Carricktown is high on the Carrick Range behind Bannockburn and the site of another Central Otago gold town from the 19th century. This area was never very rich with gold but that didn’t stop hundreds flocking here seeking their fortune. Today there are but few remains; stone ruins, a stamper battery, dams and rock walls. However, it is an awe inspiring place for a walk. There are two options:
From Bannockburn drive up Schoolhouse Road, turn into Gully Road then Quartzville Road until the gated entrance is found on the left. This area was another town called Quartzville and was originally set up to service the mines further up the hill. It was abandoned soon after when Carricktown was built. The public road up to Carricktown is not suitable for cars so the walk starts here. It is 6.5 km, 2.5 hours to Carricktown, where the track goes through the old main street and passes numerous ruins. There are wonderful views down to Cromwell and the Clutha Valley from here.
A little further up this road there are mullock heaps and remains of the Elizabeth Reef stamper battery. Further on still, there are two well preserved stone dams to be seen. At a point 7km up the road from Quartzville a large water race is crossed. This is the recommended turn-around point of this walk as it still 7 km back down the hill back to Quartzville.
If you have access to a four wheel drive vehicle, the second walk starts at a signposted point further up the same road, about 8 km from Quartzville. After carefully negotiating the sometimes steep and rough 4wd road the marked track leads down to a large waterwheel, the Young Australian, which drove a stamper battery to pound the gravel before extracting gold. This wheel has been restored and is a stark reminder in a desolate landscape of the activities in the past. From the road it is 30 minutes, 1 km down to the wheel where there is an interpretation panel explaining the workings. On the other side of the valley can be seen the stamper which was moved here at a later date and run by a pelton wheel, still on site. Allow some time to scramble around and over to this stamper. Return back up the track to the road.
Young Australian Water Wheel