Did you know that gold was mined in the Adelaide Hills? I have to say, I thought I'd heard something about it, but I didn't really know much about it, just a sort of vague "it happened over there" knowledge.
So if you are ever near Echunga in the Adelaide Hills and have an hour to spare, you could certainly do far worse than have a walk through the Jupiter Creek Gold Diggings.
The trail is easy to navigate, and takes you past a number of deep shafts and pits, with interesting historical facts on numerous boards. Warnings are posted everywhere about the dangers of these pits, and nearly all of them are surrounded by high mesh fencing. The natural bushland has grown up and around much of the area, giving it a slightly surreal quality.
A few walkers were seen with metal detectors, hoping for that last chance find, but generally, the people on the trail were just happy to be in a very peaceful, quiet area. As well as the birds, we saw a few lizards and at least one snake, so the native wildlife is still around the place.
As an added bonus, there is also a mine that you can walk through. It is a single path (other openings have been blocked off), and you do need a torch to navigate it (the sign also recommends a hard hat, which is not a silly idea, either), but it is just something else to add to the whole experience.
Like I said, something different to do if you ever find yourself in the area.