This guide brings together the elements that make Arrowtown so exceptional. From its origins as an 1860s gold mining settlement, to its current incarnation as a relaxing haven where you can relish the finer things in life in an exquisite natural setting, Arrowtown has an energy all its own. Stay a while, unwind, and recharge in this charming village.
Buckingham Street, Arrowtown
Stay in Arrowtown and take your time to explore
Base yourself here for a few days, explore at your leisure, and immerse yourself fully in the ambience of this historic township. The tree-lined streets are home to boutique accommodation options, from heritage-inspired stone cottages to a luxury eco-retreat.
On the outskirts of Arrowtown, Millbrook Resort combines five-star luxury with a commitment to sustainability. Recently awarded Qualmark’s Enviro Gold Rating, their sustainability initiatives include their garden-to-plate philosophy. Tuck into delicious meals made with fresh produce from their biodynamic kitchen garden and orchard, and eggs from their free-range chickens. Millbrook are also doubling down on the dawn chorus and making the resort a better habitat for wildlife by improving riverbanks and wetlands and planting native trees.
Stay in luxurious apartment suites in a historic stone cottage at the Arrow Hotel. The hotel won an NZ Institute of Architects Award for its thoughtful design, which showcases spectacular mountain views. The secluded suites include smart TVs, your own coffee machine, and a secret cupboard where you can order breakfast to be dropped off for a slow start to the day.
Discover the secluded stone cottages at Arrowtown Lodge, set in gardens full of birdsong a few minutes stroll from central Arrowtown. Built from local stone and recycled mud bricks, the cottages marry Arrowtown’s colonial heritage with modern comforts. Enjoy the peaceful setting and a home-cooked breakfast featuring fresh produce from your hosts’ own farm.
Smithys Smoke House, Millbrook Resort
Arrowtown heritage and boutique shopping
Arrowtown is a Tohu Whenua – a place where you can connect with the past and the stories of the region. It’s also a treasure trove of independent, locally-owned boutiques. Here are a few ideas for a pleasant day ambling between Arrowtown shops and Arrowtown history.
Start by sampling the many delights of the Lakes District Museum and learn more about Arrowtown’s stories, from the mighty geological processes that shaped the high country, to Māori settlement, the gold rush and European pioneers. You can round off your journey into the past by hiring gold pans and giving panning in the Arrow River a try.
Arrowtown clothing shops attract folks who appreciate New Zealand style. Te Huia is the home of New Zealand design with brands like Paula Ryan, Caroline Moore, and Standard Issue, along with designer jewellery and body products. Wallace & Gibbs offer New Zealand high fashion for men and women, with brands like Catalyst, Obi, Marilyn Seyb, and Cutler & Co.
Golden Fleece, 21 Buckingham, and WoolPress Arrowtown feature NZ made knitwear, leather goods and outdoor gear. Think brands such as Icebreaker, Earth Sea Sky, Merinomink, and Native World along with snuggly boots, rustic cowhides, sheepskins, and possum fur throws. For a sustainable, second-hand fashion splurge visit Bunnies, a designer consignment store, packed with pre-loved designer clothes, accessories and shoes in an adorable space.
Arrowtown’s alleyways are also home to high-end homeware stores, and quirky gift shops stocking local designs and sophisticated souvenirs. If you love antiques and vintage vibes head to Arrowtown Curios for antique jewellery, furniture, old prints, and unusual pieces to decorate your home. Attic Homestore is a hoard of vintage furniture, cushions and throws, lighting, modern design classics, and outdoor accessories.
If you’re looking for work crafted by New Zealand artisans, Francis Patterson stocks a carefully curated collection of quality homewares, gifts, beautiful wooden toys handcrafted in Dunedin, and cute kids clothing. The Opal & Jade Factory offers pounamu, paua, bone, opal, and pearl pieces, many carved by skilled craftsmen based in Arrowtown.
Buckingham Street, Arrowtown
Arrowtown art and amazing vistas
You won’t be surprised to learn that the beauty of Arrowtown makes it a magnet for talented artists. Explore the cluster of galleries and artist’s studios, before taking in the breathtaking panoramas that inspire such great works on one of Arrowtown’s many walks.
Nadene Milne Gallery represents New Zealand’s most celebrated contemporary artists. See work from Shane Cotton, Judy Millar, Fiona Pardington, Gretchen Albrecht, Laurence Aberhart, and Tony de Lautour. Arrowtown Gallery is the place to see work from artists Peter Beadle and Russ McLean, who both specialise in Central Otago landscapes, and New Zealand artists Steve Harris, Philippa Bentley, Anna Reid, and Ping Wang.
The back streets of Arrowtown are crammed with artists’ studios. Sculptor Fiona Garlick’s studio, the Little Hut Gallery run by Jasmine Clark who weaves basketry in wire, bull kelp and natural materials, and New Lands Art Studio displays paintings and linocuts by Natalie Newlands. An old church has been transformed into painter Graham Brinsley’s studio and gallery, where you can see landscapes inspired by the southern scenery.
After drinking in artists’ celebrations of the local light and landforms, it’s time to take in the surrounding landscapes for yourself. Arrowtown lies at the heart of a network of trails. Two of our favourite Arrowtown ambles include a panoramic vista and a gentle stroll along the river. Tobin’s Track is named for Thomas Tobin, who built the track as part of a route to Wanaka. Pass his cottage as you climb the steep trail up to Crown Terrace, where a bench has stunning views across the Whakatipu Basin and the mountains. While the beautiful Arrow Rivers Trail takes you on an hour-long loop along the river, through woodland, and past a waterfall.
Tobin's Track, Arrowtown
Eat, drink, and enjoy the flavours of Central Otago
One of Arrowtown’s many pleasures is its status as a fantastic foodie destination at the heart of Central Otago’s buzzing food and wine scene. Here’s a selection of some of our favourite Arrowtown spots to eat, drink, and indulge.
Fuel up for your Arrowtown adventures with brunch in one of the town’s quaint cafes. Provisions of Arrowtown is set in a historic miners cottage, where you can sit under fruit trees in their cottage garden. Open for breakfast and lunch, their all-day menu combines brunch classics like eggs benedict and French toast with salads and flatbreads. The sticky buns are iconic. For more breakfast inspo, check out our guide to Arrowtown’s best breakfast spots.
With award-winning wineries nearby in Gibbston Valley Wine Region, Arrowtown is home to two excellent wine shops if you’re looking for something special to add to a picnic, or even send home for your return. The Winery is an Arrowtown must do. Taste 80 New Zealand wines, eight rare New Zealand Malt whiskies, and mānuka honey, before choosing your favourites to take home. Arrowtown Wine Store has a fantastic selection of Central Otago wines, including small boutique vineyards, and regional craft beers. You can even fill a rigger.
The Winery, Arrowtown
Take home a taste of the region. The Remarkable Sweet Shop is an Arrowtown institution. Fill a bag with homemade fudge and nougat or sample the glass jars of nostalgic vintage flavours. Patagonia Chocolates Arrowtown make handcrafted chocolates for an after-dinner treat or a special friend. The Royalburn Farm Store stocks produce from the regenerative farm at Royalburn Estate, with seasonal fruit and veg, fresh and cured meats, eggs, and honey.
When it comes to dinner Arrowtown has a selection of exceptional restaurants, and a strong international influence. Aosta serves up Northern Italian food with ingredients like Bannockburn olive oil, Stewart Island paua, and Fiordland venison. Next door, family-friendly Little Aosta offers sourdough wood fired pizzette, hearty mains, and carafes of red wine.
La Rumbla brings the buzz of Catalonia to the main street of Arrowtown, serving up tapas, cocktails, and big flavours with Mediterranean influences and the freshest local ingredients. Vineyards with restaurants nearby include Amisfield Winery & Bistro and Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan.
Find more Arrowtown flavours in our Arrowtown Food Guide.
Remarkables Sweet Shop, Arrowtown. Credit: Clare Toia-Bailey
Getting to Arrowtown
Public transport will take you to and from Arrowtown. Hop on the regular Orbus service from Queenstown. Take the blue route from Arthurs Point via Central Queenstown to Arrowtown for only $2 with an Orbus Go Card. Check the Orbus schedule here. If you drive, there’s parking by the river reserve.
Our Queenstown stories are packed with ideas to inspire you to experience Queenstown, Arrowtown, and surrounds in a slower, more meaningful way. As you explore Queenstown, share your adventures with us on Instagram and #QueenstownLive.