Once a booming gold town, Hill End today is a blend of heritage buildings and mine relics. The town is also known for being an artistic hub - Brett Whiteley, John Olsen, Donald Friend and Russell Drysdale all found themselves inspired by the village’s historic charm and landscapes in the 60s and 70s and an Artist In Residence program run by Bathurst Regional Gallery keeps the artistic energy alive and well in the town today.
Located 74km north (about an hours’ scenic drive) from Bathurst, Hill End makes the perfect day trip for visitors wanting to learn more about Australia’s gold rush or indulge in the beauty of the town’s historic architecture and landscapes. Or really set out to get to know the town and meet the locals, and stay at high quality accommodation including the perfect hideaway of The Guesthouse Hill End or Northeys in the heart of the village.
Things to Do
- History Hill (3458 Hill End Road, 02 6337 8222) is a private museum which has preserved the historic essence of the early gold mining settlement in Hill End with family-friendly activities such as gold panning and ghost tours.
- Pack a picnic basket and discover the beautiful views from Merlin’s Lookout. Overlooking Hawkins Hill and the Turon Valley, sit back, admire the spectacular views and grasp the true scale of mining that took place in the town. Adventurers can pack their hiking boots and add Merlin’s Lookout onto the end of the Bald Hill Walking Track, a family-friendly 4km loop that will take you through open woodlands, historic sites and a vast range of native plants and wildlife.
- If you’ve been inspired to create your own masterpiece, look no further than talented potter Lino Alvarez, who has called Hill End home for the past two decades after moving his studio, La Paloma Pottery (1 Thomas Street, Hill End, 02 6337 8333), from its original location in Sydney. His workshops run over three days, but if you are short on time, you can support the local art community by taking one the handcrafted pieces of earthen-ware home instead.
The Royal Hotel, one of only a few stores in the town, is also the only surviving pub from the gold rush era. Relax in the large beer garden with a cold brew or locally produced wine, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot one of the town’s local kangaroos.