Tunnels at Lerderderg State Park

In the mid 1800s gold was discovered and mined in the area now covered by Lerderderg State Park, about an hour’s drive north-west of Melbourne.

While it was nearly 200 years ago, there are still plenty of signs of this early activity, although with the bush regrowth, it’s hard to imagine thousands of people were here, toiling away trying to strike it rich.

I’ve written before how much I like Lerderderg. The gorge and river, the steep-sided hills, the forest, the calls of birds and rustle of grass as a wallaby bounds away, all combine to create a nice wilderness feel, just a short drive away from a city of just over four million people.

Anyway, every time I go there, there’s something new to discover.

I went recently and this time wanted to explore a mine tunnel I’d often passed and another tunnel I’d seen signs for and heard about.


I’d brought a headlamp and was prepared.

The first tunnel is right beside the main walking track from the little town of Blackwood, where I’d started from.

There’s light for about 20 metres until it turns right and then it’s utter darkness.

With my headlamp I walked in and started looking around. The floor was soft dirt and the walls hard, cut rock. I paid close attention to the roof, watching for bats. There weren’t any. The tunnel went into the side of the hill for only about 75 metres before it just ended in rock. A bit anti-climactic but at least I now know what’s in there.

The other tunnel is down on the river. It looks like it was dug through the side of a hill to divert the river. A long bend further down from the tunnel is now dry.

The tunnel entrance is blocked by debris that the river runs under but is clear on the other side.  It’s an impressive bit of work and, according to Wikipedia, was done to expose the river bed for alluvial gold mining.




It’s now a peaceful part of the river and makes a wonderful spot for lunch. On a hot day it would be an ideal place to sit in the river and let the water cool you down.

IMG_0759 IMG_0757

There was a track from here that wasn’t on my map that I thought I’d explore. It headed in the direction of some dirt roads that were marked on the map, so figured they must link up at some point.


Watch your step. More old mining holes

If they didn’t, I thought, I’d just turn around and come back the way I came.

But they did and I followed the dirt roads back to Blackwood where I stopped to taste the waters at the town’s mineral spring. (Spritzy but like drinking out of a rusty pipe)




5 thoughts on “Tunnels at Lerderderg State Park

    1. David Bridson

      Just discovered your post here, while researching old mines. A great little write up !! The pic of the first mine you showed, you said it is on a main walking track from Blackwood.I realise it is an old post, but do you remember the name of the track ?? Any help would be appreciated. Cheers.

  1. Parker

    Ah thank you! was driving around there today contemplating a few days to a week down by the river (prospecting) Is an amazing area, loved the pics and was a decider on heading down there in winter as its close to home been prior from ballarat. Sadly the state park seems to be a dumping ground for household rubbish.. Dont get it.. – Any recommended camp grounds would be a lovely addition


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s