Arrowtown is is an old gold mining town rich in history, situated near a small creek (Arrow River) which was known as the richest smallest gold bearing river for its size anywhere in the world. You can still pan for gold at this creek for free. Note that the visitor center will rent pans to you. However, Arrowtown today is a collection of extremely nice upscale tourist shops and galleries. Everything from some of the best gold shops to jade shops to fur/wool shops are presented in this town. The main street is called Buckingham Street and is where most of the shops and galleries are located.
Arrowtown is a small town, one made for walking; its situated along just 3 or 4 blocks. The best and easiest parking is on the back street overlooking Arrow River.
Be sure to visit the partially restored Chinese Settlement – this gives you an idea of how rough life was for the Chinese people during gold rush days. Its a free tour and you walk on pathways among the restored/reconstructed buildings. Some of the actual shelters were extremely small & built right into the sides of the steep mountains.
There are many lodging options here – most are small hotels set in the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Be sure to reserve as during the height of the summer season you can’t find any rooms here. Several of the Galleries worth visiting are the following: The Gold Shop had by far the best collection of gold nuggets (small and quite large) and gold jewelry of all the shops I visited in the South Island. If you like
Jade & Opal Factory is also well worth visiting. A very large collection of New Zealand jade, both raw and carved stone. Located at 30 Buckingham Street, PHONE 03-442-1654
Gold Nugget is a very nice shop carrying a variety of low to high end tourist items. They have 3 levels full of neat souvenirs. If you are looking for very inexpensive souvenirs, try the back corner on the bottom floor – they have a little section tucked away called “clearance” or “discount” items. Located at 43 Buckingham Street. PHONE 03-442 1877 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several fine restaurants in Arrowtown. The author ate at Arrow Thai foods located just off the main street on 27 Ramshaw Lane. The cook appeared to be Japanese and the server was Chinese. Besides the fact that there didn’t appear to be any Thai people in the restaurant at the time, the food was in fact quite delicious. PHONE: 03-442 1115
The must visit Arrowtown tourist website is: www.arrowtown.org.nz