Off-road to our Gold Rush Heritage

Did you know there is a deserted gold-mining town in the middle of remote Otago? See for yourself on this day Adventure, perfect for families and groups who want to get away from the tourist crowds in stunning Arrowtown.

Close to Queenstown, this tour is a good mix of bushwalking, off-road driving and – of course – gold panning. There are magnificent spots along the Arrow River that only locals know how to get to, and I’m one of them.

What a lovely trip this was. The surprise for us was setting up to gold pan and then turning around to see all the picnic items laid out across our small, private beach next to the river. Very much enjoyed the local stories and having the ghost town all to ourselves, no other people around! Would highly recommend doing this.

Don’t spend a typical day in Queenstown, come and spend it with me in Arrowtown’s wilderness. You will experience:

  • Local culture and shops.
  • Gold panning in secret, peaceful spots only locals know how to get to.
  • Macetown – the abandoned, historic village.
  • A gentle but rewarding hike.
  • History and information about the region.
From: $125
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Addons

“Goldpanner” Lunch (+$10)

A tasty and filling lunch prepared by my wife, including sandwiches, snacks and beverages. Please note any allergies and diet requirements at checkout.

Donate a trap

This may not be for you, but many are surprised that only one $45 trap can save up to 1,000 native birds in its lifetime. If you want to be part of New Zealand conservations efforts on a personal level then donate this trap. Your name and special Visitor number will be written on it so that we can record your traps contribution to saving our native wildlife. If time allows, you’ll even get to sign and set the trap you donate.

Airport pickup

Keen and heading out on your Adventure the moment you land into New Zealand? It’ll save you a lot on accommodation and we can arrange luggage storage. Your Bushman will message you for flight details and times.

Energy Snacks

If you need that extra boost during the day trip, it’s worth ensuring you have some high-protein snacks. We’ll have this sorted for you with NZ’s best energy bars & snacks.

Food or Allergy Requirements

If you have any food or allergy requirements your Bushman needs to know about, please add the details here. You can send more information on this via your dashboard once booked.

Summary
Tours to Mace Town Arrowtown New Zealand

Wild Ghost Town

Keith Milne Bushman Tours Profile Image 4WD with Keith

Duration

8 hours

Distance

25km

Difficulty

Charities

Map of Otago
Who's taking me on this adventure?

Keith

Let me show you some very special "off the beaten track" places in our beautiful southern South Island region. Having led tramping and walking trips in this region for over 45 years I have a good understanding of what makes a safe and enjoyable trip. My trips are at a moderate pace and allow ample time for photography and to fully appreciate your surroundings. I am passionate about protecting and enhancing our environment and volunteer with Predator Free Arrowtown, Wilding Conifer Control Group and the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust. I love sharing my passion for our unique landscapes, fauna and flora with visitors to the region. I have a modern, high clearance 4WD vehicle that helps with access to more remote areas and with snowy or icy conditions. My region is a land of contrasts. From the semi-arid tussock and schist rolling hills of Central Otago to the temperate rain forests, incredible towering peaks, glaciers and snowfields, waterfalls and crystal clear rivers of the Southern Alps.  

Experience

  • Worked in Ski Field management
  • Worked for NZ Land Search and Rescue; rescued people from the Routeburn track in winter on foot
  • Has traveled in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia (including the Tour Du Mont Blanc)
View Profile

Gear

All tours require the proper gear to ensure you’re having the time of your life, and are well prepared if things go south. It’s the real and rugged New Zealand out there!

Required

  • 750ml Water Bottle

    750ML Water Bottle

  • Day Pack

    Day Pack

  • Hiking Pants

    Hiking Pants

  • Inspect Repellent

    Insect Repellent

  • Rain Jacket

    Rain Jacket

  • Recreational Footwear

    Recreational Footwear

  • Sunscreen and hat

    Sunscreen & hat

  • Top Base Layer

    Top Base layer

  • Warm Hat and Gloves

    Warm hat & gloves (March to October)

  • Whistle

    Whistle

Optional

  • Cutlery and Cup

    Cutlery & cup

  • Hand Sanitiser

    Hand Sanitiser

  • Hiking Socks

    Hiking Socks

  • Lighter and Matches

    Lighter / Matches

  • First Aid

    Personal First Aid Kit

  • Torch and Batteries

    Torch & Batteries

Extras

There are add-on extras for this tour. These are the little things that’ll either make your Adventure easier to organise or more rugged - your choice. You can add these during the booking process.

  • Hike to old gold battery stamp

    We can visit an old gold mining structure not far from Macetown. A physically spectacular site, the four-storey-high stamper battery sits on the Otago hills like a giant coffee grinder. Half the gold produced in New Zealand was pounded out of quartz rock in stamper batteries like this. The short hike is a great way to explore more of the area and suitable for all experience levels.

    Free

Q & A

Your Bushman has added a couple of answers to questions other Visitors have asked in the past to help you with your booking plans. Once you book a tour, you'll be in direct contact with your Bushman for more support.

  • Will my children enjoy this?

    Yes, definitely! This trip is perfect for families and gold panning is always great entertainment for young and old alike. Just seeing the shimmer and shine of a gold spec brings with it so much joy. However, offroad driving is not safe for babies and toddlers - I am happy for you to bring children older than 5 years that do not need a baby seat.

  • My kids and I have never done offroad driving before. Is that a problem?

    Not at all. I know every trick there is to safely navigate our NZ rivers and 4x4 accessed roads, so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

    In my experience, visitors that have never done offroading before usually have the most fun on this trip as it’s such an exciting activity. I can also give you some insights on my 4x4 and river-crossing techniques to perhaps inspire you to take up the hobby one day, too.

  • What clothing do I need to bring?

    In summer, it’s usually hot and humid around Arrowtown. Breathable clothes and sun protection like a hat will help against the heat and is a must (you will burn out there).

    I always recommend bringing a rain jacket for the occasional shower and hiking shoes/boots, as we will do some bushwalking once we’ve reached the Ghost Town. Don’t forget your towel and togs if you want to take a dip in the river.

FAQs

Here’s a few answers to the more general questions about the whole journey. You can visit our help and support area for any further information or contact us via the chat function.

  • What is the refund and cancellation policy?

    Bushman Tours sets a standard cancellation policy that can be found via our Terms & Conditions. This is globally set at 48 hours notice. However, Bushmen may add to this depending on the requirements for the Adventure (e.g. - hiring gear and renting equipment on your behalf). The final policy will be located at the bottom of the checkout, or you can reach out to us to check.

  • What happens if the tour is cancelled due to weather?

    In most cases, the Bushman can arrange another day to run your tour, but this also comes down to when you're available if travelling through New Zealand. We recommend ensuring you have insurance for cancellation of any tours. If the Bushman has to cancel due to a health risk, we will call you to arrange another option.

  • What gear do I need?

    Although we have a minimum requirement of gear, you will need the right equipment and gear that is relevant to the Adventure you're booking. This is usually found at the bottom of each tour page, but for our minimum, please visit our FAQs & blog page.

  • Can I hire gear/equipment?

    In some circumstances, your Bushman will have equipment for you to hire. This is available to browse and book through the checkout. We may also have options through our checkout. Although you may be able to borrow gear during the tour, it's important to reserve it now.

  • What food shall I bring?

    Depending on the length, this can vary. Your Bushman will advise on the tour page what is recommended for this particular Adventure, but typically, what we offer at checkout via the add-ons section is what you'll need. Keep it lightweight and nutritious if you buy your own.

  • Where do I meet my Bushman?

    We always try to pick the closest iSite (Visitor Centre) to your Adventure's location. Instructions on precisely where to meet are sent after the booking is made. However, you can also message your Bushman and arrange another location as long as it's close enough to the region.

  • How much extra is it to add family/friends onto the booking?

    If you book and find that more people want to come with you, we can arrange to add them onto the booking (this is dependant on the Bushman's preference to the number of people to take out). The more that book on the original checkout option, the cheaper the fee for each individual - so spread the word before you go to book! Please note, you cannot add or bring extra people 48 hours before the tour starts.

  • Can I talk to my Bushman before the Adventure?

    Absolutely! Once you book, you will be able to login and chat directly to your Bushman through a private, secure chat. Here you can arrange some extras you would like to do, timings for pick up and much more.

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