Arrowtown is a postcard tourist town neatly wrapped as a preserved nineteenth gold mining settlement. The town has a glorious main street characterised by cheerful timber facades. The adjacent Arrow river flows through the dappled light of deciduous trees and coupled with a layer of polished urban hospitality visitors flock in their thousands to soak in the atmosphere. Arrowtown is definitely quaint and despite the crowds of tourists is definitely worth time spent exploring. The town is not a replica gold mining town but the real deal. Effectively you are visiting an open air museum, complete with contemporary cultural attractions such as art galleries, gift shops and souvenirs. And perhaps I did not mention the landscape is lucious framing the place all year round making for instagram moments around every corner.
Best time to visit
Year round Arrowtown is attractive. A favourite is autumn, the splendour of foliage, bursts of orange, gold and amber compliment the nineteenth century vibe. It is cuteness overload on the senses.
Walking in the small compact town is the best way to explore the town. As a very popular visitor destination traffic congestion makes parking problematic. Check Parking Queenstown local government parking zones for the district.
How far is Arrowtown from Queenstown?
20 km 20-30 minutes
Undeniably Arrowtown is a tourist attraction, yet it manages to retain a charm making it one of the destinations New Zealanders and other visitors should visit. This small quaint town with its visible heritage, boutique shops, cafes aplenty and delicious temptations, think retail therapy here, is captivating. The Maori name for the Arrow river is Haihainui which means ‘Big Scratches. Courtesy of the Lakes District Museum and Art Gallery.
Walking maps are available for purchase from the Arrowtown visitor centre. Travel Pack Information includes a brief description of walking and cycling trails in the district, including Arrowtown.
Arrow River Trail
2 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown 9302, New Zealand
Arrowtown, New Zealand
Sawpit Gully Track
Arrowtown, New Zealand
Soldiers Hill walk
Arrowtown, New Zealand
Marshall Park is a popular place, at the top of the main shopping street for visitors who have snacks or takeaway lunches for an impromptu picnic. There are public toilet facilities.
The district is well known as a favourite for garden focused guided tours. The peak season for guided tours is either spring or autumn.
Lakes District Museum & Gallery
49 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown 9302, New Zealand
Arrowtown Chinese settlement
Buckingham Street, Arrowtown 9302, New Zealand
Macetown, in the Arrow Gorge
Macetown, Arrowtown, New Zealand
Arrowtown is awash with exclusive New Zealand branded designer wear, clothing specialising in warm cosy merino wool garments, rugged outdoor clothing designed to withstand alpine winter conditions as well as a raft of glorious local artisan goods. Cafes, restaurants and eaties are dotted among the shops keeping visitors well fed.
For the latest openings and closings check out Shop in Arrowtown. As a major tourist destination Arrowtown is not a place for a bargain.
To explore Macetown and off road tracks you will need a 4WD. To enjoy the trip it is recommended a local tour operator is used. It is an investment in safety as well hearing about the region from a professional who will take you to their favourite secret spots. On gravel roads, through the backcountry, along cliff edges, it is a way to indulge in an exhilarating, breathtaking day trip without doing the hard work. It is advisable that 4WD tours are booked prior to arrival to avoid disappointment.
Where to Stay, Arrowtown is the perfect home base to enjoy the region. 15 minutes from Queenstown Airport, Arrowtown is close, quieter, and sophisticated. Choices from luxury resort, hotels, motels, B&Bs, and a good motor camp with cabins.
Arrowtown Shuttle Timetable is an excellent example of Arrowtown innovative hospitality. Visitor experience is enhanced by the removal of the hassle of getting around.
New Arrowtown Shuttle Queenstown to Arrowtown via Shotover Country/ Lake Hayes Estate – Queenstown pick up and drop off from the Station Building (hotel pick up on request).
Return from Arrowtown (pickup behind the Museum) to Queenstown via Shotover Country and Lake Hayes Estate.
8:00pm 9:30pm 10:30pm
Shuttle bookings: Phone 0800 393 754 Pure Tours.
Friday and Saturday.
This is a Free service but donations are encouraged! Please support our local businesses and help our local community.
There are a number of providers in Arrowtown and it is a popular way to travel between Queenstown and Arrowtown as well as explore the trails traversing the district. Many offer self-guided tours which you can follow and stop by all the highlights including historical sites, viewing points and wineries. This is a popular day trip option for people staying elsewhere. Arrowtown Bike Hire offers both full-day and half-day hire. They’re open from 8.30-5.30 pm daily. E-bikes are also available.
Lakes District Museum and Art Gallery research resources. Available Resources – Archives – A mine of information Lakes Districts Museum records are available for public viewing include: Please note: access to the archives is by appointment only.
Resources available for researchers include:
The journey is worth it.