The Arrow Anniversary Walk

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Read all about my walk on the Arrow Anniversary Walkway

This is a really lovely, short, flat walk around Arrowtown following the banks of the Arrow river front then downstream past the site of the old Arrow Quartz Reefs. This walk is actually part of the Queenstown Trail now. It’s only 4.2k and will take you around 1 hour to walk or 30 mins to bike it. I choose to ride on my e-bike only because I had it with us plus it’s quicker.

The Arrow Anniversary walkway was built by the Otago Regional Council in 1998 to celebrate 150 years of European settlement  in the area. It was also to help with public access to the Arrow River. On a hot day you will be sheltered from the suns rays by a forest of big Willow, Sycamore and Larch trees. 

It is said that somewhere along the Arrow Anniversary walk there are scenes of the Arrow River in the Garden Fields in the Lord of the Rings movie, see if you can spot them.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Arrowtown, South Island, New Zealand
        • Time needed: 1 hour walk, 30 min bike ride
        • Distance: 4.2 km
        • Difficulty: Very easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Loop
        • Elevation: Flat
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes, in the southern end of the car park or in Arrowtown
        • Dogs: Yes, on a leash
        • Mobile Coverage: Yes, very good
        • Last Updated: March, 2020
  • Track Highlights

    All along the anniversary walk you will find relaxing places to sit in the shade and enjoy a light picnic. On a hot day the Arrow River has the number of safe water holes to swim in, just ask the local kids. 

  • Track Quality

    Excellent wide flat track, perfect for bikes and walkers. On average the track would be 2 m wide. It could also become a little bit on the slippery side after a day of rain.

  • Hazards

    It can get really cold in Arrowtown all year round, so take a very warm jacket. Keep an eye on your kids in the river if they go swimming.

  • Transport

    Just walk to the beginning of the track from the centre of Arrowtown.

  • Water

    No drinking water on this track

  • Driving Instructions

    Make your own way to Arrowtown then just walk from town. There is a big car park at the bottom of town as you come in.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    Plenty to choose from in Arrowtown main centre.

  • Area & Track History

    The story goes in 1862 a shepherd by the name of Jack Tewa discovered gold in the Arrow River. When William Fox heard about Jack’s find in the Arrow River he headed off to make his fortune. 2 weeks later he came out with 40 pounds of gold, the rush was on. One year later over 1000 miners were working in the Arrow River Gorge. And over 500 miners were working up the Arrow River in Macetown.

    William Fox was given all the credit for the gold discovery and the town was named Foxtown but later on the name was changed to Arrowtown.

    In 1965 gold was discovered on the West Coast of the South Island. Almost overnight Foxtown turned into a ghost town. To build up the population of Foxtown, Chinese miners were invited into the valley. By 1870 gold had almost run out. The miners who stayed behind exchanged their pick and shovel for a horse and plough. Visit. Visit the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement for some awesome history of the area.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of the Arrow Anniversary Walk

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

Hope you enjoy my photos and description of the the whole walk below. Just click on the photos to enlarge them.

Point 1: Start of the Arrow Anniversary walk

To start your walk along the Arrowtown Anniversary walk make your way to the car park between the river and Arrowtown, then walk down to the rivers edge where we you will meet up with the track, turn right. 

Point 2: Walking in the shade

This section of the Arrowtown Anniversary walk you will be in the shade of the willow and sycamore trees and will not see much of the Arrow River until you reach the bridge.

Point 3: The bridge & signs

For some reason I decided to walk the Anniversary walk in a clockwise direction. You could walk in an anticlockwise direction by continuing down the river and crossing at the next bridge. But today I crossed over the bridge and turned right and continued along the Arrowtown Anniversary walkway. Once across the bridge there was a very good information board with a very detailed map and a number of tracks including the times and distances, a very good reference for walks in the future.

Point 4: Views of the Arrow River

This next section of the Arrowtown Anniversary walk was very enjoyable, the sun was out and the light breeze on my back to keep me cool. There was no shortage of excellent views of the Arrow River. There were plenty of opportunities to walk down to the Arrow river and remove your shoes and socks and have a little paddle for a few minutes to cool down. I just missed three boys on the other side of the river jumping off this high rock into a deep pool. With a little bit of luck I might catch them jumping off the rock when I walk back on the other side of the river.

Now I did stop for a few minutes to talk to a gold prospector with his small portable dredge in the Arrow River. He said he wasn’t having much luck today, but I don’t think he would tell me if he was making his fortune today, if he did, it might start another gold rush in Arrowtown!

Point 5: Second bridge

The second bridge, make sure you cross the bridge, otherwise you might find yourself sleeping in Cromwell for the night. This bridge was a little longer than the first and it was in a beautiful setting of Willow trees, just the place to sit down by the river bank and relax for 5 minutes.

Point 6: Half way

Halfway already? The walk was so interesting the time just flew by, what will I find on the last section of this Arrowtown Anniversary walk. So far I have only met two other walkers on the walkway, for a beautiful relaxing river walk in the heart of Arrowtown I was expecting to be shoulder to shoulder with people today. But I’m not complaining if it wasn’t for the gold prospector with his noisy petrol powered portable sluice, the only noise would have been from the wind in the trees and the sound of the Arrow River trickling over the stones.

All I have to do now is follow the track back to Arrowtown and time for a hot flat white coffee, maybe a small piece of chocolate cake to go with my coffee, would not hurt.

There was a really great swimming hole, a rope was suspended from the willow tree, so you could swing out and drop into the cold deep Arrow river, what a great spot.

Just before you meet up with the first bridge you crossed at the beginning of the walk, there was a family and two dogs enjoying a swim. I think the dogs are having more fun than the kids. The kids found the water a little too cold for them, but the dogs would not come out of the river until the lady gave them a strong command to get out. Happy days!

When you arrive at the first bridge you crossed at the beginning of the Arrowtown anniversary walk you have a choice of walking back along the river or you can cut up to the street on your Left and then follow the street back into town, either way you are only 5 minutes away from Arrowtown,

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