If you are traveling in the South Island at the end of April, you should certainly visit Arrowtown. Arrowtown is a small town close to Queenstown. It is famous for its autumn colours. This means that the trees in Arrowtown change colour to red and orange, making for some of the most beautiful views in New Zealand.
The Arrowtown Autumn Festival runs from the 23rd to the 28th of April, and attracts many tourists. In addition to beautiful trees, there are a number of events to attend. The opening ceremony will include a Maori cultural performance by the local school, can-can dancers and a highland bagpipes band. There will be a parade, a market day, a quiz, an art exhibition, a dog show, buskers, outdoor movies, and a community tree planting. There will also be a bowling tournament, a fun run, a scarecrow competition, a comedy show, and a circus show. You can also attend a vintage car and motorbike display, trapeze classes, tai chi classes, a photography competition and guided walks.
Three activities that might need more explaining are the duck race, the aerobatic display and gold panning.
The duck race involves putting yellow rubber duckies, a popular bath toy, into the river and betting on a duck. This is to raise money for the local rugby club.
Aerobatics is when small planes fly in exciting and interesting ways. This performance will be by Ivan Krippner, one of Australasia’s best aerobatic pilots.
Gold panning is the way that people used to get gold out of the river. It involves getting small amounts of dirt from the river and shaking it back and forth to find tiny pieces of gold. There will be an activity that shows people how to pan for gold, but it is unlikely you will find any gold.
The festival is also held on ANZAC day, so there will be a commemoration service to remember those killed in war.
There are a few historic villages in New Zealand. These are little towns that are preserved to show us what life was like a long time ago. Interestingly, in Arrowtown, there is an historic Chinese settlement. For one day, this village will be used to show what life was like for Chinese gold miners in New Zealand during the 1880s.
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