Arrowtown Chinese Miners Settlement...

Arrowtown Chinese Miners Settlement


14 Rankers Reviews

13 Face-to-Face

14 Heritage Attractions

10 Arrowtown

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Old Chinese miners hut


400 m return | upto 40 minutes return

At Arrowtown, over 300 miners settled in the cold valley, constructing stone buildings. By 1885 there were at least 10 huts and 2 stores. Some such as Ah Lum’s have been well renovated and evocatively cast us back to life in those times.


The start of the walk is signposted from the large parking area below Arrowtown, at the bottom end of Buckingham Street.


An even track winds through the gully with information panels and old stone buildings dotted amongst the exotic trees.

European History

Following the discovery of several Otago goldfields in the 1860s, many storekeepers became disgruntled at the flight of miners to the newer (and potentially richer) claims being broadcast by word-of-mouth on the West Coast. Remember it was the merchants, not the miners who made money from the gold. The Chamber of Commerce hit upon the idea of attracting Chinese Miners from Victoria to come and fill the gap. By 1871 there were 2641 Chinese miners and business owners in Otago.

Anti-Chinese sentiment started to bubble, as European miners became resentful of their separate ‘shanties’ and exclusive social nature. Local storekeepers were losing money, as the Chinese would prefer to shop at their countrymen’s establishments for staples like dried vegetables and rice whisky. Their predilection for opium and gambling reinforced the social divide and racism was rife.

Select Committee reports showed the Chinese were invariably law-abiding, industrious, frugal and clean. They often reworked the tailings left by Europeans and their diligence paid off - further fuelling resentment.


Feature Value Info


DOC Otago

Central government organisation


South IslandQueenstown RegionArrowtown


  • Walking
  • Heritage Attractions
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 14.

Liwen's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

Great place. Every couple of minutes a new bus arrives with tourists.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Oliver Schatz's avatar

Oliver Schatz


Ranking: 7/10

Interesting historical information about the Chinese miners and how the kiwis behaved towards the Chinese. The old houses are impressive. Cannot imagine to live like that!

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Felicity Fay's avatar

Felicity Fay


Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful location, interesting history, great walk/run, good facilities.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Sabine's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

Most people go to Queenstown, but when you are around the area you should definitely not miss out on this historical little town Arrowtown above it. It is a beautiful, nice little town and the people there are incredibly friendly.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

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Diego Pablos's avatar

Diego Pablos


Ranking: 7/10

We loved the Chinese Settlement, very well explained and gives you an idea of the historic chinese immigration to New Zealand. The town is very well preserved and it is worth a visit. Lovely walks and very good to stretch your legs after a long day. Better to go out of 'tourist rush hours'.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in December 2015

David Parry's avatar

David Parry

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Interesting to learn about the early settlers. Panning for gold was great fun. A lovely town, worth visiting.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Andy Jobst's avatar

Andy Jobst


Ranking: 8/10

Arrowtown is a lovely little town with an interesting spot about chinese settlers coming to New Zealand for gold digging.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in December 2014

Chris Wainman's avatar

Chris Wainman

United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Well worth dropping by to get a sense of history and conditions the Chinese worked under.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2014

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Linda Wainman's avatar

Linda Wainman

United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Informative and interesting, well looked after.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Anne and Steve Bartlett's avatar

Anne and Steve Bartlett


Ranking: 8/10

Interesting reading and seeing what like was like in the chinese settlement in the gold rush. Some of their houses and buildings were still there.

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Richard and Janet's avatar

Richard and Janet

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Fascinating early settlers place; a lovely spot and a meander around the old chinese settlement was informative and a real eye opener.

Reviewed about 10 years ago and experienced in February 2012

Howell Davies's avatar

Howell Davies

United Kingdom

Ranking: 7/10

A pleasant little walk with a few little huts to go in and ruined sites to see. Admittedly made better by the Lakes Museum which was $8 but great.

Reviewed over 10 years ago and experienced in February 2012

Des & Ann Bidwell's avatar

Des & Ann Bidwell


Ranking: 10/10

Excellent all round. Chinese Settlement very interesting. Also local display of patchwork quilts - super!!

Reviewed over 10 years ago and experienced in February 2012

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner