Some 20km from Cromwell on the road to the Lindis Pass (SH 8), the Bendigo Loop Road takes you to the Bendigo goldfields, one of the few successful quartz mining areas in Otago. Mining in the early years, from 1862 to 1866, was spent working the creeks for alluvial gold. Later, quartz reefs were discovered in the hills above and hard rock mining became dominant in the later years. The main area around Logantown and Welshtown was mined for about 40 years on and off, but if the Come-in-Time and Rise-and-Shine mines are included, the whole area was mined for over half a century. Dozens of crumbling stone cottages and huts can be found amongst the scrub or in the open, but the miners also left deep mine shafts and tunnels, so it is wise to keep to the tracks and watch your step on your explorations.
It is worth spending some time exploring Logantown, Welshtown and the Matilda Battery site. Most impressive is Aurora Creek, where the mines are high on the steep faces of a small kanuka-covered gorge. The narrow rock-walled drayroads linking the mines are immediately obvious. You will appreciate the tremendous effort that was involved in finding and winning gold from this rugged terrain. Also worth a visit is the Come-in-Time stamping battery in the Rise-and- Shine Creek. It is signposted off the Thomson Gorge Road. A brochure on the Thomson Gorge Road can be obtained from Alexandra or Cromwell Information Centres.
As part of the Gold150 celebrations Lloyd Carpenter guided a group around Bendigo – here is a breif video of the tour…
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