Hotels in Arrowtown, New Zealand
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Arrowtown, New Zealand: A town for all seasons
Established alongside the Arrow River during the Otago gold rush, Arrowtown is a picturesque holiday destination known for its well-preserved historic buildings, tree-lined avenues, and world-class walking trails made (even more) famous on the silver screen. Though summer brings many visitors to this part of Middle Earth, spring and fall are also spectacularly scenic, and the snow-capped mountains draw skiers here in winter. The town also offers one of the country’s best small museums, three top-notch golf courses, and some excellent shopping. Accommodations in Arrowtown range from luxurious boutique hotels and handsome cottages to modest motels and holiday parks.
Travel back in time, and find your fortune…
Though the gold rush days are long gone, Arrowtown’s colourful past lives on in its architecture. About 70 buildings and historic features have been carefully preserved since the town’s inception in 1862, and many, including its original Post Office, are still in use today. The Lakes District Museum, which occupies the original Bank of New Zealand building, offers an engaging array of hands-on exhibits exploring the lives of early Maori inhabitants, European pioneers, and the gold mining community. After touring the recreated Victorian schoolhouse and blacksmith’s workshop, travellers can hire a pan and head down to the Arrow River to try their luck. For most, the sole rewards will be photos and fond memories, but modern day prospectors can find pay dirt here yet; one hardworking local miner found $6000 worth in 2016. The restored Chinese settlement on the river’s edge is also well worth an afternoon’s visit; the highlight of the structures is Ah Lum’s Store, which also served as his home and the community’s bank.
Take a hike through Middle Earth…
Arrowtown is rightfully famous for the trails, tramping tracks, and cycling routes running through its stunning mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes. Its fifteen listed walks range from easy one hour strolls to arduous three- or four-day treks. The Arrowtown Millenium Walk is a popular entry point for sightseers who prefer a casual pace; the wide, gentle track runs for just over four kilometres alongside the Arrow River. Much of it is shaded by graceful willow, larch, and sycamore trees, and part of it is known to Lord of the Rings fans as the "Gladden Fields." More experienced hikers can tackle the Big Hill Trail, an old bridle trail which leads to Macetown, a fascinating and well-preserved ghost town. Ambitious hikers and drivers can also get there on the Macetown 4WD track; this challenging route crisscrosses the Arrow River many times, and offers very few bridges. Only the most seasoned trampers, however, should attempt the Motatapu Track, a gruelling, if also awe-inspiring, journey from Arrowtown to Wanaka.
Eat, drink, and be merry
Though historic downtown Arrowtown is known for its heritage buildings and handsome tree-lined avenues, modern luxuries such as free Wi-Fi hotspots, trendy boutiques, and ethnic eateries are a significant part of its charm. Travellers in the market for bespoke furniture or upscale housewares will find themselves spoiled for choice here, as would anyone with a penchant for fine clothing or jewellery. Arrowtown is home to the region’s only working jade carving factory, and also offers a handful of retailers devoted to jewellery made from local materials such as natural gold, paua shell, basalt, and New Zealand greenstone. After browsing the impressively extensive range of tasteful souvenirs at The Gold Nugget, which began life as the town’s general store in the gold rush era, sightseers can follow their noses (and the queue!) to the Arrowtown Bakery, locally beloved for its sweet and savoury pies. A top-notch sweet shop, traditional pubs, and some superb fine dining restaurants are also among Arrowtown’s options for hungry travellers.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall…
Arrowtown is blessed with four distinct seasons, each with its own unique attractions. Winter brings pleasantly crisp air, blue skies, and snow to the mountain tops, and Arrowtown’s situation between two of New Zealand’s finest ski destinations, Queenstown and Wanaka, makes it a popular base for relaxed winter vacations. Ski season extends into spring, which brings warmer temperatures, wildflowers, and golfers eager to tackle the area’s three excellent courses. The long, sunny days of summer are the best time to attempt the region’s most challenging tramping tracks, and are also ideally suited for biking the Queenstown Trail out to beautiful Lake Hayes. And last but certainly not least, fall in Arrowtown is called “the golden season” for the magnificent red, yellow, and amber foliage of its deciduous trees. Travellers hoping to take in the Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival are well advised to make hotel reservations in advance; tourists and locals alike turn out year after year for fun, family-friendly events such as the street parade and market day.
Price rangefrom $60to $1,483
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- Hotel The Arrow deals from $209
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