Hiking in Central Otago is a rewarding experience in itself, but at the Bendigo goldfields a hike is made even more satisfying by the opportunity to discover gold mining relics.Mining in the area began with gold panning in the creeks and moved on to hard-rock mining down deep mineshafts. Large batteries were constructed to crush the rock and release the gold from within.Bendigo is one of twenty sites managed by the Department of Conservation as part of the Otago Goldfields Park. From the town of Bendigo, a narrow unsealed road winds up into the hills to the deserted gold towns of Logantown and Welshtown. Here dozens of crumbling stone cottages and huts can be seen around the hillsides. Informative signage helps you to imagine life in the days of the gold rush.At nearby Aurora Creek the mines are high on the steep faces of a small gorge and narrow rock-walled cart roads linking the mines are still easily identified. As you walk these hills, enjoying sweeping views of scenic Central Otago, you will also appreciate the determination and ingenuity of the miners who struggled to extract gold from this rugged terrain.