Home' Open Road North Shore : OR1116 Contents since 1968, the centre of the village has been an historic precinct
under the care of the National Parks. This means Hill End won’t go
the way of Tambaroora. A nearby town that predates Hill End, legend
has it there was a lot of sneering from Tambaroora’s residents about
the smaller upstart to the south. But when the gold dried up they
downed tools and walked away – and all that remains of the once
thriving town, according to Chris, is a chimney.
Hill End is said to have had “the richest quarter mile in the world”
during the 19th century gold rush. The world-renowned 286kg
‘ Holtermann Nugget’ was pulled out of the ground here and there is
still a professional mining concern near Bald Hill Lookout. When Chris
takes us to one of the better known gold panning spots along Golden
Gully, my daughter finds a couple of rice-sized nuggets on her first try.
Golden Gully has also inspired artists over the years. Its orange
earth has the texture of a termite mound and rises from the creek
bed like the walls of a canyon, providing a sharp contrast to the sky
blue and leaf green backdrop. Natural arches over the creek bed give
it further architecture, and it’s pocked with ‘drives’, which are narrow,
claustrophobic shafts where miners would seek their fortunes.
When we depart Hill End the next day our destination is
supposed to be Sofala – Australia’s oldest surviving gold town
– but we’re forced to abandon those plans. The vile weather has
made a comeback and picking our way through Sofala in wind and
rain with little ones in tow isn’t very appealing. We may have only
sifted the topsoil on what this region has to offer, but it doesn’t
matter – we’ve got gold town fever. You can bet we’ll be back to
try our luck again soon.
Golden Gully’s rock
arches straddle a creek
bed rich in alluvial soil.
The world-renowned 286kg ‘Holtermann Nugget’
was pulled out of the ground here
WHERE WE DINED
ELTONS EATING + DRINKING
81 Market Street, Mudgee
Formerly known as Elton’s Pharmacy,
this historic building is now a hip café and
wine bar (pictured above). I could only
dream of fine vintages as we ate burgers
al fresco with the kids.
TWO HEADS BREWING
Old Crago Mill, 2a Piper Street, Bathurst
The ‘two heads’ are Greg and Cam Hedley,
the brothers that run this brewery and
eatery. It specialises in slow-cooked
meats, burgers and, of course, beer.
BUTCHER SHOP CAFÉ
113 Mayne Street, Gulgong
This former butchery has been converted
into a comfortable and inviting café. My
wife and I went there for brekky two
mornings in a row – enough said.
THE PRINCE OF WALES HOTEL
97 Mayne Street, Gulgong
This family-friendly (although not pram-
friendly) pub has everything you’d expect
from a bistro, except disappointing meals.
135 Kite St, Orange
I have a theory that
your favourite coffee is
only your favourite until
you’ve tried Bills Beans.
This Sydney roaster’s
product has been popping
up in country towns everywhere and is also
at this cool café in the heart of Orange.
HILL END GENERAL STORE
Beyers Avenue, Hill End
General is the word – this building dates
from the 1870s and is a café, convenience
store, petrol station and (on selected
nights) a restaurant that offers food far
better than anything else in town.
22 OPEN ROAD
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20/10/2016 10:42 am
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