After descending the hair raising Zigzag there are more choices to be made. Continue on State Highway 6 and Queenstown will be your destination. Take a right hand turn off the highway and find yourself transported back to another time in Arrowtown.
Situated on the banks of the Arrow River, Arrowtown was founded in 1862 during the Otago gold rush. The population reached more than 7000 at its peak and hotels, churches and homes were built to accommodate those who came looking for riches. The historic buildings along Buckingham Street are now protected by a covenant preserving the old time appearance of the town like a living museum.
An avenue of trees was planted along Buckingham Street in 1867 in an effort to create the feeling of an English village. These same trees shelter the cottages along the street today.
Five minutes’ walk from Buckingham Street is St Patrick’s Church. In the Church grounds stands a small miner’s cottage, unremarkable except for the fact that Mary MacKillop, now known as St Mary of the Cross – Australian’s first saint, lived there for several months in 1897 while The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart established a school and convent.
You can pan for gold in the swiftly flowing waters of the Arrow River just as 1500 miners did more than 100 years ago, or simply sit on the river bank and enjoy the serenity.
Just remember, at the end of the day, you will need to drive up the Zigzag again!