In autumn Arrowtown truly comes into its own, as the leaves on the trees turn dazzling gold, red and brown before dropping to the ground in preparation for winter. Over the course of a few weeks in April the forested hill faces that overlook this tiny gold-rush town transform into a richly coloured backdrop and the always photogenic Arrowtown becomes breathtakingly beautiful.
Our favourite part of our favourite season is a community celebration that draws thousands to town over the course of five days. This year is the 36th time we've held an autumn festival and it will run from the 22 to 26 April. There's something for everyone, from the annual art and photography competitions to Pie, Pint & Pinot, an extremely congenial way to enjoy handmade pies, craft beer and local wine.
The locals' favourite is the parade and market day on Saturday 24 April, with busking, vintage cars, community floats and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
There's just so much going on: an outdoor screening of Shrek, competitions and workshops for the kids, and a fun dog show. There's the Roaring 20s Prohibition Party – complete with secret speakeasy – and a quiz night. There's a country music concert, a brass band and performances by the world-famous-in-Arrowtown Miners Band and Buckingham Belles. You can race our local trails on foot or race rubber ducks down the creek. Watch the experts compete in the New Zealand Gold Panning Championships before trying out panning for yourself. Learn about the past of our little town from knowledgeable locals in a historical walk.
This year for the first time, the local kids’ cricket club is fundraising with the Great Scarecrow Trail. Buy a map and walk around Arrowtown to find all the scarecrows. Each scarecrow is made to match a theme – guess what they are and submit your completed map at the end to go in the draw to win some prizes. This is a perfect family-friendly event to do at your leisure.
The Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival is an iconic New Zealand event with something for every age and interest. Many things on the programme are free while others are ticketed. For more information on events and ticketing links, check out the festival website.
Whether or not you can make it to the festival itself, make sure you don't miss autumn in Arrowtown. It's the perfect time to visit New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Small Town!
Register Here for access to our Trade & Media Downloads