At the height of the goldrush, Arrowtown was home to nearly 7,000 people nestled on the edge of the Arrow River, while today it's a quaint little village with about 2,000 residents.
Although only a short twenty minute drive away from Queenstown or an easy 25km ride Arrowtown is a world away from the hustle and bustle of it's neighbour. Much of it's tradtional charm is maintained down main street including rails to tether your horse. But today gold brokers and banks have been replaced with swanky shops and high-end restaurants and family restaurants, appealing to all visitors drawn to the once-sleepy hamlet.
The museum at the end of the main street is certainly worth a visit to remind us of what life used to be as is a walk around the remains of what was the "Chinese" village during the gold rush days. A few stores offer gold pans for hire and a chance to give your own fortune a chance in the Arrow River that channels around the foot of the town.
Although much less than Queenstown there are many fine options for accommodation in Arrowtown.
Basing yourself in Arrowtown for your biking holiday is a great option. As well as the Arrowtown to Queenstown section of the Queenstown Great Trail being already ride-able there are a number of rides that start directly in town. The Anniversary Walkway is a perfect ride for any beginner or family or a place to get your bike legs back before a bigger journey. Alternatively, the ride into the deserted gold mining settlement of Macetown up the Arrow River is a classic mountain bike ride into stunning Otago scenery accompanied by a real feeling for the greatness of the history of the region.