About 20 minutes drive from Queenstown is Arrowtown, a historic gold-mining town nestled below the mountains. We parked down by the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement, where you can walk around the the partially restored village (around ten tiny huts) which was established in the late 1800s when the Chinese settlers came to the town to mine gold. It gives a really fascinating insight into their lives and the twins loved exploring the huts, and asking lots of questions about the settlement.
We walked up from the settlement into Arrowtown itself, which is centred around a main street lined with stunning heritage buildings that really invoke the gold-rush era. The town is full of independent shops, galleries and restaurants and is a great place for a wander. My favourite shop was The Stitching Post, a quilt, patchwork and craft supplies shop with a wall full of fantastic New Zealand yarns, and tables stacked with gorgeous fabrics.
Back down behind the carpark at the Chinese Settlement is the Arrow River, which provided the twins with a welcome opportunity for some paddling. It’s a beautiful spot, and one I really wanted to go back to again before the end of our trip, but sadly we ran out of time.
I was really taken with Arrowtown. I loved the sense of history, the shops all looked interesting (although with two four-year-olds in tow I didn’t get a chance to go into many of them), and the whole place had a laid-back charm. I hope one day I’ll be able to go back there.
Click here for more things to do in Queenstown when you’re four.