The Goldfields Track – Dry Diggings Track
Daylesford – Castlemaine
Duration: 3 days (four separate day walks)
Start: Lake Daylesford
Finish: Corner Forest and Wheeler streets, Castlemaine
Nearby: Castlemaine, Daylesford, Hepburn Springs
Permits/bookings: None required
Best time: Spring or autumn.
The Dry Diggings Track is part of the Goldfields Track, a superb 210 kilometre walking and cycling trail that connects the towns of Ballarat and Bendigo via scenic villages such as Castlemaine, Hepburn, Daylesford and Creswick.
Golden relics and spas to relax
The trail takes you through a diverse series of historic mining landscapes where gold was first discovered in the 1850s, as well as the noted spa areas of Vaughan, Glenluce, Hepburn and Daylesford.
Meander through isolated and ruggedly beautiful bushland including stands of ironbark, box and stringybark. Head up to the higher altitude candlebark and messmate forests closer to Daylesford. In late winter, golden wattles blooms and during spring, the area is ablaze with wildflowers. The track is great for spotting wildlife including grey kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and birds of many varieties.
Mad mountain biking
Head for this section of the Goldfields Track for excellent mountain bike opportunities. You'll be faced with sections of single-track, challenging climbs, exhilarating descents and creek crossings with a great diversity of soil types. Make your way to the Porcupine Ridge Road (if riding from Hepburn Springs) and its loamy single-track for the best riding, plus the Poverty Gully water race near Castlemaine, a gold rush engineering feat that is just perfect for mountain biking.
Quenching a thirst
Explore ruins and artefacts from the gold rush days and Australia's first National Heritage Park, the Castlemaine Diggings National Park. Stop and quench your thirst at one of the many naturally occurring mineral springs flowing freely from the ground. Others can be accessed via hand pumps.
The Goldfields Track is part of the Great Dividing Trail, 300 kilometres of trails that provide a pathway to the hidden treasures of Central Victoria. The other legs of the Goldfields Track are the Leanganook Track linking Castlemaine and Bendigo and the Wallaby Track from Mt Buninyong to Daylesford.
For more information and maps visit goldfieldstrack.com.au