Victorian goldfields with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera – I – Avoca and the Pyrenees

Written by Gary on December 7th, 2014

It’s almost summer, so I took time off to go for a road trip exploring Victoria’s “Golden Triangle” – one of the richest gold mining areas in the world which sparked the gold rush of the 1850’s and transformed Victoria for ever.

Apparently, over 80% of the world’s largest gold nuggets have been found in this region, and some still are being found – although large ones are now rare!

The Golden Triangle is quite a large region roughly outlined by the cities of Ballarat,  St Arnaud and Bendigo, with the smaller city of Maryborough roughly placed in the centre geographically – hence my choice this time to use as a base from which to explore.

This region is one of the more interesting areas of Victoria for photographers as there are many relics of the gold rush period, although most of the transient gold boom towns are now ghost towns with little evidence of their previous glory – many having populations of 20,000-30,000 with dozens of pubs – now often not even a shop open.

First stop was lunch in the small town of Avoca which is situated in the Pyrenees region, 183km from Melbourne, current population ~1,000, and surrounded by lovely undulating hills, and many wineries which produce nice cool climate wines, particularly known for their reds.

See historical society of Avoca.

Lunch in Avoca has several options including a pie shop which sells a wide range of pies including crocodile, kangaroo, seafood, etc.

There is also the widely regarded Avoca Hotel for those wanting a more restaurant-like meal (Olympus mZD 12mm f/2 lens at f/5):

Avoca Hotel

There are some interesting old weatherboard miner’s cottages (Olympus mZD 45mm f/1.8 lens at f/3.2):

miner's cottage

and the Watford House by the Avoca River is rare surviving example of a prefabricated house imported to Victoria in the 1850’s gold rush when building materials and labour were scarce (Olympus mZD 12mm f/2 lens at f/3.5):

Watford House

Once one has finished exploring Avoca, a short drive up Vinoca Road which becomes a gravel road to the north-west takes you past the Blue Pyrenees Winery which has a cafe and cellar door with wine tasting, and to a picnic ground near a waterfall – there is water only after significant rains, and the short 20min return walk is only for those wishing to stretch their legs (although there is also a 18km one way “Endurance Walk” which starts here too).

Here is a pic of the falls without water for the curious ones (Olympus mZD 12mm f/2 lens at f/5):

waterfalls

Nearby is the Percydale Heritage Park – the old gold mining region now re-forested but presumably full of mine shafts, and a short drive up a gravel road takes you to a nice little lookout which looks eastwards and also south towards the wind farms (Olympus mZD 75mm f/1.8 at f/4):

waterfalls

 

 

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