Wow! It is again hard to find words and the photographs fall far short of the beauty and wonder of today.
We drove to Arrowtown in the morning. The rolling hills and mountains were so spectacular. The shades of green are so hard to describe.
Arrowtown has to be one of the most picturesque settlements in New Zealand, Touristy? Yes. But in a very quaint way.
Jan and I walked through the town and, of course, went shopping. She found a great new rain jacket and I found an Icebreaker shirt I really liked
Then we went to the Postmasters restaurant for coffee and a fresh strawberry milkshake for me.
It was such a cute place that we decided we would come back for dinner after our day trip.
Arrowtown was established in 1862, during the height of the Otago gold rush. The settlement grew quickly as pioneers constructed cottages, shops, hotels and churches. There are more than 60 of these buildings still available to see. We walked around the town. These are a few of the old cottages. Some are now B&Bs; some are stores; others are residences.
Tree lined street was beautiful
We had not expected to spend so much time in Arrowtown because we were actually headed to Wanaka. Maaike had told us about a great hike that we wanted to do there.
We drove up through the mountains and looked back at Arrowtown.
We, of course, stopped at view points. It had become very windy so when we got out of the car to take photos, we were almost blown over.
The drive was breathtaking. We passed through Cordon and the ski resorts. There were 11 or 12 separate bridges that crossed the meandering Cardrona River. We finally reached Wanaka and stopped along the Wanaka River for lunch.
I finally got a photo of this bird but I have no idea what kind it is.
After lunch we rove out this long road along the Wanaka River trying to find the visitor center that was marked on the map. No luck. We reached an area where there were many cars parked. Jan and I realized that we were not going to have enough time to do the hike that we had planned because it was going to take at least 5 hours. Besides, it was straight up the side of a mountain with no shelter and the wind was really blowing hard.
We stopped at a caravan site and asked where good hiking spots could be found. She suggested the hike to the Diamond Lake viewpoint and even higher to see views of the Wanaka River. We would have liked to do the hike to the very top, but we didn’t have 3 1/2 hours. The hike we chose wouldn’t take more than 2 hours. Here are some of the views on the way and from the top.
The beginning of the hike was pretty flat.
Getting to the view-point was mostly uphill. We climbed over 250 steps and kept going up.
This is the view looking down on Diamond Lake.
And finally reached the views of Lake Wanaka….
…and the mountains in the distance.
We drove back to Arrowtown. A special highlight in Arrowtosn is the Chinese settlement at the edge of the river. Built by Chinese miners from 1868, this area of restored shelters and buildings paints a picture of earlier times. Approximately 8000 Chinese came to Otago Southland and West Coast goldfields. They came not as settlers but to make money and return home. Yet in 1870 these quietly resilient men provided 17% of the Otago Southland goldfields population; 40% of it’s minors; and for many years, produced 30% of its gold. There are many stories associated with these resilient people.
Arrowtown Chinese Settlement is a mute reminder and tribute to the contribution made by the Chinese goldminers and business people to the region’s goldmining, cultural and business history In February 2002 the Government apologized formally to the Chinese community for legal discrimination against New Zealand’s early Chinese settlers.
Before dinner we walked around the site. Here are a couple of the buildings that were left.
We wished we would have more tine to explore this site. But, alas, it was time to eat dinner. We went back to Postmasters Restaurant for my first domesticated venison dinner. Jan and I shared the meal and it was fabulous.
If I was ever to get back to New Zealand, I would actually choose to spend several days in Arrowtown. There are hikes all around done and we could have used at least a couple more days to explore the museums and the area around the business center.