Hill End Historic Site

Overview

Discover life during the gold rush at Hill End Historic Site. Explore heritage buildings and mine relics. You can camp out or stay in heritage accommodation.

Read more about Hill End Historic Site

Step back in time at Hill End Historic Site and discover the enduring legacy of colonial New South Wales and the roaring early days of the gold rush.

Explore the town on a self-guided tour starting at the Hill End Heritage Centre, where you’ll find streetscapes and buildings with little changed since the village’s 1870s goldmining heyday. Public toilets and barbeque facilities are available throughout the village, simply follow the signage.

Join a tour of impressive Craigmoor House for an intriguing peek into the past, try your luck gold panning at the Fossicking Ground, and experience the subterranean world of a colonial goldminer on a guided tour of Bald Hill Tourist Mine.

Spend a couple of days uncovering the layers of history at this remarkable site, home to a thriving community and artists’ retreat. You can camp at one of two campgrounds or stay in heritage accommodation in town.

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/hill-end-historic-site/local-alerts

Contact

  • in the Country NSW region
  • Hill End Historic Site is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

    • Hill End area office
      (02) 6337 8206
      Contact hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am-4.30pm daily (closed 12.30pm-1.30pm). Closed weekends and public holidays.
    • Beyers Avenue, Hill End NSW
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See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Hill End Historic Site.

Getting there and parking

From Bathurst (allow 1.5hrs)

  • Turn off the Great Western highway onto Gilmour St at Kelso
  • Follow Sofala Road for around 45km
  • At Sofala, turn left onto Hill End Road and continue for around 37.5km to Hill End Historic Site

From Mudgee (allow 1.25hrs)

  • Head north, towards Gulgong on the Castlereagh Highway
  • Turn left onto Hill End Road and continue for around 69km to Hill End Historic Site

Parking Show more

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

By bike

Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Hill End Historic Site. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

With sunny, dry days and crisp evenings, it's a great time of year for a camping holiday at Hill End – head to the Village campground or the larger Glendora campground. You could even sign up as a campground host.

Spring

Flowers are at their best this time of the year - enjoy cherry blossoms and blooms in the historic cottage gardens.

Winter

The winter light is renowned among artists and photographers - you may even get some shots of snow .

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

15°C and 27°C

Highest recorded

40.1°C

Winter temperature

Average

1°C and 15°C

Lowest recorded

-8.9°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

January

Driest month

April and May

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

108.7mm

Facilities

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

Please note that uncovered mine shafts exist throughout the Hill End area and unstable creek banks and tunnels exist in a number of areas, especially at Golden Gully. Particular care should be taken when walking at night as there is no street lighting in the area, so please be sure to carry a torch.

It can get very cold at Hill End, especially outside the summer period, so come prepared with warm clothing and rain gear.

Petrol, diesel, ice and groceries are available at the General Store.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Prohibited

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Mudgee (71 km)

Set in the Cudgegong River valley in Central West NSW, Mudgee is a charming historic town and a popular destination for wine enthusiasts keen to sample its award-winning reds and whites. From its many wineries and national parks to markets, festivals and activities for the kids, Mudgee has much to offer.

www.visitnsw.com

Bathurst (80 km)

Within a 70-km radius of Bathurst are the spectacular limestone cave systems -Abercrombie and Jenolan caves - which you can explore safely on guided tours.

www.visitnsw.com

Orange (135 km)

The bustling city of Orange, with its many cafes, restaurants and shopping opportunities, has something for everyone, plus there's a huge range of places to stay. The real highlight is the town's food and wine, so bring your thirst and your appetite.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Hill End Historic Site is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

A past to cherish

Beyers Cottage, Hill End Historic Site. Photo: John Spencer

Artists have long gravitated to picturesque Hill End. Since the Second World War the scarred landscape has drawn artists such as Russell Drysdale, Donald Friend, John Olsen and Brett Whiteley to capture the striking scenery on canvas. The Hill End Artist in Residence Program is run by Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and continues this tradition, offering contemporary artists an opportunity to make the pilgrimage to Hill End. Take a walk in the same landscape that has moved so many artists. Please note: Selected works from the program previously on display at the Jean Bellette Gallery in the Visitor’s Centre, will be re-located to a new venue at a date to be advised. 

The gold rush hit nearby Bathurst in 1851 and Hill End, swept up in the frenzy, was settled in 1852. It wasn’t until almost 20 years later, however, that large-scale mining began. After most of the mining population had moved on, it was the Gold Centenary Celebrations in 1951 that were the catalyst for Hill End being recognised for its significant heritage value.

  • Cornish Quartz roasting pits The quartz roasting pits are a short drive from Hill End and are a significant historical remnant of Australia’s earlier mining heritage.
  • Denningtons Cottage Denningtons Cottage is a heritage miner’s cottage built in 1858 in Hill End, and now home to ceramic artist studio.
  • Hill End Heritage Centre Hill End Heritage Centre's interactive museum displays and historic information are the perfect introduction to any visit to Hill End Historic Site.

Mine for gold

Royal Hotel, Hill End Historic Site. Photo: John Spencer

Ever wondered how gold is separated from the rock it’s found in? Or want to know what a steam boiler or battery stamp’s used for? Hill End is full of places where you can learn all about mining gold. Visit the Colonial Gold Mining Company’s roasting kilns and battery buildings, enjoy a barbeque at the grounds of the Historic Hill End Hospital, check out the impressive collection of carriages and work machinery from the gold rush era housed close by, and don’t forget to book one of the many tours available while you’re there to make the most of your visit.

  • Bald Hill tourist mine Experience the underground world of a goldminer at Bald Hill tourist mine. A short walk or drive from Hill End, this guided tour is ideal for families and school groups.
  • Beaufoy Merlin lookout Beaufoy Merlin lookout offers spectacular views and an excellent vantage point to see the true scale of former mining activities. It’s also great for photography.
  • Hill End Heritage Centre Hill End Heritage Centre's interactive museum displays and historic information are the perfect introduction to any visit to Hill End Historic Site.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Superb fairy wren. Photo: Ingo Oeland

    Superb fairy wren (Malurus cyaneus)

    The striking blue and black plumage of the adult male superb fairy wren makes for colourful bird watching across south-eastern Australia. The sociable superb fairy wrens, or blue wrens, are Australian birds living in groups consisting of a dominant male, mouse-brown female ‘jenny wrens’ and several tawny-brown juveniles.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

What we're doing

Hill End Historic Site has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:

Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

Pests and weeds have an impact to biodiversity of Hill End Historic Site. Pest reduction of introduced species, as well as risk assessment for new and emerging weeds, is an important part of the work NPWS does to protect the biodiversity of this historic site.

Historic heritage in our parks and reserves

The historic heritage of Hill End Historic Site is preserved through a variety of NPWS programs that embrace its colonial past. Heritage revitalisation, sustainable adaptive reuse and history interpretation projects are ongoing in this park.

Conservation program

Hill End Historic Site buildings conservation

A gold mining site since the 1850s, Hill End Historic Site is listed on the State Heritage Register for its cultural, scientific, and social value to generations of Australians. Located approximately 300km north-west of Sydney, Hill End is the focus of an ongoing conservation and adaptive re-use program to safeguard its valuable history.

Developing visitor facilities and experiences

NPWS is dedicated to ensuring visitors have positive, memorable experiences in NSW national parks. In keeping with this, historically significant tourist accommodation and other visitor facilities in Hill End Historic Site receive progressive restoration and are maintained to a high standard.

Managing fire

NSW is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world as a result of our climate, weather systems, vegetation and the rugged terrain. NPWS is committed to maintaining natural and cultural heritage values and minimising the likelihood and impact of bushfires via a strategic program of fire research, fire planning, hazard reduction, highly trained rapid response firefighting crews and community alerts.

Conservation program

Hazard reduction program

Managing fire-prone NSW national parks requires a three-pronged approach, including fire planning, community education, and fuel management. When it comes to fuel like dead wood, NPWS conducts planned hazard reduction activities like mowing and controlled burning to assist in the protection of life, property and community.

Golden Gully, Hill End Historic Site. Photo: Debby McGerty