Exploring Arrowtown’s hidden treasures

There is much more to me than my public persona as a well-known economist. Alongside being a proud father of three energetic pre-schoolers, I am also an avid outdoorsman and the number one fan of Arrowtown’s backcountry.

From a young age I have always run – it’s a hobby that gives me space to think and allows me to explore sensational places where few kiwis ever get to go.

Recently I have begun training for an epic 165-kilometre race, with 11,000 metres of climbing, known as The Wild. The race will be held in December in the mountains in my backyard across the mighty Mahu Whenua conservation land which stretches between Arrowtown and Wanaka. The Wild is aiming to become globally renowned as one of the toughest footraces on the planet. For me personally, the allure of the Wild is the challenge – I want to put myself out there and test what I am capable of. Finishing will be satisfaction in of itself and anything else would be a bonus.

Now I know that running for a couple of days through the mountains might not be for everyone. But what is incredible about Arrowtown is that we also have a huge array of bite-sized trails which give you access to beautiful terrain with walks or runs of an hour or less. Many of these trails are approachable for people of all ages, stages, shapes, and sizes.

A few months ago, my mate Jimmy Sygrove and I had the pleasure of hosting Stuff’s Kamala Hayman to show her through the best of Arrowtown’s backcountry. This media famil was a great excuse to leave my economist’s ivory tower and get directly involved in supporting economic development in my hometown.

We are fortunate that some of New Zealand’s finest walks, trail runs, and mountain bikes leave directly from our wee village. One moment you can be brunching, the next running along a ridge towards a snow-capped peak, and a few hours later you can return to lick your wounds and debrief over an ale at one of our fine establishments.

If you want to experience a side of Arrowtown that will be unfamiliar to many of you then please take a look at Kamala’s article (republished here on Arrowtown.com).

Arrowtown offers a hidden treasure-trove of stunning backcountry terrain that won’t leave you disappointed! Who knows, if you ask me nicely, you might even twist my arm to give you a personal tour of my own secret trails…

Benje Patterson running in the hills behind Arrowtown with Jimmy Sygrove and Kamala Hayman