At the foot of the Dunstan Ranges, in the peaceful, quiet Manuherikia Valley, lies a little township once known as Tinkers. There are no ghosts of miners, but there are still a few old mud brick buildings (some still lived in), relics from the gold mining days.
Only 11.5 km off the Trail from Omakau, Matakanui is a great place to take your imagination. The school bell in the bell tower no longer rings. You may feel like listening for the clatter of shoes on the floor of the dancehall – but it was made into the store, its door now closed. The Newtown Hotel (also closed) rose from the remains of an older hotel. Those of you who live in windy places could take note of the boulders sitting on the flatter iron rooftops, some rocks suspended from ropes – no roofs are going to blow away here. The stables are still standing. The remnants of the old diggings at Deep Lead Mine are still there for you to see on the hills, and look out for an old water sluicer on Sugarpot Road.
It’s only a few kilometres from Drybread Cemetery, where imposing gravestones rise from the middle of a green paddock, a picturesque last resting place for early gold miners and their families.
A 4WD road heads from here over the Dunstan Range to the old Bendigo goldfields near Tarras, via Thomsons Gorge.