Distance from Bathurst 45kms north
Preferred route via Peel Wattle Flat
The discovery of gold on the Turon River in 1851 led to the establishment of Sofala. The early township followed the river for over 16kms with churches, schools, hotels, a court of petty sessions, a hospital and many other businesses servicing this fast growing area. The village also benefited from its position on the main road between Bathurst and the Hunter region and the fact that the gold lasted much longer here than in any other region.
Although the population has dwindled since the gold rush times, Sofala remains Australia's oldest surviving gold town. The narrow streets lined with many unique old buildings and the spectacular scenery of the surrounding hills, have attracted movie makers and artists to the area. Fossickers search the river and streams for any gold that might still lie hidden there - and some lucky ones have even struck pay dirt.
What to do & see
Try your hand at gold fossicking in the Turon River. Visit the Old Sofala Gaol to see the large collection of memorabilia from many locations. Collect a copy of the self drive or walking tour from the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre and explore the village and surrounding region. Meet the locals in the Royal Hotel that was established in 1862. Take a drive up the Ilford Road to the Turon Technology Museum - winner of a National Trust Heritage Award, where engines from the period 1850-1950 are on display. The fabulous scenery of Wallaby Rocks along the road to Hill End is a must see for anyone with an eye for natural beauty.
Souvenir shop and take away food outlet, cafes, lolly shop, hotel, public toilets, play equipment, picnic tables, public phone box, museums.
Accommodation includes B&B, self contained cottages, hotel, holiday ranch and nearby campground with some amenities.
The village of Sofala has a rich gold mining history as well as being one of the most picturesque historic villages in Australia. The main street has retained all of its unique ageing character. Bordered largely by original two-storey wooden gold rush buildings, the narrow main street houses the post office, pub, general store and fire station. The village is set against the stony Turon River with dramatic rugged mountains hovering behind. Sofala dates from 1851 when gold was discovered on the Turon River, and gold can still be found today. During the 1850s and 60s around 40,000 people lived in Sofala, including 10,000 Chinese. The area has camping spots by the river.
Sofala Village Map