Big Hill Trail Time: 5-6 hours return Grade: Medium - High Fitness Gear: Full hiking gear recommended
This is a route rather than a well formed trail. The inexperienced tramper is best to access Macetown via the River Trail. This walk crosses private land. Landowner's property is to be respected at all times. Please remain on the trail. Strictly no dogs or trail bikes. Until the opening of the Macetown road in 1884, this trail was the main route over to Macetown. It often took days to reach the town battling harsh mountain weather and often an impassable track. Today the trail follows the old bridle trail and climbs steadily from Bush Creek for an hour to reach Eichardt's Flat where there are grand views over the Arrow Basin and Lake Hayes. Here the trail branches right to Sawpit Gully, but looking ahead two distinctive water races traverse the slpes towards Big Hill itself. The trail follows the races through dry tussock lands to a patch of mountain beech forest before climbing up to Big Hill Saddle, where Advance Peak stands out behind Macetown. From the Saddle drop down to the Eight Mile or Coronet Creek via a poled route. From here follow the road for a further 20 minutes upstream to Macetown or you can return to Arrowtown via the Arrow Gorge Road.
Arrowtown Random Fact No.1
Australia’s first saint, Sister Mary MacKillop visited Arrowtown in 1897 and set up a Catholic School. Part of this school can still be visited today.
Arrowtown Random Fact No.2
Arrowtown was originally known as Fox’s. named after William Fox an early gold discoverer. Then it was known as The Arrow and later Arrowtown.
Arrowtown Random Fact No.3
The first jail in Arrowtown was simply a log. You were chained up to it. The later stone jail still exists and is in Cardigan Street. It is New Zealand’s 4th oldest jail.
Arrowtown Random Fact No.4
The first Arrowtown School was in Buckingham Street and opened in 1863. It was on the site now occupied by the Oak development.
Arrowtown Random Fact No.5
The Maori name for the river is Haihainui which means ‘Big Scratches’.
Arrowtown Random Fact No.6
Arrowtown had four churches representing the early immigrant populations. Catholic, Presbyterian, Anglican and Methodist. All still operate today except for the Methodist Church.