Arrowtown │ New Zealand
After an evening spent sleeping in our car, at a small town gas station, we were thrilled to finally arrive in Queenstown. We spent most of our first day relaxing and catching up on rest. Our hosts were absolutely amazing, so we barely wanted to leave the comforts of their home! When we finally did get out of the house, we made our way to Arrowtown, one of the most picturesque settlements in New Zealand.
Arrowtown sits alongside the gold-bearing Arrow River. The town was established in 1862, during the height of the Otago gold rush. The settlement grew quickly as pioneers constructed cottages, shops, hotels and churches. More than 60 of these original structures can still be seen today. The gold days are long over (although you can still pan for gold in the river with some success), so Arrowtown’s focus is on hosting visitors. In April and May Arrowtown ignites with colour as deciduous trees prepare for winter. A festival is held in the last week of April to celebrate the town’s seasonal beauty and glittering history. Oh how I would love to see this magical little town in Autumn – looking at the pictures online made me wish that I could move there!
A special highlight of Arrowtown is the Chinese settlement at the edge of the river. Built by Chinese miners from 1868, this area of restored shelters and buildings paints a picture of earlier times. We didn’t spend too much time in the Chinese settlement but we did walk around for a little bit, and ventured into a few of the structures.
Arrowtown has a range of cafes, restaurants and appealing shops.
Everything about this area is quaint and charming. This is 100% my dream sort of area. The rolling mountains form a stunning backdrop behind the old-style stores and cafes. I think I might have been born in the wrong era because all of these excites me beyond belief!
A Red Payphone
In South Africa, we call a payphone a “tickybox”, and believe it or not, we still have quite a few of them around the country. Little man ran into this red booth and immediately picked up the phone, and then put it to his ear. Besides the fact that he looked absolutely adorable as he stood, as small as he is, in that big booth, we were surprised that he knew what to do with the phone.
Isn’t it crazy how many things will be different in his life, compared to ours. Even the fact that he was born in China, and will probably live in a number of countries over the course of his life, makes his life extraordinarily different to others. And also, his life is so different to ours in technological ways.
Maybe he doesn’t know what to do with that phone! haha
At least he knew what it was! He is a pro at FaceTime, so the concept of where to put your mouth must seem odd to him.
The Chinese Settlement
The Arrowtown Chinese Settlement is a historic village located in Arrowtown. It was set up by Chinese people during the Otago Gold Rush of the 1860s. The settlement is sometimes referred to as a village and has been restored and is now a common tourist attraction.
We entered some of the restored Chinese settlement huts, but there were a few Chinese tourist groups behind us… hahaha. Wanting to avoid feeling rushed, we only checked out a couple huts and then decided to head back to the main area of Arrowtown.
Lake Hayes is a small lake in the Wakatipu Basin in Central Otago, in New Zealand’s South Island. It is located close to the towns of Arrowtown and Queenstown. We didn’t do the Lake Hayes Walkway, shown above, but since we were passing the lake on our way back to Queenstown, we stopped to get out and admire the views over the lake.
A track called the Lake Hayes Circuit runs around the lake and forms part of The Queenstown Trail and is popular for use by walkers, runners and cyclists. As I have mentioned in previous posts, New Zealand has done an amazing job of posting signs around the country. I love love love the outdoor possibilities in this country. If we ever moved here, we would never be without places to explore!
The views around Queenstown are just incredible!
We thoroughly enjoyed Arrowtown, and we highly recommend staying for a while. There was a home-cooked meal waiting for us, so we didn’t stay for food. If wasn’t the case, I could see us spending all afternoon at one of those adorable old town cafes.