Try your hand at gold panning for alluvial deposits in the creeks surrounding Bathurst, Sofala and Hill End. Pic:

Bathurst and surrounds, approximately 280 clicks to the northwest of Sydney’s CBD, is ground zero for NSW’s mid nineteenth century gold rush.

Hill End, Sofala and surrounding hamlets were once bustling hives of optimism, drawing in punters from around the colonies and overseas.

Today, Hill End is home to just a handful of residents, tourist services and monuments to the gold fever of yesteryear. ‘Gold Country’ is about a four-hour drive from the NSW capital, and is well positioned for a weekend getaway for Sydneysiders.

Gold panning tours and museum visits are a fun novelty that’ll keep the kiddies occupied for a day or so, while the area’s lightly trafficked offroad tracks and campsites are the real treasure to be found in these hills.


4WDING: The Bridle Track is a cracker of a drive between Duramana, to the northeast of Bathurst, through to Hill End. It’s fairly sedate going for the most part, but the final 20km or so are only wide enough for single vehicle passage.

GOLD PANNING is perennially popular with visitors, and a great day out when accompanied by one of the local guides who are happy to impart a little of the region’s history to tourists.

Fossicking isn’t allowed within the Hill End town centre, but there’s a designated fossicking site just out of town down the Mudgee Road.


LOCATION: Gold Country is located approximately 280km northwest of Sydney and is around a four hour drive, via the M2 Motorway and the Goulburn-Ilford Rd.

CAMPING is allowed in the Hill End area at The Village and Glendora campgrounds. Both campgrounds offer visitors toilets and showers, picnic tables, fresh water and barbeque facilities.

FUEL is available in Orange, Bathurst and Sydney.

MORE INFO is available at

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