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Ten fascinating self-guided tours in the Victorian Goldfields

Posted 06/07/2020 in Things to do


Self-guided tours are a fantastic way to explore the history and features of Victoria's significant Goldfields region!

Explore the discovery site of the world-famous Welcome Stranger, the largest alluvial gold nugget ever found. Wander through abandoned mine sites and learn about the features and operations of their prosperous past. Take a signposted stroll among the region's beautiful buildings, gardens and bushland reserves.

Have a look through this great collection of local self-guided tours and start planning your next adventure in the Victorian Goldfields.

1. Jubilee Mine, Staffordshire Reef VIC

Jubilee Mine, Staffordshire Reef, VIC

The extensive ruins of the Jubilee Company Quartz Gold Mine are a fascinating place to explore! This significant site is nestled away within the beautiful forest of the Jubilee Historic Area, just half an hour from Ballarat.

A fantastic self-guided walk takes you around the site of the Jubilee Company Quartz Gold Mine. Features you will discover along the walk include battery foundations, engine beds, a water race, old mine shafts, surface workings, cyanide plant, tailings, old house sites and more. Illustrated signposts provide lots of information along the way.

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2. Victoria Hill Mining Reserve, Bendigo VIC

Victoria Hill Mining Reserve, Bendigo VIC

Take a walk through the Victoria Hill Mining Reserve and explore the site of Victoria's deepest gold mine. In the year 1908, the Victoria Quartz Co Mine had the world's deepest shaft at 1,365 metres. By 1910 the shaft had reached a depth of 1,406 metres! Many successful mines operated at Victoria Hill, one of the richest areas in the Bendigo goldfield.

Walking tracks take you on a journey through the area, taking you past fascinating ruins and relics. Lots of detailed information signs provide the site's history along the way.

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3. Malmsbury Botanic Gardens, Malmsbury VIC

Historic viaduct at the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens, Malmsbury VIC

Featuring a beautiful lake, walking tracks, informative signs, a fenced playground, and excellent picnic facilities, the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens is an outstanding attraction of the historical town. Take a stroll around the lake among the native and exotic plants, pausing to read the many informative signs throughout the gardens. The Coliban River runs along the western side of the gardens, and the impressive Malmsbury Viaduct stands to the south. The viaduct was constructed in 1859 and is one of the largest 19th century engineering structures erected in Victoria.



4. Dunolly Heritage Precinct, Dunolly VIC

Historic Court House, Dunolly VIC

The Dunolly Court House is a beautiful feature of this historic mining town, standing alongside a fascinating collection of restored police buildings. Information signs provide details about the court house along with the 1958 police station and the older 1863 lock up and police stables. A sign out the front of the Dunolly Court House displays a map of the town with a series of numbered stops, providing a self-guided tour of Dunolly's beautiful buildings, parks and gardens. 

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5. Welcome Stranger Discovery Site, Moliagul VIC

Welcome Stranger discovery site, Moliagul VIC

The Welcome Stranger monument and picnic area is a peaceful, fascinating and educational place to go for a barbecue or a picnic lunch. There is an intriguing bushwalk through the area where the famous Welcome Stranger gold nugget was discovered in 1869. 

The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk is 850 metres long, a half hour circuit track. The walking track travels around the surrounding bushland and takes you past many interesting examples of former alluvial and reef mining efforts. You will walk by the house sites of John Deason and Richard Oates (the two miners who discovered the Welcome Stranger nugget), puddlers, a Chinese grave and the site of a Chinese camp.

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6. North British Mine and Quartz Kilns, Maldon VIC

Quartz Kilns at the North British Mine, Maldon VIC

Spend some time in this gorgeous historic mining town exploring the extensive ruins of the North British Mine. There are two walking tracks from the picnic area, one is the Parkins Reef Circuit Walk (2.3km return), and the other is a short walk which takes you through the ruins of the North British Mine ending at the impressive Quartz Kilns. 

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7. Forest Creek Historic Gold Diggings, Castlemaine VIC

Forest Creek Historic Gold Diggings, Castlemaine VIC

Bring a picnic lunch and take an easy stroll through the Forest Creek Historic Gold Diggings in Castlemaine for a fun and educational afternoon. A 400 metre walking track travels in a circuit around the site past many points of interest and detailed information signs. An ancient river bed, mine shafts, the engine shed, water pipes and machinery are among the many fascinating features of this short walk. 

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8. Rise and Shine Nature Conservation Reserve, Strangways VIC

Rise and Shine Nature Conservation Reserve, Strangways VIC

The Rise and Shine Nature Conservation Reserve, between Newstead and Daylesford, is a beautiful patch of bushland with an educational self-guided tour. A walking track follows the path of an ancient river, and 21 numbered information points allow you to refer to your park notes (available in a container at the beginning of the walk) and learn about each feature. Discover native plants and animals, fascinating geological features, and the impact both animals and humans have had on the land.

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9. Australasian No 2 Mine Graves, Creswick VIC

Creswick Cemetery, Creswick VIC

On the 11th of December 1882 forty one men entered the New Australasian No 2 mine to work a seemingly ordinary Monday night shift. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, 12th of December 1882, water flooded the mine from the old workings of Australasian No. 1 trapping twenty seven of the men underground. Rescue efforts commenced immediately but by the time the miners were reached three days later only five had survived. The body of one man was still warm when it was recovered.

An A5 booklet titled Australasian No 2 Mine Graves is available for $5.00 from the Creswick Museum. This booklet provides a self-guided tour, showing the burial locations of those who were killed in the 1882 Australasian No 2 mining disaster and others who were associated with the mine. The booklet also includes a transcript of the funeral from the Creswick Advertiser, 15/12/1882.

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10. Garfield Water Wheel, Chewton VIC

Garfield Water Wheel, Chewton VIC

Visit the Garfield Water Wheel historical site in Chewton, Victoria and explore the ruins and remnants of the Garfield Company Mine. The massive stone supports which still remain at the site once supported an enormous water wheel with a diameter of 22 metres. Upon its construction the Garfield Water Wheel was hailed as the largest in the southern hemisphere! The water wheel was used between 1887 and 1903 to power the stamp battery for the mine. 

Today visitors can explore many fascinating features of the Garfield Mine site by taking a short self-guided walk which travels around the area. An information sign alongside the parking area provides a map and numbered features of the walking track. 

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