12 Best Things To Do In Arrowtown, New Zealand

things to do in arrowtown nz
| 5 min read

The charming and quaint town of Arrowtown is located beside the Historical Arrow River. The river is famous for the availability of gold in its heart. This town is very famous for a day trip from the tourist-favorite Queenstown. Yet, the charm of this town cannot be cherished properly until and unless you stay here for a couple of days. For comfy accommodation, there are plenty of Airbnb vacation rentals awaiting you. You can also consider a cozy Bookabach holiday home for your stay and explore the impressive history of the town. Along with the history, the natural beauty of the nearby Arrow River, Coronet Peak, and Lake Hayes are also a gift for nature lovers. There are plenty of nature trails to take a walk, hike, or lose yourself on amongst the wild nature. Continue reading to discover the best things to do in Arrowtown, New Zealand.

1. Watch a movie at Dorothy Browns

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

One of the best places to visit in Arrowtown is Dorothy Browns, which is a beloved cinema and bar that offers a unique and charming entertainment experience. With its intimate setting, the cinema showcases a diverse selection of films, ranging from mainstream blockbusters and independent flicks to classic and arthouse movies, catering to film enthusiasts of all tastes.

Complementing the cinematic experience, the bar offers a relaxing ambiance where patrons can savor an array of beverages, including local wines, craft beers, and creative cocktails. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy a pre-movie dinner or unwind with friends after the show.

Dorothy Browns

Address: 18 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown 9302, New Zealand

Website: Dorothy Browns

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2. Shop for sweets at The Remarkable Sweet Shop

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Visiting The Remarkable Sweet Shop is one of the best things to do with the family in Arrowtown, which delights customers with its delectable and diverse menu of handcrafted confections. The shop offers a wide array of mouthwatering treats, with their specialty being fudge made from high-quality ingredients. Visitors can indulge in an assortment of fudge flavors, from classic favorites like chocolate and vanilla to unique and locally inspired options. Additionally, the menu features an enticing selection of chocolates, candies, toffees, and other sweets, catering to various tastes and preferences.

This sweets shop takes pride in its traditional recipes and attention to detail, ensuring that each treat is a delightful and unforgettable experience for both locals and tourists exploring Arrowtown’s charming streets.

The Remarkable Sweet Shop

Address: 27 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown 9302, New Zealand

Website: The Remarkable Sweet Shop

Opening hours: 9am - 5:30pm (daily)

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3. Explore the sleepy historic town on foot

Posted by Andrew Rowe on Saturday, 15 April 2017

Despite its proximity to Queenstown, this town is sleepy and quiet, unlike the vibrant and lively city. The best way to discover this town is by foot. The city was established in the year 1862, after that, this town witnessed the arrival of the gold miners and the European settlers. The old architecture is still visible in various parts of the town, along with new-age cafes, restaurants, boutiques and other attractions.

There are lots of walking trails spread over various parts of Arrowtown. The Arrowtown Millennium Walk is a 4.2 km (2.6 mile) walkway through the banks of Arrow River. On the way, pass through the site of Criterion Quartz Mining Company, the first quartz mines of New Zealand. Other famous walkways are the Bush Creek Trail, Arrow River Trail, Big Hill Trail, Hayes Creek Trail, and Lake Hayes Walkway. There are altogether 15 listed walkways to enjoy the calm beauty of the Arrowtown!

Arrowtown on Foot

Website: Arrowtown Walking Guide

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4. Hiking through the Sawpit Gully Track

The Sawpit Gully Trail in Arrowtown, New Zealand #newzealand #nzmustdo #queenstownlive #hiking #hike #trail #track #walking #autumn #leaves #golden

Posted by Curtis Simmons on Wednesday, 4 May 2016

If you are up for some serious walks through nature, try the Arrow River Trail, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Arrowtown, New Zealand. On this track, no mountain biking and no pets are allowed. You can only take a hike through the loop. After a charming walk by the Arrow River in an anti-clockwise direction, you will reach the Sawpit Gully stream. After reaching the Sawpit Gully, head uphill. The climb is to continue till the German Hill and craggy Brow Peak. Enjoy the spectacular views of Lake Hayes and the surroundings from here.

Hiking through the Sawpit Gully Track

Website: Arrowtown Hiking

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5. Try your luck at Gold-Panning at Arrow River

Posted by Judith Richards on Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Arrow River is famous for its gold-mining heritage. This gold in the river has attracted people from all over the world to try their luck. While in Arrowtown, why should you miss the opportunity to hunt for gold in the Arrow River? Gold-Panning is a fun activity in Arrowtown, New Zealand, that you can enjoy with the family. You can lend a pan to secure gold from the river and get guidance on how to pan the gold properly. After the whole experience, you can secure the ‘Arrowtown Mining Company’ certificate for gold panning.

Gold-Panning at Arrow River

Website: Arrowtown Gold-Panning

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6. Enjoy a wine and bike tour of the Gibbston Valley (from USD 82.0)

Posted by Queenstown i-SITE Visitor Information Centre on Friday, 5 February 2016

For the distance that cannot be covered on foot, biking is the best mode to discover places around Arrowtown. To taste the finest wine produced in this region, you can head on to the Gibbston Valley Winery. The ride starts from the Arrow River Trail, and then proceed towards the Gibbston River Trail and Bungee Bridge. The Gibbston vineyards are located across the majestic Kawarau River. A visit to the oldest Vineyard Home Block and the wine caves gives you special insight to the finest wines of this region. Finally, have a taste of the wines while listening to the stories of wine farming.

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Gibbston Valley Wines - Ride, Wine & Dine w/ Transport

Duration: 7 hours

6 reviews

7. Take a full day trip from Arrowtown to visit the Lake Hayes

Spring arrived early - Lake Hayes, Queenstown / Arrow town.
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jamie Wang used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Lake Hayes is located around 6 km (3.7 mi) away from the Arrowtown. You can follow the trails like Lake Hayes Walkway to reach this picturesque lake. Although the trip to the lake can be finished in a couple of hours, you can also spend a full day enjoying the beauty of the lake. Lake Hayes claims the honor of being ‘the most photographed lake in New Zealand’. You can bring your own lunch from the town and enjoy a picnic on the bank. Otherwise, you can also visit Amisfield Winery and Bistro for a mouthwatering lunch accompanied by wine tasting.

Amisfield Winery and Bistro

Address: 10 Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Rd, Frankton, Queenstown 9371, New Zealand

Website: Amisfield Winery and Bistro

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8. A taste of different culture: explore the Chinese Settlement of historic Arrowtown

Arrowtown Chinese Settlement
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Beast from the Bush used under CC BY-SA 3.0

During 1860s the Chinese gold hunters arrived in Arrowtown in search of the gold. On the bank of Bush Creek, the Chinese formed their own settlement. One of the most important Chinese figures of the Otago Gold Rush was Ah Lum. Today, this place is a well-known tourist attraction. The old cottages are restored these days; a walk through the Bush Creek will take you to the Chinese Settlement beside the Arrow River.

Chinese Settlement of Arrowtown

Address: Buckingham St, Arrowtown 9302, New Zealand

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9. The Lakes District Museum & Art Gallery for history and art lovers

Posted by Lakes District Museum on Monday, 19 November 2012

After a trip through the various parts of Arrowtown, if you are hungry for more stories of the historical gold hunting, head on to the Lakes District Museum & Art Gallery. Apart from the town’s gold-hunting history, you will get to know about the history of the Maori period and hear the stories from the era of European settlers. There is also an exhibition of old and new artifacts in various areas of the museum. If you are eager to collect any trinkets, head on to the attached book and art shop. The Arrowtown Post office is also operated from this museum.

The Lakes District Museum & Art Gallery

Address: 49 Buckingham St, Arrowtown 9302, New Zealand

Website: The Lakes District Museum & Art Gallery

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10. Want some more doses of the local arts? Try the Arrowtown Gallery

Posted by Arrowtown Gallery on Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Arrowtown Gallery portrays various kinds of artifacts created mostly by local artists. The gallery features both historical and contemporary arts. Apart from local artists, there are also works of artists from the other parts of New Zealand. The gallery also features several portraits of the beautiful landscapes around Arrowtown.

Arrowtown Gallery

Address: 8 Berkshire St, Arrowtown 9302, New Zealand

Website: Arrowtown Gallery

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11. Lastly, don’t miss a treat at the famous Arrowtown Bakery & Café

Zamora - The meat preachers bacon, Free Range Eggs, Fresh Avocado Flower, Arrowtown Bakery Cafe Wholegrain Toast and our special Herb Oil. Breakfast in Arrowtown

Posted by Postmasters on Wednesday, 16 December 2015

As you pass through the famous Arrowtown Bakery & Café, you will love the fresh smell of baking bread and goodies. This smell is sure to lure you towards some of the delicacies of Arrowtown Bakery & Café. The pies and pastries are the specialties here; try the steak and onion pie. If you are not in a hurry, enjoy fresh scones with freshly brewed coffee at a leisurely pace.

Arrowtown Bakery & Café

Address: 1 Buckingham St, Arrowtown 9302, New Zealand

Website: Arrowtown Bakery & Café

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12. Need a serious adrenalin rush? Try bungee jumping from the Kawarau Bridge (from USD 126.0)

Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge - the site of the first commercial bungy jump in the world.

Posted by Genalyn Da Costa Silva on Thursday, 29 January 2015

Located between Queenstown and Arrowtown, the Kawarau Bridge was the first commercially operated bungee jumping site in the world. It was founded by the adrenaline junkies AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch. Bungee jumping is a true test for your nerves. From the Kawarau Bridge, it’s almost a 43-meter (141 foot) drop towards the river, which is not essentially designed for the faint-hearted.

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The Original Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump in Queenstown

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

19 reviews

The town of the Arrow River....

The name Arrowtown is derived from the fact that the Arrow River flows like a shape of an arrow. This small gold town of New Zealand promises lots of unique adventure activities along with the charm of a quiet holiday. Take a walk or hike through nature, or simply enjoy the surrounding beauty sitting on the river bank; the town has everything stored for you.

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Frequently asked questions about things to do in Arrowtown

1. What are cheap things to do in Arrowtown?

If you find yourself on a tight budget during a holiday in Arrowtown and would like to explore some of the pocket-friendly activities that don’t cost much, you can explore the sleepy historic town on foot or visit The Lakes District Museum & Art Gallery for history and art lovers.

2. What are the best places to visit in Arrowtown for nature lovers?

If you are a nature lover and would like to spend quality time in the tranquility of scenic landscapes during your holiday in Arrowtown, you can indulge in some hiking through the Sawpit Gully Track.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Saptami's primary life mission revolves around the exploration of the uncharted. Following the completion of her MBA, she steered clear of the conventional 9-to-5 career path, prioritizing the...Read more

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