This historic gold mining town sprang to life during the 1862 gold rush, and it still retains the Wild West feel of a frontier town, even though it is inundated with day trippers and half the shops in town sell paua and jade souvenirs. It has a quaint main street with lots of little cafés, old wooden buildings and loads of character. Only 20km from Queenstown, it is probably the best preserved gold mining town in Otago and it deserves a visit, even if just for the day.
Coming and going
Orbus Queenstown bus route 2 connects Arrowtown with Queenstown with services running every hour.
The one-way fare is $5 for travel everywhere on the network (included buses between Arrowtown and Queenstown), but all routes are a flat $2 fare if you have a GoCard.
The GoCard is stored value smart card (similar to London’s Oyster card) that costs $5 and requires a minimum $10 top-up. It is available on board buses (cash only) and from O’Connell’s Mall kiosk on Camp Street and also from Queenstown Airport. It is definitely worth getting a GoCard, as you will recoup the cost with just one return trip between Arrowtown and Queenstown. GoCards can be also used on local buses in Dunedin and GoCards purchased in Dunedin can also be used in Queenstown and Arrowtown.
There is free Wi-Fi on all buses.