Christine de Felice explores the beauty of Arrowtown in autumn.
Blending the history of its former gold-rush days and the spectacular beauty of its Remarkables mountain backdrop together with quirky style and sophistication, Arrowtown is the perfect getaway destination any time of the year… but especially in autumn.
In this mellow season the charming, tree-lined town not only presents its renowned, stunning palette of autumn colours, it adds an extra southern sparkle with the annual five-day festival, the Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival.
Launched over 30 years ago, the festival has become an iconic Arrowtown tradition, attracting thousands of visitors every year. This year’s event will run April 20-25, with Market Day on April 22, featuring arts and crafts from local artisans, a highlight as always. The Arrow Miners Band playing on the Old Red Truck and the Buckingham Belles Can Can will provide some lively entertainment, with other traditional events – including the Street Parade, Art Exhibition, Photo Exhibition, the Grand Variety Concert, the Vintage Cars, the Shotover Country Music Concert and the Arrowtown Entertainers Musical – offering plenty of variety over the five days. There are several events and activities aimed at getting the youngsters involved, too.
If you have never been before, the festival is a unique opportunity for you to be amused, surprised and entertained, and also to enjoy the local vibe and sheer enthusiasm of Arrowtown’s people, including the many volunteers that take great pride in putting their festival together.
WHERE TO STAY
Arrowtown has plenty to match the high-end choices of its glitzier neighbour Queenstown, but in a more tranquil environment. Stone House Cottage, for example, is a five-star luxury retreat in a historic 145-year-old storehouse.
The Arrowtown House luxury boutique hotel offers spacious, comfortable rooms and cuisine prepared by an award-winning chef.
Arrowtown Lodge B&B is a complex of luxury cottages in a gorgeous garden setting, while the luxurious Millbrook Hotel and Spa Resort has many additional facilities including the 18-hole golf course, a swimming pool, day spa and health and fitness centre.
WHERE TO DINE
Eating and drinking out is one of the great pleasures of any holiday, and with its more than 20 bars and restaurants, Arrowtown won’t disappoint. From pubs, bars and cafés, casual restaurants to ethnic eateries, and right up to top-of-the-range fine-dining establishments, there is something for any time of the day or night.
Of course, Otago is one of New Zealand’s most renowned wine-growing regions, so if you want to venture further, there are some 200 vineyards within a short drive.
Back at your Arrowtown base for a blissful day of shopping before heading home, you will find a diversity of fashion, décor, furniture and gift stores to browse through, so try not to max out the credit card!