Stroll the streetscapes of a by-gone era and be transported to another time in the historic goldmining town of Hill End. Once a gold rush boom town, Hill End is now a heritage-listed historic site and a haven for Australian artists.
Gold rush history
In 1872, the largest gold specimen in the world – the Holtermann Nugget – was found at 2am in the Hill End goldfields. These goldfields became world famous as ‘the richest quarter mile in the world’ and at the peak of the gold rush, the town had 8000 residents, 28 pubs, an oyster bar and a kilometre of colourful and bustling shopfronts.
Some of the original shops still stand. Stop at the Great Western Store to see fascinating old photographs before grabbing a coffee at the General Store or outdoor supplies at Northeys Store. At the History Hill Museum you’ll also see rare artefacts from the 19th-century gold rush.
Explore mine relics on a guided tour of the Hill End Historic Site, where the streetscapes still reference their 1870s heyday. The self-guided Village walking track takes you on a tour of the town's colonial treasures. Visit the Hill End Heritage Centre, next to the General Store, for stories and artefacts of Hill End’s past.
Don a hard hat and head lamp and step into an original 1870s mine shaft at the Bald Hill Tourist Mine. Explore the underground world where gold miners sought their fortune on a guided tour. You can also try your luck and learn how to pan for gold on a gold fossicking tour.
Things to do
Autumn is among the best times to visit Hill End, when the town’s foliage is painted in bright, seasonal colours. Hill End’s striking landscapes have inspired many famous Australian painters, including Brett Whiteley, John Olsen and Russell Drysdale. Enjoy the scenic views at the Beaufoy Merlin lookout and Bald Hill lookout.
Take a tour of Craigmoor, Hill End’s grandest historic residence. Denningtons Cottage was built in 1858 as a miner’s cottage and is now a haven for ceramic artists. Beyers Cottage was built in 1850 by Louis Beyers, one of the miners involved in the discovery of the Holtermann Nugget.
Hill End is around four hours’ drive from both Sydney and Canberra, and just under an hour from Bathurst. You can also catch the train to Bathurst and hire a car.