We caught the first bus to Arrowtown, a little town about 20 minutes from Queenstown. Arrowtown first developed during New Zealand’s gold rush in the 1860s as the Arrow River nearby was rich in gold deposits. Today, Arrowtown is better known for the golden hues of its mountains in the autumn.
ST and I decided to hike Tobin’s Track, which was a “quick 35 minute walk up to beautiful panoramic views of this area” according to the lady at the tourist info counter. Note to self: the average grandma in New Zealand is fitter than the two of us combined (and we’re not in bad shape by most standards). The trek actually ended up taking us well over an hour. To be fair, we had far more photography and videography equipment than the average trekker.
After some enthusiastic whining (“are we there yet?”…”it’s got to be around the corner, right??”) we finally reached the lookout point. And the lady was right. The view was absolutely, mind-blowingly beautiful, and worth every bit of effort.
Click on the panorama for a full view:
Shout out to Tolkien fans: We met Bombur at the lookout point! Granted, it was a car, not a Middle Earth dwarf. But still. The car plate read “Bombur”. How do you not like a car called Bombur?
New Zealand is, more so than any other country I’ve been to, full of amusing car plates. This makes car plate spotting a petty fun way to pass time even when you’re doing something ordinary, like walking down a street. As an example of the memorable ones we spotted on this trip, one car that was lugging a boat behind it had the car plate “GNFSHN”. (Get it? “Gone fishing”.)
Make it a point to visit Arrowtown if you’re in Queenstown in the autumn, and do Tobin’s Track. It’s a very straightforward path with no navigation skills required. And don’t quit until you reach the lookout point. On a good day, you can see all the way to Lake Wakatipu and the sight is priceless. The view easily ranks amongst the Top 3 Views of our entire NZ trip. It was also a nice break from the typical tourist hangouts, as very few travelers seem to know of or take this trek – we most certainly didn’t encounter any along our trek. You just have to be ready to eat some humble pie when yet another geriatric couple wearing shorts and sandals pass you by as you bumble along in your poofy down jacket.