Australia's only coastal gold field.
Golden beaches, literally, were discovered in the 1800s by a curious Canadian with an eye for metals.
Within weeks, thousands of prospectors had made their way to the coast from Melbourne, Sydney and gold fields in Victoria and New South Wales. While some used a blanket and the power of the tides to collect the heavy metal from the beach, others headed inland to dig. It was tough going, the forest had to be cleared and shafts needed to reach down through the rock to a buried river bed, where the alluvial gold lay waiting.
A town sprung up within weeks, including a blacksmith, three hotels, grocery stores and a newspaper. A school once had over 40 students. The glory was short lived, and some of the buildings were moved down the coast seven kilometres to establish Bermagui.
For many decades the site was abandoned but in the 1990s a team of volunteers began working to establish the site as a place of education and preservation.
Today, the daily guided tours take you through the forest that has slowly regenerated, along a boardwalk and right to the edge of the mine shafts. It includes historical accounts, water divination and a tour of the museum.
Tours are held daily at 2pm (closed Christmas Day and Good Friday).
Cost: $7.50, children $5, families $25.
Access: Wheelchair accessible for 80% of the trail.
Location: Montreal Goldfield is 7 kilometres north of Bermagui township, adjacent to Wallaga Lake Caravan Park.
Groups of 10 or more please book at Bermagui Visitor Information Centre on 02 6493 3054
Phone: 02 6493 3054