Arltunga Historical Reserve
When gold was discovered in a dry creek bed at Paddy’s Rockhole east of Alice Springs in 1887, the resulting gold rush attracted enough people to establish Arltunga, central Australia’s first township. Sturdy buildings built from the local rock, including a government mining stamp and a police station, sprang up in the area, which at the peak of the boom supported up to 300 people.
Today, visitors to Arltunga Historical Reserve can see deep shafts cut into solid rock, old mining equipment and two cemeteries; and can step into the past and imagine a life of hardship and isolation as a miner at Arltunga by taking a ranger-led tour of the Great Western Mine, one of the many historic goldmines of the White Range area. Another guided activity is a tour of the Jenkins Battery operation, where old machinery is on view for visitors.
The Arltunga visitor centre gives an introduction to the area and paints a vivid picture of the old mining days through cultural and historical displays. Try your hand at gold panning here or go to the nearby Fossicking Reserve – a current NT Fossickers Permit is required, available from the Department of Mines and Energy and the Arltunga Bush Hotel. Fossicking, including the use of metal detectors, is not allowed in the Historical Reserve.
Walking is easy around the historic diggings but wear sturdy footwear because there are plenty of small rocks in the area. Wear a hat, sunscreen, loose-fitting clothing and take plenty of water. Avoid walking alone and during the hottest part of the day, especially in summer.
No camping; camping at nearby Trephina Gorge, N'Dhala Gorge or Arltunga Bush Hotel (08) 8959 9797
110 km east of Alice Springs via Ross Hwy
- PWCNT Alice Springs (08) 8951 8250
- PWCNT Arltunga (08) 8956 9770
Alice Springs (08) 8952 5800
- Brain food, Arltunga Historical Reserve, Brain food