Day #86 - Gold Rush & Santa Dash

After a lovely quiet start to the day, we headed over to nearby Arrowtown. This very cute town was born out of the Otago Gold Rush in the 1860's.
In many ways, it reminded us of Columbia that we fully explored on Day #46. Despite Arrowtown catering for the modern tourist, it managed to retain its historic charm and have a good range of shops and establishments.
Just off of the main high street there is an area dedicated to preserving the memory of the Chinese immigrants that came to the area in the mid-1860's in search of gold with the intention of then returning home having made their fortune. However, their arrival was met with discrimination and prejudice. The Otago Provincial Government invited them to help revive the flagging goldfields, but also imposed discriminatory policies like a poll tax and restricted land ownership.
These recreated houses were very small and it is hard to imagine the workers living in such conditions but it does show how resourceful they were with so little. 
One feature of the town that made me think was this "historic" retaining wall built in 1887 (Butlers Green Wall). The accompanying plaque explained it was build to shore up the road as the traffic increased due to the town growing and it is now has a preservation order on it. The historical authorities want to show the skill of the builders who made the wall since it is still standing today. Now, back in the UK we wouldn't think twice about a wall about 125 years old, but history starts somewhere (or should I say sometime) and so this wall will no doubt become more remarkable as time passes and subsequent generations will see more value in it than I did!
The river that flows through Arrowtown, the one that provided the gold is Arrow River - you may recognise it. 
Okay, I may not have got the angle of my shot right since I didn't research the shooting angle before we went, but I hope you appreciate the effort! I think they were shooting downstream and I took my photo facing up stream.
Late afternoon saw us join the locals at the nearby golf club for a Christmas gathering. Our amazing hosts had got us tickets to this summer Christmas celebration which took some getting used to - seeing Father Christmas in brilliant sunshine, Michael Buble's Christmas album playing when it's beautifully warm!

It was lovely to meet other local residents (most of which had moved into the area from other countries) and to talk about international differences and similarities as well as exciting middle aged topics such as house prices, children's recitals and how lucky the younger generation are! 
I was also happy to educate them on the birthplace of modern day bungee jumping - not the popular bridge down the road in Queenstown as they had all been led to believe! James was very excited when he managed to charm some extra hot dogs from the bbq guys!
There was a nice "tradition" where the children would feverishly pursue Father Christmas around the venue as he scattered sweets for them to pick up. Good job Santa has trimmed down in recent years and looking more agile!
When we retired to the house, we were greeted by another lovely evening sky, framed by the still impressive mountains.