What sets Peak Hill apart from the other gold mining towns in the area is that it didn't die out with the gold rush. The gold mine operated until 2002 and there's still a chance you might strike it lucky if you go panning for gold here. If not, explore the open-cut mine check out on the impressive fossil museum.
Things to do
Gold was discovered in 1889, with the Peak Hill gold mine operating between 1893-1917 then 1996-2002. The Peak Hill Open Cut Experience has free self-guided walking trails, but guided tours are available for groups of 10 or more. Walk across a section of the old mine via a bridge and look out over the open cuts from five viewing platforms.
Big Fish Fossil Hut holds a collection of fossilised creatures that lived across Eastern Australia hundreds of millions of years ago, including a 4.5-metre fish called Xiphactinus – a fierce bony fish that lived during the age of dinosaurs. There's also the skull of an ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Explore the area's natural beauty via the Burrabadine walking track, near the Greenbah campground in Goobang National Park. The 4km return walk winds through the Sawpit Gully fire trail to the top of the Burrabadine Peak in the Herveys Range – the views are beautiful and the birdlife is abundant.
The Peak Hill Flora and Fauna Nature Walk is a pleasant 1.4km trail through the Flora and Fauna reserve, where you can bask in the beauty of the bush. Keep an eye out for kangaroos and rock wallabies. Bogan Weir, just 7km away, is a picturesque spot for a picnic and also attracts avid birdwatchers.
Eat and drink
Get your coffee fix and light snacks at 86 Cino or Boomerang Café. Kezzaz Country Crafts doubles up as a tea house, perfect for a light morning tea if you fancy something sweet, and Woolshed Café serves up country-sized casual meals. The historic Clubhouse Hotel has lovely beer garden out the back.
Getting there are where to stay
Peak Hill is five hours’ drive from Sydney, around eight hours from Melbourne and four hours from Canberra. You can travel from Sydney by train, with a connecting bus, or fly into Parkes and rent a car for the 30min drive. There’s a range of places to stay, from caravan parks to motels and classic country pubs.