Queenstown Hill, LOTR & Bungy bridge, Kawarau Gorge, Fruit Tasting, Old Cromwell, 45th sign, Wanaka township, high view over Lake Wanaka, the Wanaka tree, bra fence, Cardrona Hotel, top of Crown Range, and Arrowtown/Chinese Village.
Lord of the Rings and the Bungy Bridge
Your day begins with views over the world's first commercial bungy operation opened at the Kawarau bridge in 1988, and has been credited with pioneering Queenstown's reputation as "the adventure capital of the world." You can photograph this historic bridge and look down at the excited throngs of bungy jumpers, while we show you where The Gates of Argonath stood in The Lord of the Rings / Pillars of the Kings movie (this time you really are on a movie set!).
Travelling deeper into the Gibbston Valley and along the Kawarau Gorge, you'll gaze upon vineyard after vineyard; in a rugged setting that has lent itself to the production of award-winning Pinot Noir wine. As we twist through the gorge, the river rushes below, and on the banks opposite you will spot some more gold prospecting shacks clinging to the rocks near ancient goldmines.
Old Cromwell Town
We will arrive into "new" Cromwell which will make more sense to you as we detour into "Old Cromwell" and reveal the secrets that lay beneath the man-made lake and the Clyde Dam beyond it...a dam that divided a town and changed the landscape forever. You will stroll alongside quaint shops and galleries and view the historical ruins left behind, and we'll treat you to a classic morning tea - a hot drink, cheese roll and a slice.*
Cromwell was first walked upon by Maori traders and hunters, then European shepherds, gold seekers and dam builders. You will take in its wild hills and look onto the waters of the beautiful Clutha River and Lake Dunstan as we head towards our next destination.
Historically used by Maori as a pathway to greenstone sites and later by goldminers for accommodation close to Cardrona claims, today Wanaka has branded itself as a lifestyle reserve. Rich in family adventures, eco-tours, recreational trails and nearby ski fields, it is surrounded by huge mountains and massive glaciers. We will lead you to the Reflection Tree, which grows within the lake. It is obsessively photographed across every season, and you will see why.
Then you will have one hour of free time to wander Wanaka at your whim, maybe you'll look around the shops, sit and have an icecream by the lake, or go for a walk along the lake path? The choice is yours. We recommend choosing an easy lunch option from one of the nearby cafes and taking advantage of the views
The Crown Range
As we head back towards Queenstown, we will take the Crown Range home. As New Zealand's highest sealed road, the Crown Range is usually covered in snow in winter and boasts some incredible viewing platforms. You will step out and soak these up and grab a photo or three.
But before you do...we still have one famous stop to make. Built in 1863 to service gold prospectors, offering them accommodation, and a place to stop and seek refreshment, is Cardrona Hotel. It is one of New Zealand's oldest pubs, and possibly the most well-known (it has been much photographed internationally). Pop in and explore, and we'll shout you a beer or soft drink to enjoy in the beer garden or by the fire. You've worked for it.
Arrowtown Your day ends in historic Arrowtown; a site swarmed firstly by European gold prospectors in the 1860's, then by 5000 Chinese who were invited to try their luck among the leftovers! You'll walk among the tiny restored cottages of their settlement and wander down the main street of this exquisite little town with its charm of historic buildings that will make you feel like you walked onto a movie set.
Child booster seat available by request, please advise when you book
Capacity: 2 -11 passengers. Larger groups: We can cater for 14-17 passengers travelling in two vehicles, but we require 3 days’ notice for these. Please call us even if this is not possible as we will see if we can make it work
Please note: A minimum of 2 passengers is required for the tour to go ahead
Please be ready and waiting in the foyer of your accommodation 15 mins before the pick up times indicated:
Pick up time Queenstown accommodation - 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure time
Pick up time the Station - 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure time
Drop off time for ALL - can be up to 30 minutes past scheduled finish time
Historic images of locations you will visit
Images courtesy of the Cromwell Museum and the Ron Martin collection of historical Central Otago images
Check out some of the reviews for the Arrowtown Wanaka tours on TripAdvisor
Had a wonderful day with Wayne touring to Wanaka, Cromwell, Cardrona and Arrowtown and many interesting stops along the way to take in the sights and for photo opportunities. We stopped for morning tea which is included in the tour, at a great little place in Cromwell. We stopped for a while at Wanaka, then on to Cardrona and the historic pub which you just have to visit! It is a fantastic watering hole and we were shouted a beverage at this stop too!
Arrowtown is an historic mining town, now a very up market residential town. Here you can pan for gold in the river, see the restored Chinese miner's camp and learn a bit of their history. Can recommend the Bakery!
These tours carry only a small group, on this one max of 11 but we were five in our tour, which made for a great day.
Our guide Wayne was very friendly and entertaining, providing a great commentary of the places we visited. As we Aussies say, he is a great bloke!
I would highly recommend Wayne and his tours to anyone visiting Queenstown. They will pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation which is very convenient.
Visited October 2016
Booked a tour of Arrowtown & Wanaka to escape the business of Queenstown and wanted to get out and see the surrounding area. Our guide was Wayne who was very friendly, have lots of local tips and kept us well looked after. A highlight was definitely the Crown Range, covered in snow and then the beautiful town of Wanaka that has some of the best views ever. Fantastic day out that exceeded our expectations and would recommend highly.
We had limited time in NZ & thus, we did our research online prior to coming over. We booked the tour via email & the process was smooth & hassle-free.
On the day of the tour, we met Wayne who was our guide. Wayne was punctual, and best of all, he was warm & friendly, which made the tour even more enjoyable. We took the Arrowtown-Wanaka half day tour and with Wayne as your guide, one really can't go wrong. He was informative yet entertaining and he took us to the best places to see the sights in the short time we had. Definitely a plus in our books! :)