Avisford Nature Reserve is, according to online maps, three separate properties on the southwest side of Mudgee, New South Wales. The area is steep hills with forests, rocky narrow canyons, and grassy clearings.
The southern property appears to be inaccessible, with no public trails or roads for entry. The central property is accessible via Water Works Road on the west side of town and contains the historic dam ruins and a 4 km (8 km return) walking trail. The northern property is accessible through the Mudgee Common park, and an old road on the northern edge of the property is mapped as a walking track.
At this point I have only visited the central property and have only walked the Waterworks Gully Track. Sometime soon I plan on visiting the northern section, the southern section if I can arrange access, and re-visiting the central section to hike some of the tall hill summits.
The most complete information about the reserve including history, original maps, ecology, and preservation issues is found in the Avisford Nature Reserve Plan of Management from 2008.
This is a photographic reproduction of the reserve map displayed on a visitor kiosk at the Waterworks Road entrance. Notice the southern section is not shown, nor are the older trails that appear in the Plan of Management.
The Waterworks Gully trail is 4 km one-way and winds up a small canyon, over a saddle between two of the large hills, and down another canyon to where the trail dead-ends at a private property fence. The walking track is an old road that’s easy to follow and not very challenging.
On the day of my visit, it was a very hot and humid mid-day at the end of January. No one else was at the reserve during my entire visit, and the animals were mostly hidden in the shade and inactive. I’ll pick a much cooler day to hike any of the hills.
An interesting historic feature is the remains of an old dam. Although I don’t recall the exact story, there are interpretive signs nearby with an explanation. To summarize, apparently some people felt the dam was in danger of failure so it was cut down in order to not hold water.
There was no water in any of the drainages. Visiting after a rain would be a good time to see cascading streams.
The trail is an old road that dead-ends at a private property fence. Losing the trail would be nearly impossible. And thankfully it’s shaded most of the distance. This photo shows the trail as it traverses a saddle between two tall hills, before it begins dropping into the next canyon.
Flora and Fauna
Although I only saw a small fraction of the species that reportedly live in the Avisford Nature Reserve, the walk was absolutely worthwhile.
This echidna buried it’s head beneath it’s quill-covered body when I approached too close.