The Sawpit Gully is an enjoyable loop track through mostly open country with a variety of scenery. Start from the carpark near the Chinese Settlement in Arrowtown and follow the Arrow River Trail. This climbs above the Arrow River before you reach the signposted turn off to Sawpit Gully.
Heading uphill, the trail gets much steeper as it climbs into the gully. In wet conditions, numerous crossings of the small creek are necessary. The climb continues into open, grassy country to the saddle between German Hill and craggy Brow Peak. Views from here are spectacular, encompassing Lake Hayes and The Remarkables to the south.
Once in Sawpit Gully, you wander along parts of a water race and piles of stone gold mining tailings are evident down near the creek. The vegetation changes vastly from beech forest to tussock covered slopes. Look for the remains of an old stone hut on your right on a grassy terrace just before you begin to climb out of Sawpit Gully. The cottage was home to a succession of miners and serves as a good place to have a short rest.
From the saddle, the track heads downhill past the Big Hill Trail towards Arrowtown providing magnificent views of the Wakatipu basin.
Duration: 2-3 hour loop
Best time to go: Year round
Location: Butler's Green, Arrowtown
Start/finish point: From the carpark near the Chinese settlement in Arrowtown
Difficulty: Medium to high level of fitness
Bike too? No
Insiders tip: Good hiking shoes recommended, may need to cross streams
This walk crosses private land so please remain on the trail at all times. Strictly no dogs or mountain bikes or trail bikes.
Make sure you're prepared before you go by knowing these five simple safety rules.