There aren’t many places in Aotearoa I would call a treasure. For example I wouldn’t call Invercargill a treasure, nor Gore or its close neighbor Matarua. Bulls in the North Island isn’t a treasure, however one place that most assuredly is a treasure is Arrowtown. Another is St Bathans. I can’t quite describe what it is that makes Arrowtown and St Bathans a treasure, however if you ever drive through them, believe me, you’ll understand. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that places like Invercargill, Gore, Matarua or Bulls are bad places, far from it. I’m sure the people who live there are very happy and like the place very much, it’s just that I like Arrowtown and St Bathans so much more.
When it comes to places like Arrowtown and St Bathans, I think it’s the fact that they have a homely, timeless, old world character about them that is all together charming. I like the fact that in Arrowtown you can walk down the main street and it doesn’t take much imagination to picture what the place would have been like in the 1860’s. Gazing up into the hills, I almost expect to see prospectors appearing from beyond the ridgeline with all their worldly possessions slung over their shoulders.
It’s William Fox we can thank for Arrowtown. He was the man who first discovered gold in the area and started a rush that brought miners from all around the globe into the tiny village. If we could go back in time to 1862 and put William Fox into a Delorean, get it up to 88 miles an hour and bring him back to the present day, I’m sure he’d be mighty impressed. Not only would he be dazzled to be here at all, he’d also be fairly stunned at what Arrowtown has become. Or still is to be precise. It’s a quaint village with a population of around 2000 people that is filled by tree lined streets, cottages, a delightful shopping area and plenty of walking tracks along the river.
It had been a few years since I had been to Arrowtown, in fact it felt like it had been a few years since I’d been anywhere outside of Dunedin. While this wasn’t entirely true, I did find myself needing to go exploring, a road trip if you will. It didn’t need to be long, just a change in surroundings for a few days would do nicely. Fortunately, there was a long weekend coming up and this seemed the ideal time to reacquaint myself with Arrowtown or anywhere for that matter. As long as it wasn’t Mataura!