Visit Arrowtown in autumn, and it’s easy to see why locals claim that the former gold-rush town still shines bright. As summer fades, its pretty tree lined streets explode in a kaleidoscope of reds, browns, yellows, coppers and of course, golds. So what does this mean for you? As well as serving up history, style and an inspired food and wine scene, Arrowtown is a post-card perfect destination for your next autumn getaway.
As for our dream itinerary? Read on for our insider’s guide to Arrowtown, covering where to eat, drink, stay, shop, explore and celebrate.
Artisanal at heart, Arrowtown is rapidly emerging as one of Queenstown’s most talked about ‘foodie’ destinations. Start the day at A Taste of Gibbston Valley, a boutique café focussing on local and organic ingredients. Enjoy a lazy lunch at Amisfield Winery & Bistro, just a five-minute drive from the town centre. Overlooking the shimmering Lake Hayes and back dropped by the Remarkables Mountain range, it’s scenic to say the least. On your second night check out the village for authentic Thai, Indian, French, Italian and everything in-between. Our final tip? Don’t leave town without a boxful of goodies from Patagonia Chocolates. Divine!
With its sun drenched outdoor terrace, Amisfield Winery is a fabulous place to soak up the afternoon sunshine. Sample some of Central Otago’s finest wines, and stay for lunch if you’re feeling indulgent. Then head to Gibbston, Queenstown’s iconic winegrowing region. Not to be missed stops include award-winning Brennan Wines, and the lovely Gibbston Valley Winery. Wind things up back in town with an evening at The Fork and Tap, a historic pub that attracts locals and tourists alike. If you’re into craft beer, this haunt is a must. There is also a great cocktail bar called the Blue Door, a locals secret. It’s not advertised and there is no signage but if you come across this bar during your trip it is well worth a visit.
Thanks to its gold-rush legacy, Arrowtown houses some of New Zealand’s best colonial architecture. For an atmospheric stay in the heart of the town centre we’re head over heels for Arrowtown House Boutique Hotel. We also love the award-winning Millbrook Resort, set on 500 acres of beautiful countryside. And of course, there’s always Airbnb. From charming historic cottages and pint-sized A-frames to eco-friendly homes and luxurious lakeside retreats, Airbnb unlocks access to some of Arrowtown’s best accommodation. If you’re not already signed up, check out our recent Airbnb guide covering how to use the platform. You’ll even score a discount off your first stay!
You simply can’t visit Arrowtown without a stroll down Buckingham Street. Lined with a colourful parade of shops, you’re guaranteed to pick up more than you bargained for. Choose unique gifts for your grandkids, or treat yourself to artisan soaps, candles, homewares and more. Fall in love with the fashion scene, spotlighting New Zealand wool and boutique outdoor apparel. Or, embrace the town’s history and pick up handmade gold jewellery, and locally sourced jade.
Winding their way past mountains, rivers, forests, and lakes, Arrowtown boasts some of Queenstown’s best walking trails. Choose from 15 official walks, ranging from hour long strolls to all-day treks. Autumn is gorgeous weather for biking, not to mention teeing off at the picturesque Arrowtown Golf Club or five-star Millbrook course. And if the autumn weather doesn’t live up to expectations, not to worry. Arrowtown offers a unique line-up of indoor activities, focussing on arts, culture and of course, food! Whittle away hours at the Lakes District Museum and Art Gallery, admire local talent at private galleries and catch a show at Dorothy Brown’s boutique cinema.
Running for more than 30 years, the Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival is a fiery celebration of the changing seasons. Every autumn, the town’s deciduous trees put on a mesmerising display of colour, which is bought to life with street markets, parades, events and more. If you want to catch the celebrations you’ll have to be spontaneous, because the festival winds up on April 25.
Looking for even more inspiration? Check out the official Arrowtown tourism website for a complete rundown of the best places to shop, dine, drink and explore. Or, if you have any suggestions on how to spend an autumn weekend in Arrowtown we’d love to hear them!
Photos courtesy of the Arrowtown Tourism Website.