|Omeo was a town built on gold. From the mid-1850s through to the turn of the century it was the site of one of the richest sources of alluvial and reef gold in the colony. The legacy of those decades of gold seeking is clearly visible today in both the heritage streetscape and the surrounding countryside. Several interesting and scenic walks can be accessed from the centre of Omeo ranging from an easy town walk taking in Omeo’s historic buildings to the slightly more challenging walks of the Oriental Claims Historic Area.
1 km (30 minutes)
Grade 2. Interpretive signage.
Although gold was discovered in Omeo in 1851, its isolation and difficult terrain delayed a rush to the area until the mid-1850s. After that time the town began to take shape along the Livingstone Creek, creating a meandering streetscape up the hill from west to east.
The arrival of reef mining in the 1880s brought huge wealth to Omeo and many of the buildings that line the main street today date from that time. Interpretive signs have been
installed along both sides of Day Avenue (the Great Alpine Road) offering fascinating insights into the development of the town.
Allow time to explore the Historic Park and museum (open daily from 10am to 2pm) opposite the War Memorial Park. It features five heritage listed buildings and includes the Courts complex, police camp and the Court House gardens.
Other noteworthy buildings include the three-room Omeo State School built in 1875, the 1874 Old Standard Building (formerly the Temperance Hall) and the grand Commercial Bank of Australasia built in 1890.
Livingstone Park Loop
1 km (20 - 30 minutes)
Grade 2. Interpretive signage
Once teeming with miners, at various times panning, sluicing and later dredging for gold, Livingstone Park today is a peaceful place for recreation, equipped with picnic and
barbecue facilities, a playground, creek swimming hole and a network of walking tracks looping around and through the park. To access the walk, turn on to the main street, then on to Creek Street and follow to the car park at the end of the road. Start the Livingstone Park Loop at the information board, cross the little bridge over the creek and follow the path towards the rotunda. From here follow the sign to Baker’s
Island. Where the track forks, keep to the left and head uphill to a viewing point over looking the Griffith Tunnel on one side and the swimming hole on the other. The 20m tail race and 75m tunnel was cut by miners, Griffiths and party in 1868, to allow the working of Livingstone Creek without the hindrance of flowing water. It was cut through a high rocky bluff known as Frenchman’s Hill. By diverting the creek waters, the party was able to re-work a large section of the Livingstone Creek bed. To complete the loop, return to the car park via the steps heading down to the swimming hole, and following the path ahead to the bridge across the creek. The Oriental Claims Reserve is also accessible from this walk.
Livingstone Park to Caravan Park
1 km (30 minutes)
Grade 2. Natural surface
A short, easy walk which follows the course of the Livingstone Creek to the Omeo Caravan Park. Walkers are rewarded with lovely views of the town and the picturesque creek. Mature Poplar trees, planted in the grounds of the caravan park more than 50 years ago, offer shady camping and picnic places in summer as well as lovely autumn colour.
Also of interest are the three ‘shelter sheds’ built around the time the caravan park was established in 1961.
From Day Ave, follow the concrete path past the War Memorial Park towards Livingstone Park. A few metres before the first bridge over the creek veer right and head north along the mown track towards the caravan park.
The Livingstone Creek is a haven for woodland birds and, consequently, a great place for the keen birdwatchers who regularly visit. Many different species have been recorded here including honeyeaters, robins, cockatoos, parrots and whistlers. Wombats, echidnas, wallabies and kangaroos and platypus are also often seen along the creek.
Livingstone Park to Oriental Claims
3.4km return from Livingstone Park to Oriental Claims picnic area (1 - 1.5 hours)
Grade 3. Some steep sections. Natural surface
This enjoyable and scenic walk follows the pretty Livingstone Creek to the historic gold mining reserve known as the Oriental Claims. Offering panoramic views over Omeo and the surrounding high country, there are pleasant places along the way to pause for a rest or snack and the chance to spot a wide variety of birds and mammals including
echidnas and wombats.
Access from town is via the Livingstone Park Walk which begins at the bottom of Creek St and continues to the viewing area over the Griffiths Tunnel and the Omeo swimming hole. Here, instead of looping back into the park, continue along the track keeping the creek to the left, passing remnant alluvial gold workings which extend the length of the creek to the Oriental Claims area. The entrance to the reserve is signposted and from here the track follows the towering clay cliffs created by hydraulic sluicing for gold, descending steeply to the creek flats and scenic picnic area.
Silver Banksia - Banksia marginata and Woolly Grevillea – Grevillea lanigera grow abundantly here, attracting a variety of honey and seed-eating birds including Crimson Rosellas and White-eared Honeyeaters.