The Arrowtown Millennium Walkway was constructed in 1998, as part of the local council’s celebration of 150 years of Otago settlement by Europeans. And with the Europeans came deciduous trees. Today the town throngs with a melange of locals, mountainbikers and tourists, especially around the old Chinese Miners Settlement at the start of the walkway.
The popularity should not be a deterrent, as the chuckling waters of the Arrow River, the sublime colours of the foliage and occasional glimpses out at the schist landforms all blend to create a sense of place, which is uniquely Arrowtown.
The walk is best started from the parking by Dudley cottage and the Chinese Miners Settlement.
An information board with Arrowtown walks is by the toilets.
Follow the river downstream for 10 minutes and pass the bridge near the entrance to Tobins Track. This is where you complete the loop.
Continue downstream for 15 minutes passing the Arrow Quartz reef remains (little evidence) and cross over the next bridge.
Head upstream to complete the loop via Tobins Track bridge and back to the parking area.
The gold was initially formed around 200 million years ago when the schist metamorphosed from its raw ingredients under immense heat and pressure. Glacial episodes over the last 1 million years released the gold from its quartz tomb and ground it to pulp. Meltwater rivers later transported the fine material and deposited it in the river beds and terraces.
The historical note which propelled the Arrow Basin to fame was the discovery of gold in 1862. An ‘X marks the spot’ sign indicates where Jack Tewa (Maori Jack) found the first flecks, shining in the Arrow River. Two mining parties followed, one led byThomas Low and John MacGregor, the other by William Fox and John O’Callaghan. Both managed to keep the find under wraps. It was not until they had loaded over 120lb between them that the rush was on. A year later over 1500 miners swarmed the basin, including the upper settlement of Macetown.
The Criterion Quartz Mining Company was formed in 1864 with limited success, although the same reef was worked a few decades later by the Criterion Gold Mining Company with better returns. The shaft was over 30 metres deep and followed an auriferous reef. The tunnel is now closed.
By 1874 the twin town of Cardrona was also in boom times and the regional government were petitioned to construct a track over the Crown Terrace to the Cardrona Valley. The route of today’s track follows the old road, named after Thomas Tobin an Irishman who won the roading contract.
South Island ▷ Queenstown Region ▷ Arrowtown
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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 😍