- Complementary morning tea and afternoon beverage
- Comfy European tour van
- Professional guides with plenty of good stories
- Spend more than 4 hours out of the van to explore the amazing sites
WHAT TO EXPECT
Jump in our time machine and travel back to the happy days of New Zealand’s gold rush! Hop in our van and let us take you on a fun and interesting drive through four historical gold mining towns. On the tour, we’ll also see some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery. This includes the town of Wanaka which is one of the world’s top 10 holiday destinations.
It will be a day packed with history and natural beauty that you won’t forget anytime soon. Grab your shovel and come along – it’s going to be pretty epic!
Travel back to the Otago Gold Rush
New Zealand experienced its biggest gold rush in the 1860s. It took place in Central Otago on New Zealand’s South Island and it quickly turned the region into a miner’s paradise. From one day to the other, gold hunters from all over the world flocked to Central Otago in search of fortune and glory. Thousands of hopeful people settled in the middle of nowhere and built small towns close to the mines.
Within a few years, the Otago Gold Rush slowed down and many of these towns were eventually abandoned. Today, more than 150 years later, the towns haven’t changed much and largely look like they did back then. They’re still full of amazing stories, awesome atmosphere, and fun history. And guess what – that’s where we’re going!
Visit fantastic old mining towns
During this unique full day tour, we’ll visit four old historic mining towns. First up is Old Cromwell Town which was founded in 1862 when gold was found nearby. Take a walk through the charming streets and check out the town’s cute shops and galleries before we continue our journey back in time.
Our next stop is the town of Cardrona which is famous because of its vintage hotel from 1863. The hotel is one of New Zealand’s oldest and has accommodated hundreds of gold miners over the years. It’s said that the hotel’s pub is the most photographed in the whole country, and it certainly is worth a visit. Enjoy a refreshing drink and listen for the old gold hunters chatting in the corners.
Explore the set of a Wild West movie
We end this awesome mining town tour in the charming town of Arrowtown. The main street is full of awesome historic buildings that will make your imagination go wild. In fact, you might even feel like you’ve stepped onto the set of a movie about the good old Wild West. Watch out for drunken miners and galloping horses, there might still be a few around!
We also visit the Chinese settlement in Arrowtown. That’s right – the news of New Zealand’s lovely gold didn’t only attract Europeans. After the first European miners had their go, 5000 Chinese miners moved to Arrowtown to see if there was any gold left behind. Their restored huts have become a major tourist attraction in town and you’ll soon see why.
See New Zealand’s amazing natural beauty
In between visiting all these amazing mining towns, we also get to see some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery. We’ll drive past world-famous places like the Kawarau Gorge, the Wakatipu Basin, Lake Dunstan and of course fantastic Lake Wanaka.
With massive glaciers and the stunning Southern Alps in the background, Lake Wanaka is a New Zealand must-see. We’ll have a lunch break in town so you can go explore this magic place on your own. Grab a delicious lunch in one of the many cafes and go for a wander along the lake path.
Time and Departure:
- The Pioneer's Trail full day tour operates daily between 9am and 4.30pm .
- Please be ready and waiting in the foyer of your accommodation 15 mins before scheduled departure time
- Pick up time the Station - 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure time
- Drop off time for ALL - can be up to 30 minutes past scheduled finish time
- 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.
- Child booster seat available by request, please advise when you book at the comment box in the booking form.
- We provide pick up and drop off for selected Queenstown accommodation providers.
- Please note: A minimum of 2 passengers is required for the tour to go ahead.