In a country where the must-see list is already ridiculously long, visiting Arrowtown on New Zealand's South Island has to be on it.
This delightful village surrounded by the iconic South Island peaks takes on different personalities at different times of year.
It would be difficult to find more beautiful autumnal scenery than what you discover in the Central Otago region and in winter, a dusting of snow makes this historic former gold mining settlement quite magical.
Named after the Arrow River that winds its way through the valley floor, Arrowtown is about 20 minutes drive from Queenstown and 50 minutes from the stunning Wanaka. If you're on a road trip of the south, it's also easily accessed from Christchurch and Dunedin (via Cromwell).
Despite its compact size - the village is home to just 2600 people - there's plenty to see and do.
At the top of the list is dining. This little slice of rural delight is also something of a foodie haven.
Start your culinary journey just five minutes from town. Overlooking Lake Hayes is the beautiful Amisfield Winery (10 Lake Hayes Road) and its "Two Hat" Bistro offers a mouth-watering menu that celebrates regional produce.
Take a look at a sample menus here.
Slow cooked Titi "mutton bird", liver, pickled ferns, black truffle purée, horopito meringue and winter cress anyone? That's it below
If the muttonbird's not your fancy, how about fried Piper with bread, fermented seaweed butter, garlic, lemon and wild cress?
Here's five more wonderful dining establishments we'd recommend:
- The Millhouse Restaurant http://www.millbrook.co.nz/dining/millhouse/
- Saffron Restaurant http://www.saffronrestaurant.co.nz/
- The Stables Restaurant http://www.stablesrestaurant.co.nz/
- Bonjour http://www.bonjour-arrowtown.com/
- Postmasters Restaurant http://www.postmasters.co.nz/
The Central Otago region is also famous for its exquisite Pinot Noir so make sure to check it out while you're there.
To walk off some of the calories a visit to Arrowtown may leave behind, consider a round of golf at what is surely one of the most beautiful courses in the world.
Surrounded by The Remarkables mountains with sweeping vistas of Coronet Peak and the Crown Range, The Hills (164 McDonnell Rd) is the brainchild of New Zealand's jewellery magnate, Sir Michael Hill.
As if the stunning setting wasn't enough, Sir Michael's purchase of hundreds of sculptures – the incredible The Wolves are Coming from Chinese artist Liu Ruowang is 111 pieces for starters - that adorn the course make it almost otherworldly.
Cast iron horses are also featured sculptures at The Hills. Max Patte's 'installation' of five iron horses around the seventh tee - called The Frolic and The Fancy - is one of the more striking displays on the course.
Understandably, The Hills is often described as a "golf-meets-art" experience.
If wining, dining and/or golf are not your thing, Arrowtown offers no shortage of walking trails, cycling, shopping and even gold panning to enjoy.
This beautiful village is definitely a worthy entrant on New Zealand's must-see list.
Published under license from Well Travelled.