Mountain Maid gold mine

Copeland Tops State Conservation Area

Affected by closures, check current alerts 

Overview

Mountain Maid gold mine tours are cancelled until further notice to protect the health and safety of our visitors and staff. Guided tours through Mountain Maid gold mine are available for visitors to Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Walking tours start from Hidden Treasure picnic area.

Type
Historic buildings/places
Where
Copeland Tops State Conservation Area
Price

$12 per adult. $8 per child (under 16). $28 per family.

What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen
Bookings

Bookings are essential. Contact Gloucester Visitor Information Centre on 02 6538 5252 for tour booking details. For large organised groups and school tours contact the NPWS Newcastle Discovery Coordinator on 02 4927 3267.

Please note
  • The weather in this area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch

In 1876, a man by the name of Saxby first discovered gold in the district. He found it around Back Creek, now Copeland Creek, near to what is now the village of Copeland. After his discovery, miners from everywhere descended on the area and the population grew to 1,100. Three pubs and four stores soon catered for the needs of 800 miners.

Find out more about the history of mining in the area and see where these gold-hungry souls toiled in Mountain Maid gold mine – one of New South Wales’ longest running operational gold mines. Walk around some historic buildings and get up close and personal with old machinery such as a battery stamper, whirly-gig gold separator, air compressor and gold carts.

Imagine what it was like for them working out here in this remote location. Do you think many noticed the beauty of the surrounding natural environment?

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

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 https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/historic-buildings-places/mountain-maid-gold-mine/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Mountain Maid gold mine.

Getting there and parking

On entering Copeland Tops State Conservation Area, park in the carpark at the end of Copeland Road. The adjoining Hidden Treasure picnic area is the meeting place for the start of the tour.

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Mountain Maid gold mine. Bus parking is available. It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Copeland Tops State Conservation Area.

Spring

This season offers mild walking conditions as well as the chance to witness bird migration. For instance, the wompoo fruit-dove – Australia's largest fruit dove – migrates from lower elevations in winter to upland forests in the warmer months.

Summer

There's nothing like rainforest to keep you cool; it's always several degrees less beneath the protective canopy, so enjoy following the park's walking tracks and finding shady places to picnic during the hotter months. The park's raised elevation also contributes to these milder conditions.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

17°C and 26°C

Highest recorded

28°C

Winter temperature

Average

6.7°C and 14.5°C

Lowest recorded

7°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

February

Driest month

July

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

261.6mm

Facilities

Drinking water is not available in this park, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Gas/electric barbecues (free)

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

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).

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

Prohibited

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Dungog (32 km)

Dungog is a country town with character, backed by magnificent rolling hills, national parks and state forests. It's in the heart of dairy and beef cattle country.

www.visitnsw.com

Gloucester (32 km)

Famous for gold deposits and the bushranger Captain Thunderbolt, Gloucester is located in the north Hunter region, east of Barrington Tops. The nearby state forests and national parks are ideal for walking, camping and outdoor adventure sports.

www.visitnsw.com

Taree (67 km)

Taree is a major mid North Coast city, ringed by superb beaches. It's situated on the Manning River and set against rolling hills.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Mountain Maid gold mine is in Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

From little things big things grow

Wildflowers in bloom in Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer

From the delicate epiphytes, only one cell in width, to the gnarled sprawling branches of the ancient grey myrtles, each plant has its place within the ecosystem of the rare dry rainforest. The tract within Copeland Tops is the largest accessible section in the district of Gloucester. Take a walk through the green corridors overhung by strangler figs, shatterwood and grey myrtle. On the ground between mossy rocks and on the sides of trees grow birds nest ferns, staghorns, elkhorns and orchids. The rare stuttering frog is commonly heard around these parts, its call emitting from a preferred habitat of stream-side leaf litter. Its repetitive song is often joined by the screech of glossy black-cockatoos, the "wollack-wa-hoo" of the wompoo fruit-dove and the unpredictable calls of lyrebirds. At night, the masked, powerful and sooty owls come out to hunt and hoot.

  • Basin loop track Basin loop track continues from Hidden Treasure track to form a longer walk with scenic views of Copeland Tops State Conservation Area via historic Old Copeland Road.
  • Hidden Treasure track Hidden Treasure track is a walking route through rainforest that takes in remnants of the area's mining heritage, including a historic boiler and disused mine entrance.

Land of plenty

Rolling hills of Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer

This is the traditional lands of the Worimi and Biripi people who live in the area and previously moved around in response to the seasonal availability of food. Such a broad ecosystem would have provided many resources for medicinal, ceremonial and cultural purposes. It is very likely that people travelling from the coast to Barrington Tops area would have passed through Copeland Tops. Their history will forever be an integral part of this landscape.

Striking it rich

Abandoned gold mine relics, Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: Brent Mail

It was the red cedar cutters who, battling to log 'red gold' in this unforgiving terrain from the early 1800s, first discovered gold here in 1875. The area soon became known as Copeland and over the next 60 years more than 50 gold mines were dug in the area. According to the records, over 1800kg of the valuable metal were extracted during that time. Many relics of this mining heritage remain in the form of historic sites and derelict equipment. However, the bushland and rainforest now dominate once again.

  • Basin loop track Basin loop track continues from Hidden Treasure track to form a longer walk with scenic views of Copeland Tops State Conservation Area via historic Old Copeland Road.
  • Hidden Treasure track Hidden Treasure track is a walking route through rainforest that takes in remnants of the area's mining heritage, including a historic boiler and disused mine entrance.
  • It's gold! This excursion experience has been updated and is now being delivered in line with the new NSW Department of Education Curriculum. We will be revising this excursion's name and information online soon. Contact your local national parks office for more information about the updated excursion.
  • Mountain Maid gold mine Mountain Maid gold mine tours are cancelled until further notice to protect the health and safety of our visitors and staff. Guided tours through Mountain Maid gold mine are available for visitors to Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Walking tours start from Hidden Treasure picnic area.

Education resources (1)

School excursions (1)

Mountain Maid gold mine, Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: Brent Hall