Sofala and Hill End Gold Towns

 

sofala

Tourist Drive 4

This drive through the rolling hills and steep valleys to the west of Rylstone takes you to the now sleepy gold mining towns of Sofala on the Turon River and Hill End, returning via Mudgee. This drive includes a small section of unsealed road as you near Hill End and there is no fuel until Hargraves, approximately 135 kms from Rylstone/Kandos.

Tourist Drive 4 commences at Ilford on the Castlereagh Highway. From Rylstone/Kandos take the Bylong Valley Way/Sydney Road to Ilford 27 kms, turn left onto the Castlereagh Highway to Ilford village 2.5 kms. Here you turn right to Sofala/Bathurst (all sealed). Enjoy the views from the ridge tops on the way to Sofala 30 kms. You will pass the award winning Turon Technology Museum displaying the development of steam and internal combustion engines, open every weekend or by appointment. At the Turon River, turn left into Sofala and take time to explore the small village, once a hive of gold mining activity in the 1860’s and ‘70’s.

When leaving Sofala, take the road to Hill End (unsealed) 36 kms. The road passes the picnic area of Wallaby Rocks, up the spectacular Devils Pinch, and on through the village of Sallys Flat to Hill End. This town was proclaimed a Historic Site in 1967 and is managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

A walk around the town reveals the historic cottages, churches and commercial buildings and there are photographic plaques at the site of buildings no longer in existence. The landscape is still marked by the mining activity, and there are 2 mines open for inspection. A visit to the museum in the old Hospital gives insights into the hardships of the early miners and contains a replica of the largest single lump of gold ever to be found in Australia – the Holterman Nugget. Food and drink are available. To return to Rylstone/Kandos, take the road to Mudgee 83 kms via the districts of Tambaroora, Hargraves, and Grattai.

Tourist Drive 4 ends at the Castlereagh Highway 3 kms northwest of Mudgee. Turn right and return to Rylstone/Kandos via the Lue Valley or the Castlereagh Highway (around 55 kms) – see Kandos/Rylstone Mudgee Loop Drive. A journey to the gold towns is an all day excursion, approximately 230 kms total.