Arrowtown is in a village in the Queenstown-Lakes region of the South Island.


Arrowtown is a picturesque gold mining town in the Wakatipu Basin. Set at the edge of the Otago goldfields, Arrowtown was one of New Zealand's biggest gold towns in its day. These days Arrowtown relies on its determinedly preserved heritage to attract tourists - miners' cottages, historic wooden buildings, tree lined streets and 19th century-style shops, still stand as they did during the gold rush.

It is a 20 minute drive from Queenstown, and is often taken in on a day trip from there. It also has its own accommodation and eating options, and can be used as a base for exploring or skiing in the region, if you are after a quieter alternative to Queenstown. It has a quiet village feel outside of the historic main street, and a number of the properties in the town are holiday houses for locals.


Arrowtown is believed to have been founded in 1862, when a rush to the district followed a rich gold strike by a prospector, William Fox. It is said that within a few weeks the first parties had taken 200 lb of gold out of the Arrow Gorge.

The mining settlement became known as Fox's, but soon afterwards was changed to Arrowtown after the nearby river (named the Arrow because its point of junction with Bush Creek resembled the outline of an arrowhead). With the exhaustion of gold the settlement declined. Arrowtown was constituted a borough in 1867. Its population dwindled to 171 in 1961, but has since climbed back up following the growth of tourism in the region.

Get in

Arrowtown is located on the banks of the Arrow River approximately 5 km from State Highway 6. There is also road access directly to Queenstown via the Shotover Gorge and a third route via the picturesque Lake Hayes.

Get around

Due to its small size Arrowtown is easily explored on foot.




Arrowtown features a number of small antique and craft stores to explore.


Arrowtown has some great eating places nestled on and just of its historic main street. The two best known are the bakery, which is famous for its gourmet pies, and Saffron, one of the best restaurants in the region.



Unlike Queenstown, Arrowtown does not have a large number of hotels. Instead it features a number of boutique places, including bed and breakfasts and historic cottages, or rooms in the historic New Orleans hotel for visitors to stay in. There are also a number of motels available, and the five star Millbrook resort and golf course lies just out of the town.

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