowtown will serve everyone!
We absolutely love to escape to this little town from busy Queenstown. even though Arrowtown can be super touristic too, especially during the season and in Autumn. There is lot of amazing restaurants, beautiful little cinema which I highly recommend visiting! Lot of souvenir stores and great short and long walks in the area around.
Today I am going to share with you couple of short to middle walks you can do around Arrowtown. I will dive into recommendations of other things to do some other time.
Autumn in Arrowtown, New Zealand
I haven’t seen more beautiful and colorful place in Autumn! Its known as golden town not only for its gold mining history, but for the golden colors you
can see all around when the leaves start falling as well. It’s not hard to make the “perfect” photo there in this time of the year! So if you are planning a visit in autumn, don’t forget your memory card for your camera! Or make space in your smart phone. It’s a super photogenic place.
The highlight of the year is the Arrowtown autumn festival which is an annual six-day celebration. There are lots happening in the six days. Activities for adults as well as children. You can find the whole timetable on their official website: https://arrowtownautumnfestival.co.nz/
Just to give you an example, there is always a Fun run you can attend, workshops, kids circus which is super fun for the little ones! Dug race for the kids which is quite fun as well! You can watch the NZ gold panning cham
pionships and the highlight of the festival is its parade followed by vintage cars display, arts and crafts market and some street entertainment.
If you don’t like too many people at one place, I don’t recommend you to go to Arrowtown in that time of the year. But if you can get over it then it is definitely worth going!
Short Walks in Arrowtown
As you know we love the outdoors. And when we get to Arrowtown we don’t go there just to sit in a cafe or go shopping. We love this little town for the fact how accessible it is for lot of different short walks we can easily do in one afternoon with the children. I will give you couple of examples of those we really like to do.
When you arrive to Arrowtown there is a big free parking place down by the river. You can either park by the entrance to the historical Chinese settlement (there is also public toilet by the parking place) or a bit further closer to town. There is more available parking spots around the Arrow river – all within five to ten minutes walk anyway.
- Arrowtown Chinese Settlement
This is just a very short walk you can do when you are interested in the towns history or just wanna enjoy a short walk along the Bush Creek. It’s absolutely beautiful in any time of the year!
It’s partially restored historic village which has been built by gold miners in the Otago Golden Rush in the middle of 1900s.
It’s a great attraction for adults as well as kids – adults learn something from the local history and children can run around, hide in the huts and learn something in the same time too! And it is also accessible with a stroller which is a bonus.
When you come to the last hut you can either turn around and go back the same way or we usually turn to the right and follow the Bush Creek back to the town.
By the entrance to the Settlement there is a cafe where you can also try some gold panning. They will show you hot to do it and you can try it yourself too. Or you can just hire the gear and go and try it in the river.
And a little tip – if you go there in Autumn, just opposite the cafe across the street, there is a grass area. By the street you can find there to Walnuts tree – help yourself with some fresh walnuts!
- Millenium Walkaway
This is our favorite when the season is not on and it’s not full of people. It’s very easy, super accessible from the town, possible to do with a stroller, on a bike or push-bikes with kids and therefore very popular for tourists as well.
Don’t take me wrong, I am not all against tourists. I am just taking it from my perspective as we live in a super touristic town and like to escape the business sometimes.
You can enter this walk anywhere from the car parks down by the river and just walk along Arrow river to the right. This trail actually connects to a trail which leads all the way to Queenstown. We like to walk to the bridge near Ford Street, walk up to O’Callaghan Park and back following the path up there so we don’t walk the same way. It will take you to the historical town, where you should walk through the Buckingham street as well and have a look around the town.
- Tobins Track
We love this track. It’s because we love going up hill as it always rewards you with some beautiful views! This track is quite popular for locals for running. We don’t run it with the kids, but they can easily walk it up and down and the view of Arrowtown and the whole Wakatiou Basin is gorgeous!
You can access this track by crossing the bridge where you turn back when you do the Millenium Walkaway. There you see signs and a map as well. It’s about one hour return just add a bit of time when you do it with children of course.
In the middle there is a little sidetrack where you can see some ruins from Tomas Tobins hut from the time he used to live there. Quite a good distraction for children on the way up.
Half- to full day walks around Arrowtown, New Zealand
The approximate times I am going to give you with these walks are when an adult is walking it. If you walk with children is harder to guess how long it is going to take. Depends on how often you walk with them, if you carry them as well or let them walk the whole way. If they through a tantrum on the way or better to say how many. So I leave it up to you to extend the time according to your children’s abilities.
- New Chums Gully
We don’t do this track very often just because dogs are not allowed there and we don’t want to leave Trouble behind. It’s a nice walk with some amazing views on the way! You can access this track half-way up the Tobins Track – there is a gate and orange pole.
It goes through the New Chums Gully which has been very popular for mining in the Otago Gold Rush. You can see some remains on the way.
It’s a loop track which is a bonus. We don’t like walking there and back the same way very much! You come back by the Macetown 4wd road by the car parks.
The whole loop takes around 3 hours. So with children I do recommend taking lot of snacks and water. We usually get ready for tracks like this to take us twice as much time with our kids. At the end it’s usually quicker but you never know.
- Sawpit Gully
This is approximately same long as the New Chums Gully. It’s also a loop track. Just goes to the other side. To access it you follow the Arrow river up. Following the Arrow Gorge Track. There is also the access to Big Hill Trail. Climb to Eichardts flat and slowly go back down to Bush Creek.
From the top you can enjoy absolutely beautiful views of the Wakatiou Basin as well. It’s a bit of a climb for the children. But if you leave yourself enough time and will not be in rush, I am sure they can make it!
I have never walked or biked this track. But have done it couple of times in our 4wd car.
If you want to walk it, you need to allow yourself the whole day and I wouldn’t recommend it with children. You can carry a baby maybe, but be aware there is lot of crossings of the Arrow river.
At the end you reach historical mining village where you can also camp. So if walking it might be a good idea to make it as a two-day track.
Doing it as a 4wd drive is an amazing experience. There are numerous companies in Queenstown which can take you there. I would highly recommend it if you are an adventurous type of person.
Bear in mind though that you will be going not only through the river many times but also driving up on cliffs. So if you are scared of hights then don’t do it!
The last time I have been there actually was when I was heavily pregnant with Natalia, I think Jan was wanting to meet her already! The only thing I can say – don’t do it when you are heavily pregnant, it’s not very comfortable!
A place not to miss!
Arrowtown New Zealand is a place not to miss for sure. As I already said there is plenty of amazing restaurants, famous Arrowtown bakery, Patagonia ice cream, historical museum, beautiful little cinema etc. I will make a new post about recommendations on that.
But you really should go there and enjoy the beautiful outdoors as well! No matter how fit you are, no matter what is the weather, no matter how much time you have. You can do just a 10 minutes walk around the river. But it is definitely part of this little town too!
If you are planning on visiting Arrowtown and want some tips on anything, don’t hesitate to contact us through the comment box below! We are happy to help!