We’ve climbed a number of different routes up Mt Coramba, but this time our aim was a gold mine, rather than peakbagging.
The trail up Hopes Road exposes many tell-tale pieces of white quartz. The gold-bearing lode at Coramba King Mine is a lenticular quartz vein up to 2m thick. Just beyond a gully, we spy the dark entrance to a mining tunnel next to the road. Gold was found here around 1894, with Mr A Cadell the principle owner and investor at Coramba King. A road was built, cut into the hillside, to take the quartz in wagons to the stamper for crushing, about 1 mile away. Did this road become Hopes Road or Tiger Fire Trail? Coramba gold mining only lasted a few years, with production peaking in 1897 when the nearby Beacon mines produced 227kg gold (more than $3m in value). Some miners tried again during the depression years of the 1930s.
Choose carefully which way round you do this loop, clockwise or anti-clockwise. If you like a good cardio workout, you may prefer to race up Cyclone Trail. If leg strength is your thing and you love a quad workout, then go down the steep Cyclone Trail. Look at our elevation profile – we got our Hopes up then tore down Cyclone.
You could, of course, just drive your 4WD to the mine, but you can’t drive the loop road as there are a few trees down. And you don’t want to miss out on the lovely rocky forest with its massive trees high up on Hopes Road.
Coramba Kings and Queens
Nearby is the Coramba Queen Mine, owned by a Melbourne syndicate and worked in 1895 – 1897. Coramba Queen was near the current boundary of the state forest and is on private property, so nothing to see. The Mathilda mines near Nana Glen are far more interesting. There was also the Mountain Maid gold mine that operated from 1897-1901 at Lower Bucca and the Lady Helen near Woolgoolga. Mr A Cadell also developed Evening Star Mine, near Star Creek.
Once a year in August is the annual 9.5km Mt Coramba King and Queen challenge hosted by Mid North Coast Cross Country Series. This is a brutal 9.5km run up to the 590m peak of Mt Coramba and back down again. The winners in 2020 completed it in an amazing 40 minutes (men) and 55 minutes (women).