About 20 minutes out of Queenstown is a quaint, historical village called Arrowtown. It was a gold mining town in the late 1860s with European and Chinese miners settling in the area. The Chinese built a number of rudimentary huts that still exist and show how life was lived back then.

After the gold rush ended, a permanent town was established with beautiful trees planted to line avenues. Arrowtown sort of slumbered until the 1950s when it became a popular holiday spot for New Zealanders.

It’s a lovely little town to visit and certainly is very European-looking, especially boasting its colourful Winter foliage. Beyond this, it just reminds me of any other quaint, historic tourist spot. Sad to say I found it over-priced (as is Queenstown) and the service I received at one cafe wasn’t good.

Let me tell you about that. It was recommended we try Bonjour cafe in Arrowtown for our morning coffee. A French bistro offering up fresh crêpes, baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolat. El Hubs declared it to be pretty authentic – he lived in Paris for awhile and speaks French, so guess he’d know.

We had just left our fab hotel after a solid breakfast but I’m a sucker for a macaron so I ordered one. Well, at least in my mind I was sure I had ordered one. The girl who took our order was very clearly French and seemed to have trouble understanding our order. For example, El Hubs requested that his tart not be warmed – she responded what is warm? I have no problem with someone not speaking English well and asking for clarification. I know what it’s like to live in a country where you don’t speak the language (i.e. Italy).

I should have twigged when she asked me if I wanted ice-cream or cream with my macaron. I did think that a tad odd but thought it might be the French-style. Along came the tart but, ten minutes later, I’m still waiting. Very odd. Then along came a crêpe with pears (I think it was pears). The crêpes looked scrumptious but not what I had ordered, so I thought it was a mistake.

I spoke to the girl who looked confused and took it away. She spoke to a woman who was clearly the owner or manager – and she looked grumpy. Not apologetic; grumpy, annoyed. No-one came back to me to say hey, sorry about that, now we’ll go get your macaron. We all make mistakes but good customer-service really requires you to cop the blame and try to make amends.

We hung around whilst El Hubs finished off his tart, then went off to pay. I expected them to say something at that point or give me a macaron to take away but nope. El Hubs told me the girl was sorry for the confusion.

I guess it was just a one-off episode but these sorts of things can put you off a cafe, hotel or restaurant. One not-so-great experience and you think twice about going back.

Apparently, around 2,000 people live in Arrowtown and it certainly is the picturesque sort of place I’d like to live in. I suspect though that the town doesn’t see a lot of sun as it’s surrounded by trees and mountains.


Inside Bonjour cafe.


Gorgeous Winter foliage and quaint white picket fences.


Unfortunately, we visited on a gloomy day.


Beautiful tree-lined avenues.


The steps up to Dorothy Browns – a popular local cinema.


Gorgeous blue door down a small alleyway.


Amazing Winter foliage.

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