Arrowtown is the gateway to the Mahu Whenua parkland’s many walking tracks and routes, we are extremely spoiled for choice.
You can wander shady forests, walk around a mirror lake, explore deep into the rugged mountains or stroll beside the river.
We thought we would share three of our top picks, hoping that you find the time to at least experience one of them.
First but not least, and a popular one with the locals is the Sawpit Gully Trail.
A track that climbs steeply into the hills and offers mountain streams, waterfalls, historic sites and views of the Wakatipu Basin.
The Sawpit Gully Loop is a 2-3 hour loop, it starts from the carpark near the Chinese Settlement in Arrowtown. Look for a footbridge that crosses the small creek, and then signs pointing the way to Sawpit Gully. The loop can be done in either direction, but our preference is counter-clockwise.
The trail begins by following the Arrow River upstream with increasingly good views of the gorge below. As the trail climbs high above the river, a signed intersection points uphill to continue up Sawpit Gully, with the other option staying along the river toward the Macetown 4WD road.
Heading uphill, the trail gets much steeper as it climbs into the gully. In wet conditions, numerous crossings of the small creek are necessary. The climb continues into open, grassy country to the saddle between German Hill (which can be climbed via a short side trail) and craggy Brow Peak. Views from here are spectacular, encompassing Lake Hayes and The Remarkables to the south.
From the saddle, the trail heads downhill past the signed junction with the Big Hill Trail and through patches of native forest and exotic larch plantings. In autumn the larch takes on a brilliant golden colour, and makes Arrowtown have one of the better autumn leaf spectacles in all of New Zealand. The route continues downhill toward Arrowtown on a steep trail. After the intersection with the Bush Creek Trail, follow the dirt two-track along the valley floor back to the carpark.
Another favourite, but much quicker adventure is Tobins Track which is a 1 hour return (30 mins each way)
The short but steep walk rewards you at the top with spectacular views over Arrowtown and the wider Wakatipu basin.
Tobin’s track was originally built by Thomas Tobin as an access track to Wanaka and is now a popular walking and biking track for all ages, be sure to stop and check out the remains of the old family cottage of Thomas Tobin on your left on the way up.
Tobins Track entrance is at the bottom of Ford Street. A car park is located on the reserve. Take the bridge across the Arrow River and follow the track up the hill.
Then if you have some more time and energy in you, we would highly recommend continuing on to the summit of Mt Beetham, (929m) from the top of the Tobins Track walk. This is a newly established track.
To access the track, keep following the dirt road around the corner and you’ll find a poled route up this cone-shaped peak. The views on Tobins Track are beautiful, however the views at top of the hill are even more impressive as the extra 250m of grunt at the end makes a big difference to the panorama!
After your hike go and treat yourself at Provisions cafe- a beautiful historic cottage who make world famous sticky buns!