Arrowtown is a charming and historic little community, situated about twenty minutes from Queenstown, New Zealand. It will jet you back to the 1800s. Here you can learn about the history of this gold mining town. You will also find art, shopping, and much much more.
The town gained global attention after being featured in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, some of which was filmed in and around Arrowtown. This popular attraction was one of the many stops on the Hop On Hop Off Wine Tour. CLICK HERE to read my full review. I actually did not drink any wine while visiting Arrowtown. I arrived too early for that, as this was my first stop of an all-day tour. There is something for everyone here. Shopping, history, art, restaurants and of course wine and beer tasting…all in a quaint and beautiful setting.
The Art of Arrowtown New Zealand
For this article, I have decided to feature the art of Arrowtown, because it inspired me. Touring the galleries was the perfect way to start my day. Stay tuned for my retail therapy article. As soon as I arrived in Arrowtown, I found the Birdwoods Gallery. Several impressive sculptures caught my eye. The owner Jack Stobart approached me. This was one of his works. A Zimbabwean born, New Zealand stone sculptor, Jack is from a family of artists and true art supporters. His parents Louise and Bruce moved to New Zealand with their three young children in 2004 and opened the first location of Birdwoods Gallery. It is situated on a rural property just outside the village of Havelock North. You’ll find more info about the original gallery on the website below.
I loved all of the large sculpture in the gallery. However, since I travel light (carry-on only), I bought a small cast bronze sculpture of a kiwi bird. The Kiwi symbolizes the uniqueness of New Zealand’s nature, so, it’s the perfect memory of our bucket list trip.
about Jack Stobart
Jack Stobart decided to open a gallery in Arrowtown during the pandemic in 2020. After embarking on a completely different career for several years, he decided to accompany his parents back to Africa for their annual art purchasing trip. He ended up staying and completing a full immersion stone sculpting apprenticeship, under the tutelage of renowned Zimbabwean sculptors. To this day, he is inspired by their work and sells the art of Zimbabwe artists at the gallery. Jack uses a combination of diamond grinders, pneumatic chisels and hand tools to create his sculptures. He mainly works in dense serpentines, marbles and granite. His works are available for purchase at the gallery, and they are quite beautiful.
Birdwoods gallery exhibits a variety of stone and metal sculptures, textiles, collectables, furniture, jewelry, basketry, rugs and ceramics. As it says on the website, each treasure sold in the gallery has a story behind it. Birdwoods Gallery, 18 Buckingham St, Arrowtown 9302, NZ; https://birdwoods.co.nz
The Lakes District Museum and Gallery
Located right in the center of town, The Lakes District Museum and Gallery has been around for over seventy five years. In addition to historic exhibitions (with an emphasis on gold mining), it also features the work of local artists in the gallery. The Lakes District Museum and Gallery, 49 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown 9302, New Zealand; https://www.museumqueenstown.com
I was close to leaving Arrowtown, but spotted an Open Art Studio sign. I just had to take a peek. Artist Jenny Mehrtens invited me in. Born and raised in Dunedin, she too was introduced to art by her family. Her work was playful, and cheery, yet pragmatic.
New Zealand artists that have inspired her include: Ralph Hotere, Tony Fomison, Dick Frizzell and Max Gimblett. Jenny’s art can be found in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, the US and Singapore. Jenny Mehrtens’ studio is located on Level 2, The Shed, 4 Buckingham St., Arrowtown, 9302, NZ; https://jennymehrtens.com
These are just a few of the artists of Arrowtown…visit the website for more info – https://www.arrowtown.com/
ETG also encourages you to visit New Zealand’s official tourism website – https://www.newzealand.com