Nundle is a small village just a little south of Tamworth in New South Wales and is one of our favourite spots. We pass through Nundle every year on our travels south and always stay for a while as there is so much to see and do in the area. We camp at Chaffey Dam just north of the town where camping is permitted for a small fee and there are showers and toilets. A hot shower here will cost you $1.00 which is real good value after a day out digging for gold or gems.
What to do in the area
Fishing, Chaffey Dam is a top spot to launch our little tinnie for a bit of fishing, the dam is stocked with Yellowbelly and Silver Perch so it is not too hard to get a feed “but you will need a NSW fishing licence”.
There is also the odd Murray Cod to be caught and there are plenty of carp when you feel like a bit of sport. Carp are a real pest and must be destroyed when caught and never thrown back. Carp are probably the only fish we won’t eat, as Paul Hogan quoted “you can eat them, but they taste like shit”. Take a half hour drive to Hanging Rock and there are a couple of small dams there called Sheba Dams.
These dams were man made way back in the gold rush days and are now a great place to camp and fish, as they are stocked with trout. You can walk the banks casting lures or launch a canoe for a paddle around them.
Fossicking, The Nundle area is famous for gold and the Peel River runs through the town and into the Chaffey Dam and you can pan for gold along the river between Chaffey Dam and Nundle in several places and we always get enough colour to keep us interested. Be sure to respect private property as there is plenty of area to pan for gold without upsetting the locals. Hanging Rock is a short drive from Nundle up a fairly steep range but a top spot for more fossicking.
At the top of the range there is an old Quartz mining area and there are still plenty of Quartz crystals left to be found. This lot only took us about an hour to unearth but you will need a pick and a pry bar as the best crystals are in between the rocks. If you don’t want to work too hard at it all you need is a shovel and sieve as there are crystals to be found just by sieving the dirt. Turn left at the top of the range and a few kilometers out you will find a Zircon and Sapphire fossicking area in the forestry near the Ponderosa rest area. These gemstones are small and can be a little hard to find as the area is red soil and on all our visits there, the soil has been damp which makes it hard going. Maps to these fossicking areas are available from the Tourist Information Centres and of cause, ask the locals, there is always someone who knows where to go and is willing to help out.