Celebrating Queenstown’s heritage

Posted by Travel News in Travel News
Monday, 3 September 2012
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The year 2012 is shaping up to be one for the history books for Queenstown, with the 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold in Central Otago and the 100th birthday of the TSS Earnslaw, affectionately known as ‘The Lady of the Lake’, on the calendar. 

The discovery of gold is a significant milestone in the region’s history and ‘Gold 150’ celebrations will be held throughout the district to commemorate the romance and adventure of the gold rush days.

In fact, it was the cry of “gold” in 1862 that had brought thousands of miners to the Arrow River, one of the world’s richest sources of alluvial gold.  With around 7,000 gold diggers living on the banks of the river at one time, the lively township of Arrowtown sprang up to cater to them.

These days Arrowtown’s population is far smaller but thanks to its carefully preserved heritage, its rich and colourful history is still very much alive, making it a must-visit destination.

Arrowtown’s 150 year Gold celebrations will take place over Labour Weekend (19-22 October) and include an Arrow River Re-enactment, the NZ Gold Panning Championships, Chinese Village Theatre with Dragon and Lion Dancers, Town Meets Country Day, markets, music and more.

Over the same weekend (19-22 October) Glenorchy will also be celebrating 150 years of settlement in the area. Glenorchy was established after the first European settlers arrived to farm sheep in the district. Soon after, an influx of gold miners set up camp as the Gold Rush hit the region. At its peak, Glenorchy was a dynamic town with 3,000 people.  

Like Arrowtown, Glenorchy is now a much smaller town but still a popular destination to visit with a strong history and many great attractions and activities.

Celebratory 150 events in Glenorchy include the TSS Earnslaw cruise via the Lake stations, Paradise Picnic, historic photo displays, a 1950’s old time dance, and ‘Glenorchy Day’ featuring a cavalcade.

A week-long calendar of events will be taking place between 14-22 October to celebrate the centenary of the TSS Earnslaw, one of the last remaining coal-fired passenger vessels still operating in the Southern Hemisphere.  Affectionately known to locals as the grand old lady of the lake, she’s one of Queenstown’s great icons and her deep, piercing ‘hoot hoot’ has become an integral part of the town’s fabric.

The week-long birthday party will include special lake cruises, period costumes, bands, entertainment, food and lots of activities for the family.  Key dates are:

·        October 18- Official Birthday -featuring a re-enactment of the maiden passenger voyage from Kingston to Queenstown –with options of a return cruise from Queenstown to Kingston, cruise from Queenstown to Kingston and coach back to Queenstown, or  coach from Queenstown to Kingston and cruise back to Queenstown.  Enjoy a continuous brunch, music and other entertainment. Staff will be dressed in period costume in keeping with the historic occasion

·        October 20 -The Woolshed Party, Mount Nicholas Station - cruise to Mount Nicholas Station on the far shores of Lake Wakatipu for a special 100th birthday bash. Includes a live band and entertainment in the woolshed

·         October 21- High Country Station Cruises- Queenstown to Glenorchy – trace the historical freight and mail routes followed by the TSS Earnslaw on its way to the Head of the Lake and Glenorchy. Enjoy the 1900s theme with entertainment, morning/afternoon tea and historians on board.


For more information check out:

Gold 150 celebrations: http://gold150.org.nz/

Glenorchy 150 years: http://www.glenorchycommunity.co.nz/2012/01/150th-glenorchy-centennial/

Arrowtown 150 years: http://www.arrowtown150.co.nz/



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