For those fascinated by Australia's gold rush era, Hill End is an experience to remember. Wandering the streets of this remarkably well-preserved colonial goldmining town is like stepping back in time. There are underground mines to crawl through, old mine relics to discover and even the chance to find a gold nugget.
Gold rush history
In 1872, the largest single piece of reef gold in the world – the Beyers and Holtermann Nugget – was found in the Hill End goldfields. These goldfields became world famous as ‘the richest quarter mile in the world’. Don a hard hat and head lamp to explore the subterranean world where miners sought their fortune at the Bald Hill Tourist Mine.
At the History Hill Museum you’ll also see rare artefacts from the 19th century gold rush. Explore mine relics and try your luck panning for gold 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.
Things to do
Hill End’s striking landscapes have inspired many famous Australian painters, including Brett Whiteley, John Olsen and Russell Drysdale. See these views for yourself at the Beaufoy Merlin lookout and Bald Hill lookout, plus the rock formations along the Golden Gully walking track.
At the peak of the gold rush in the 1870s, the town had 28 pubs, an oyster bar and a kilometre of colourful shopfronts. Some of the shops still stand. Stop at the Great Western Store to see old photographs before grabbing a coffee at the General Store, and outdoor supplies at Northeys Store.
Getting there and where to stay
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. Places to stay include holiday cottages, campgrounds where kangaroos roam, and a classic country pub, the heritage-listed Royal Hotel, built in 1872.