The Southern Alps and Fiordland: Places to Explore

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Arrowtown

Arrowtown lies northeast of Queenstown. Jack Tewa, or Māori Jack, as he was known, found gold along the Arrow River in 1861, and when William Fox, an American, was seen selling large quantities of the precious metal in nearby Clyde shortly afterward, the hunt was on. Eventually a large party of prospectors stumbled on Fox and his team of 40 miners. The secret was out, miners rushed to stake their claims, and Arrowtown was born. At the height of the rush there were more than 30,000 hardy souls in this tiny settlement.

After the gold rush ended in 1865, the place became another sleepy rural town until tourism created a boom. This village at the foot of the steep Crown Range, with weathered-timber shop fronts and white stone churches shaded by ancient sycamores, was simply too gorgeous to escape the attention of tour buses. It has become a tourist trap, but a highly photogenic one, especially when autumn gilds the hillsides. Each April, Arrowtown celebrates the Autumn Festival when the trees are at their most spectacular. On a stroll along Buckingham Street, you can stop in the old post and telegraph office, still open for business. Take time to explore some of the lanes and arcades, filled with cafés and boutique shops.

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