The walk up the Arrow River to the gold-mining ghost town of Macetown was a much-loved summer pilgrimage in my youth when we had a holiday cottage in Arrowtown.

Justine en route to Macetown

Macetown was first settled in the early 1860s as a result of the discovery of gold in the Arrow River. At first the rush was for alluvial gold, but later the miners turned their attention to the hills where several quartz-mining operations were established. When the gold ran out, the town slowly died, and by the 1930s Macetown was just a ghost town.

Wild raspberries on the track to Macetown

There are two ways to get to Macetown: the track up and over Big Hill or along the scenic Arrow gorge. The latter, described here, is a 15km easy route, a combination of a 4WD road and a foot track that follows the Arrow River.

Lupins by the side of the track to Macetown

If you visit in summer, set off early to avoid the midday heat, taking sun protection, water and lunch. In winter, check the track and road conditions, especially after snow or heavy rain which can make the route impassable as there are numerous river crossings.


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