A nice circuit walk out the back of Arrowtown, taking in tussock country on Big Hill (1137m), & a section of the Arrow River and Gorge.
This was another great walk out the back of Arrowtown near Queenstown. The route first climbs steadily from the edge of town steadily to Big Hill Saddle, passing through a mix of vegetation including a pleasant stand of beech forest. Then it’s up and over Big Hill itself, with views of the region’s typically wrinkly, tussock grass covered topography that looks particularly attractive in winter lighting.
This walk has the added advantage of being a circuit, although note that it requires crossing the Arrow River three times. This could be dangerous or impossible after heavy rain. If this is a problem then you could return from Big Hill and it would still be a nice day out. Track notes at the end.
Big Hill – Arrow River Circuit: The Scenery
Starting at the car park near the historic Chinese miner’s settlement, and if walking clockwise, head off up the Bush Creek Track (part of the Sawpit Gully Circuit) and take a right up the hill on a section of the Te Araroa Trail. Follow this all the way to Big Hill Saddle, and then up and over the hill following a poled route. You eventually drop down to Hayes Creek, past a cottage, and the track becomes a bit overgrown in places. After leaving Hayes Creek the track crosses the Arrow River three times so you might want to just get wet feet rather than trying to change your shoes each time. It was about knee height.
From here the route follows a vehicle track until it crosses the river on a bridge, and then returns to Arrowtown on the Arrow Gorge Track, part of the same Sawpit Gully Circuit that you started the walk on.