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Only two years after first farms were founded in area of Wakatipu was discovered gold in Arrow Creek. That was in 1862. First 1 500 people came to try their luck within just several weeks. Settlement was originally named Fox. Tents and shanties built on the river bank were washed away in a spring flood the following year. Some people died. Town was quickly rebuild on higher place.

First Chinese arrived in 1866. They left their home to try get luck and get off the misery. But only already abandoned mines left. They tried to found gold even in these mines. Often victims of discrimination they lived on the fringes of European settlements and in isolated gullies close to their mining claims.

At the height of the gold rush, Arrowtown's population grew to over 7000. City has it's own hotels, post office, school, bank and hospital. It serve's like center for others little mine's villages like Macetown, Skippers and Bullendale. They are ghost towns now. Arrowtown had population of 1689 in 2001. It is a historical town nowadays. The Lakes District Museum was established in 1984 here.

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