Known for being the richest hard-rock gold mining area in New Zealand history, the Bendigo area is steeped in gold-mining folk law from 1863 through to the 1930’s. Hundreds of miners toiled away in search of fortunes that lay buried within the earth, battling through hot, dry summer days and freezing cold winter nights, they left behind a wealth of historical evidence to be enjoyed today. Beyond its economic influence, the mining boom had an incredible impact on the land itself. Every tree in the area was chopped down for construction materials or firewood, resulting in a barren and desert-like environment, both desolate and lonely. Today, regenerated Kanuka provide some much-needed shade in summer, along with a genuine point of difference to Bendigo as a destination. There are three main walks throughout the area, the Bendigo Mine Loop, Aurora Track, and Kanuka Track, each catering to different fitness levels and journey lengths. To access any of the three, you can drive to the car park at Welshtown, which can be reached from SH8 near Bendigo Station, following the Bendigo Loop Road and heading up the hill at the old Bendigo Township. The Bendigo Mine Loop is the shortest of the three, at 1.5km and roughly 45 minutes in duration. The track visits the Welshtown hut remains, Kanuka trees, various mine shafts, blacksmith shops, and the Matilda Battery site, along with great views over the Clutha Valley to the Pisa Range and mountains to the north. The Aurora Track is slightly longer but well worth the effort, at 4km and around 1.5 hours in duration. Catering to a slightly more adventurous audience, the track starts from Welshtown and winds down an open hillside to the site of Logantown, once home to three hotels, a butchery, bakery and various huts scattered throughout the area. The track then leads to Aurora Creek, with picturesque views of the gully, Lucknow Battery and Aurora Battery. The Kanuka Track is the region’s longest and most difficult, covering 10km and approximately 5 hours tramping. If you have the time, the Kanuka Track is certainly well worth the time and effort, providing an incredibly rewarding experience. Looping from Logantown and past the School and Chinaman’s Creek to reach a high point on the stunning skyline ridge. The track is mostly through Kanuka forest, with higher levels being bare of much vegetation, providing a noticeable contrast to their surrounds.