24 Hours in Arrowtown


How would I describe Arrowtown?  It is the cute chilled out little village that you go to when you want some access to the amenities of Queenstown. But not the pace and frenzy of Queenstown. In short it is a mix of old world charm & access to some stunning activities and food.

Arrowtown is located on the banks of the Arrow river. Hugged on two sides by moutains and has a chilled out relaxed vibe. Even during the day when the town is bursting at the seams as seems to be the norm for any New Zealand town in the middle of tourist season its has a charm you can’t pass up.


Buckingham Street, Arrowtown (Old Mining Cottages)

It is known for it gold mining roots and has some of the best historical preserved buildings from this era. Just make a right off Highway 6 to find it.


You can not start the day right without breakfast. In Arrowtown the choice can feel a little overwhelming so we stopped at a place that we have been to before. One we keep coming back to time and again not only for the food but the atmosphere.
The Chop Shop Food Merchants is tucked up the alley off the main street.You have to go up some steep stairs that are tucked off the side of the alley on the right , the location might be hidden but shy it is not. (One of the only places I have found that cooks black pudding right and as a side dish to any meal for breakfast.) Check out their Facebook page for more menu details.


Main Street Arrowntown – You can see the sign for The Chop Shop in the middle.

Once feed and watered , you have a choice of various activities that you can complete in arrowtown or the wider surrounds (A car can be a must in this location) , but we are here to enjoy some more cycling and a chance to spend some time on the Queenstown Trail. This cycling trail passes through Arrowtown and is a joy to ride.  (Check out www.queenstowntrail.co.nz )

Queenstown Trail Map

We decided to head through Millbrook and down to the lower shotover bridge then cut back through Lake Hayes Estate around the bottom of Lake Hayes back through Millbrook as a loop.

Arrowtown Hill View copy

From Millbrook looking out towards Lake Hayes -NOTE:  If you don’t go woooooooo…….. screaming out loud as you free-wheel it down to the lake your doing it wrong.

The cycleway is well graded easy to follow and off road ( although it does cross a number of roads so you do need to pay attention at these junctions.) Otherwise it is plain sailing through hills and over bridges ( there are a number of swing bridges to cross if you go down by the arrow river and further along the Kawarau River.) The old shotover bridge is a great rest stop. You can watch the jet boats go by from a conveniently located picnic table tucked off the side of the trail.


Lower Shot Over Bridge , you can cycle over while the jet boats go by.

Gorge Arrowtown 2 copy

Kawarau River , there are a number of switch backs to get down the hill that are well graded and wide.

Having had a pleasant couple of hours riding and a need to kick back and relax in the early afternoon. We picked up a cream bun and coffee to go from the arrowtown bakery ( great pies! found at the end of the main street on the left) and venture off to find a quite spot by Lake hayes , the lake we had seen in our ride early that morning.

Lake Hayes is a no powered craft lake and is safe for swimming as a very shallow lake. There is a circle loop walk around the lake that according to the DOC sign will take you 3 hours , we decided to leave this to another day.


Lake Hayes from the North End Reserve

Lake Hayes is picture postcard perfect! we found the North End Reserve off the Arrowtown – Lake Hayes Road blink and your will miss it.

Now having spent a great morning and afternoon out in nature we retired to our accommodation to freshen up and think about what we were going to do with our evening.

Opening a bottle of wine (Gibbson Valley of course)  to enjoy on the porch of our room to watch life go by. We were lucky enough to be staying at the “Shades of Arrowtown” Motel. A very comfortable bed but even better a great warm shower with a good spray of water (note: the quality of the shower or bath is what makes or breaks accommodation in my mind)


View from the porch of our accommodation. NOTE – the lawn is as plush as it looks.


This motel is only 100 metres away from the main street but feels like it is tucked down a back street.

We decided as it was a lovely night and we fancied a pub meal , before setting off I made a quick roll on of Fern Botanicals Scent B -the fruit scent refreshes my mind and sets the mood as well as convenient for travelling with.

We set of for the Fork and Tap it has a wonderfully large outdoor garden to sit and eat in and watch everything that is happening in the village.IMG_2056

Having worked up an appetite , my hubby shared the potted pate with me. As a fish lover I had the Blue Cod ( which was very light , crispy and fresh!!!) Hubby had the venison which disappeared very quickly (not into sharing this dish). There is a good selection of both wine and beer available and service is prompt and efficient.

We deceided  after all this lovely food to take a quick walk along the river , 200 metres from the Fort and Tap is the  Arrow river walk and loop back along this to the Motel to finish off that earlier bottle of wine!


Arrowtown in the evening is a love spot to stop dine and relax.


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