This track loops around the former Bannockburn gold field to provide a vivid slice of history and a most rewarding perspective of times gone by. The area was sluiced and mined from 1862 to the 1930’s with the remains of dams, water races, tunnels, stone walls, and channels to be seen. Towering cliff faces are all that is left of hills that have been sluiced away to find the precious gold.
Nowadays this vast area is exposed to the elements and deserted except for walkers and cyclists enjoying the vastness of this landscape. It is a 3.5km, 2 hour walk and can be hot and dry. Good footwear and a drink are essential.
The area is accessed from a car park in Felton Road, about 1.5km from the Bannockburn Bridge over Lake Dunstan. There are information panels here and at strategic locations around the marked route. This is conservation land and is available to the public all year round. The track winds its way through the workings and up to Stewart Town. Beside the remains of a large dam are several ruins and fruit trees from the 1860’s occupation. From this high point, continue following the DoC markers down along the ridge line to eventually arrive back at the car park. There are numerous other tracks branching off giving further opportunities to explore. The area is open and exposed so there is little chance of getting lost.
There are wonderful views all the way around this track and nowadays the sluicings are surrounded by vineyards. The colours, especially in autumn, provided by this new activity is a stark contrast to the barren wasteland that the miners left and allows many good photo opportunities. There are several vineyards in this area that provide tasting and food so perhaps enjoy this walk combined with a vineyard visit.