Much like Wanaka, I knew I’d fall in love with Arrowtown after reading up on this cute little Otago town situated approximately 15km from Queenstown. Upon first sight I turned to my friends Steph and Adele to ask “is this for real, this looks like something out of a fairy tale”. Yes it’s real and yes people actually live here. Oh what I’d give to live in a place like this.
My main draw to Arrowtown wasn’t the picturesque surroundings or the rich cultural history (the Chinese settlement from the gold boom is worth a gander), but in fact the food. Well, it wasn’t ALL about the food but like most things in my life, food certainly played a big part in my visit.
Sadly having a few too many tipples at my local establishment the previous evening meant that my food adventures weren’t enjoyed as much as they could have been but my find most definitely warrants a mention here. I had read about The Chop Shop Food Merchants in a cool little blog post on where to eat in the area which has become my bible. Chop Shop’s Insta-worthy food and inventive Asian inspired menu drew me in and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The girls and I had picked a glorious day to venture out and exposing the most bare skin since India, I stripped down to a T-Shirt! Boy, it felt good. Sitting outside on the Chop Shop’s balcony overlooking the shopping street below I ordered a peach and raspberry juice and the crispy beef cheek. It was particularly hard to choose as I quite liked the look of everything on the menu, no change there, but I decided to follow suit and order the same as Steph so I wouldn’t get food envy. This turned out to be a cracking choice as the melt-in-your-mouth tender beef cheeks were divine and the Thai sauce and sesame roti that accompanied can only be described as an “explosion of flavours”. Enough food talk now, you’ll have to try it for yourself.
There’s some lovely little shops up the quaint historic Main Street which has a small village feel and looks like something out of a movie set. Sadly I had no money to shop but judging by the houses in the area and the number of well dressed Chinese tourists around, plenty of people do. Arrowtown is certainly not pretentious though with plenty of families enjoying their homemade sandwiches or a takeaway pie on the beautiful green lawns dotted around town.
People were also down by the river which boasts a number of walking and cycle trails that I would like to work my way through when I find a like-minded individual to accompany me. Classified ad right there. There’s a few museums about the mining boom and the influx of Chinese settlers plus the chance to pan for gold, great for keeping the kids occupied.
After walking around aimlessly feeling pretty sorry for ourselves after the night before, it was time to hit the road again as poor Steph had work that evening. There’s a handful of Arrowtown eateries still left for me to try so no doubt I will be back on hopefully another stunning day. This is a place my Ma and Pa would love and I wish they were here to enjoy it too.