The best time of the year to explore these tracks is from late October, early November, when the thyme is in full bloom. It smells incredible, especially on a warm spring afternoon when the heat seems to intensify the aroma. The purple flowers look beautiful and border the dry tracks around this historic reserve. These woody plants seem to grow and flourish out of rocks and hard, dry earth.
Described as the ‘scarred landscapes of a short-lived gold mining era’, and ‘tragically beautiful’ – the Bannockburn Sluicings are quite spectacular. The result of hydraulic sluicing, where attempts at releasing gold was through a process of water being blasted at the hillside. This has created a desert with towering cliff faces and the walk takes you past tunnels, caves and rock tailings – all from when the area was mined from 1862 to the 1930’s.
Going on up the trail, you reach Stewart Town where you can find the remains of miners earth rammed houses. There are pears and apricot trees, planted back in the early 1900’s, perfect for a bit of local foraging. The other track to explore from here is the Long Gully Bluff Track, offering views to the Remarkables and the Hector mountains.
Proximity to Penkridge = 20 minutes drive.