The Beechworth Gorge is a popular walking, bike riding and driving loop with views to the Woolshed Valley and across the township of Beechworth. The landscape has large granite outcrops, native forest, magnificent rockpools and cascades that are perfect for a relaxed picnic.
There are two access points. For the longer route (5km or 7km is you are walking from the Post Office) start on Gorge Road, which is on the left as you head out of town towards Wodonga (just past the Golden Heritage Motel). For walkers it will take you around 1.5 to 2 hours with plenty of time to take in the scenery. Alternatively you can walk down Camp Street and start at the Powder Magazine for a shorter stroll (3km).
The walk follows a one-way road that loops through the Gorge and brings you back out near the Newtown Bridge on the Wangaratta Road. It is then a short walk back into Beechworth, for a coffee and cake or locally brewed beer to refresh and relax.
Points of interest along the walk are:
- One Tree Hill – was named for the single mature red stringy bark tree that survived the miners’ need for timber.
- The Powder Magazine – listed by the National Trust,was built to hold gunpowder for mining operations.
- Granite Tors – rain, frost, wind, sun and plants have all weathered the granite into strange and unusual shapes. Some have been given interesting names suchas Pumpkin Rock and the Sphinx.
- Spring Creek Bridge was built as part of the Scenic Drive. There are many rock pools along the creek. In spring a variety of wildflowers line the creek including the green-flowered Correa and purple-flowered Chocolate Lily.
- The Rocky Mountain Tunnel can be seen on the opposite side of the creek as you walk towards Newtown Bridge. The Rocky Mountain Extended Mining Company built the tunnel to reduce water levels in Spring Creek and expose new areas for sluicing. Running for 800 metres under the Beechworth township, the tunnel cost 13,500 pounds. The tunnel was a rich source of gold –6,500 ounces(about 182kg) of gold was recovered from sluice boxes placed in the tunnel between 1869 and 1876.
- Newtown Bridge was built by Scottish stone masonsin 1875 to replace an earlier bridge further upstream.The tail race or channel (2.4 metres deep and 410 metres long) visible below the bridge, was cut through solid granite over a two year period in the late 1860s, enabling the area upstream to be sluiced for gold.
- Chevalier’s Mill, a water-powered mill built in 1855,once stood at the head of the falls on Spring Creek and supplied the townspeople with flour and timber.
- The Cascades, a series of waterfalls from which Spring Creek drops down into the valley below, are spectacular after rain.
(notes courtesy of Parks Victoria – Beechworth Historic Park)
For more information: Beechworth Visitor Information Centre
Caution: The rocks around the Beechworth Gorge as very slippery. Children need to be supervised closely.
Facilities: There are no toilet facilities on the Gorge Walk. All water supplies and snacks need to be carried with you.