After back to back Great Walks, I had finished off all of my goals for the south end of the South Island – Great Walks, Paragliding, extra walks…all finished! So I pretty much had a week or so to relax, kick up my feet, and enjoy the surroundings. As luck would have it, the weather decided to do nothing but shine sun on me for most of those days. It was cold at night, but the days were glorious.
So rather than relax in Queenstown, a notably non-relaxing place for me (too many people/tourists), I traveled up the road a bit to quaint Arrowtown.
Arrowtown’s main claim to fame was the gold rush era, over 100 years ago. While there is no gold mining in the area anymore (that I am aware of), it has become a safe haven for tourists wanting to escape the bustle of Queenstown while still being able to have some fantastic outdoor scenery for hiking. Which, naturally, I partook in!
My main hike was one called the New Chum Gully Track, one that climbed the ridges above Arrowtown. First though, was a crossing of the Arrow River, which was the main river for finding gold. You can still pan for gold today! I did not try, despite my success in Ecuador.
From there, it’s a steady climb up a ridge to get great views above the town.
The really neat thing with walking today was that snow had fallen on the peaks last night, giving everything an extra bit of flair.
The view from the highest point on the track was simply gorgeous. Little Lake Hayes can be seen in the distance, with Arrowtown below me and in front.
From that high vantage point, the track then twists down the back side of the ridge and into some forest. Now that the season is well into autumn, some extra colour can be found.
The last challenging part returns you down to the Arrow river itself, which slowly meanders through this little canyon.
Until you find yourself on the rocky Arrow River, very much at low levels compared to when a few days of rain has raised it more than a meter.
From there, I simply went back to relaxing in the numerous enjoyable cafes around Arrowtown – it’s population may not be huge, but it’s got a booming tourist industry now. Being only 20 minutes from Queenstown yet feeling a world away is quite the draw!