Just 20km northwest of Queenstown, at the base of the Arrow River, and easily accessible via Arthur's Point or SH-6 at Arrow Junction, Arrowtown is an old gold mining town, a real slice of New Zealand history.
Resembling a Wild West frontier town, Arrowtown has lots of delightful whiteboard buildings, with pretty, colonnaded shop fronts, ornate cornicing and a real 'gold fever' feel. Drop into the saloon bar at the New Orleans Hotel and sink a few tots of whisky, before venturing out on one of the many, easy rambles around the town.
The Lakes District Museum & Gallery is a great place to start any trip to Arrowtown, offering a geological and social history of the area, including some great photographs and model recreations of when it was a gold mining town.
Other attractions include a beautiful little cinema, 'Dorothy Browns', which lets you enjoy wine and gourmet snacks during film screenings, plenty of artisan shops and the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement. The Chinese Settlement is a free attraction that's a historic reminder of the 'forgotten' community and their contribution to the fortune of Arrowtown during the gold mining era. Situated at the entrance is Dudley's Cottage, a pretty cafe where you can try your hand at gold panning in the garden.
Although small in size, Arrowtown has plenty of places to entice your palate. There are a number of cafes dotted along Buckingham Street and Ranshaw Lane along witth a decent selection of casual and fine dining restaurants.
The Fork and Tap and New Orleans Hotel are decent pub dining options while Saffron, The Stables, Mantra and the Post Master's Residence are establised restaurants all situated on, or just off, the main high street. If you are looking for a drink away from the pub, try a glass of wine in The Blue Door bar just off Buckingham Street or, La Rumbla where you can also enjoy tapas.
Away from the town centre, keen golfers can enjoy a round at the multi-award winning Millbrook Golf Resort or at the locals' favourite, Arrowtown Golf Course, which offers lower green fees.
For lovers of the outdoors, try a scenic walk around the Bush Creek Reserve, or the Feehly Hill Scenic Reserve, both within easy reach of the town centre. There are also some great hour-long rambles along the Arrow River, or the various creeks and paths that circle the town.
Heading out of Arrowtown alongside the Arrow River, cyclists can pick up the Queenstown Bike Trail. This 100+km biking trail offers a number of trail options around the Queenstown countryside. Sticking on the Arrow River Trail will take you to the famous Kawarau Bungy Bridge and onto the wineries of Gibbston.
Skiers are well catered for, too. The nearest ski field is Coronet Peak which also offers night skiing, the family friendly Cardrona Ski Resort accessed by driving over the Crown Range, and The Remarkables ski field which is just past Queenstown.
If you want to base yourself in Arrowtown as you explore the Queenstown area, there are number of B&Bs, a camping site, as well as a few hotels. On the edge of town, you'll find the 5-star Millbrook Resort, with luxury accommodation, swimming pool, excellent golf course and a day spa open to the public.