• Greg beside Track Sign

    2-9 May 2011 Great Dividing Trail – Goldfields Track – Ballarat to Bendigo

    This was a great trip undertaken from 8 old guys from NSW Southern Highlands and the ACT. We largely walked with day packs between points on the trail then were picked up by our two support vehicles and driven to our chosen accommodation location at Ballarat, Creswick, Daylesford, Castlemaine and Bendigo. We spent a small amount of time checking the features of Ballarat & Bendgio
    [provided as a record of an old trip visiting many historic sites between Ballarat & Bendigo]

    Featured Image is of Greg beside a Goldfields Track Marker Sign

    This was undertaken by a great group of people from the Southern Highlands of NSW together with two from the Canberra region.

    Alan K, Ant B, John M, Rodney F, David and Phillip were from the Moss Vale, Bowral and Bundanoon areas, with Graham from Bywong and Greg from Canberra.

    For logistical reasons as well as timing it had been decided to split the walk into daily segments with two members providing car support and the others walking.

    Mining Exchange
    Mining Exchange in Lydiard St North Ballarat

    Firstly we drove to Ballarat with Greg and Graham being picked up at Bywong, near Canberra. It was a long day Saturday 30th April with us arriving at the Big 4 Goldfields Caravan Park about 7PM that night. We used two cabins supporting two teams of 4.

    On Sunday 1st May we toured around Ballarat, checking out the start of the walk at Ballarat Railway Stn and the first 1.5 Km up to the planned real start point whilst a couple went to Sovereign Hill. The architecture of the main town was quite impressive.

    Pictures and GPS map views are on Google Photos

    Day 1 – 2nd May Ballarat to Creswick

    It was supposed to be about 23Km to Creswick from where we actually started.

    Our start point was at the junction of Peel St and where the Yarrowee Track starts near Rowe St in Ballarat. This point is some 1.5Km from Ballarat Stn, of which we had walked about 750m in our recce. On the map it was 400m north of point 9.

    The weather was quite cold and misty rain was falling. We walked along the trail that followed a creek for some distance.

    We walked under the Ballarat western freeway through a pedestrian underpass and then got lost following, we think, a cycling alternative route. Retracing our steps and crossing a creek, we then followed the Yarrowee Trail markers, which was a mistake. Around about here we somehow left the actual GDT and continued along our merry way thinking we were following the actual trail.

    After a couple of Km we realised our errors but continued on to Gong Gong Reservoir recreation area. After meeting a local we were forced to retrace our path until we decided to head up Springs Rd that we could see would save time and take us back onto the GDT.

    So we walked up Springs Road and turning left onto White Swann Rd. By now the weather was fine and sunny.

    We then rejoined the GDT at point 15 on the GDT map. Here we had lunch. Continuing north on the GDT it passed the large White Swann Reservoir on the right.

    The route was then fairly straight forward until Slatey Ck campsite. We passed a possible campsite at Chapel Flat but were unsure about any source of water.

    We passed several mine shafts near the track which could be dangerous, numerous races, sluice gullies and diggings.

    The creeks near Slatey Ck had taken a battering during the Feb floods with a large amount of debris causing damage.

    We met this amazing SA prospector and his family at Slatey Ck who had found small nuggets and some Chinese coins.

    Walking beside Ck
    Walking beside Slatey Ck

    We were picked up by our support vehicles here which is point 20 on the map and lifted to the Creswick CP.

    The two older fellows were given a third luxury cabin.

    We had walked some 25.1Km but unfortunately missed around 3.4Km of the track and the section from Slatey Ck to Creswick. If we had not got lost we would have made it most of the way to Creswick.

    Day 2 – 3rd May Wombat Station to Daylesford

    Awake at 6.30AM to a lovely day.

    We were driven through lovely country to the old Wombat Stn that used to serve part of Creswick Nth to Daylesford old railway that was built around 1870’s and finally closed in the 1950’s.

    Phillip & John
    John & Phillip

    We walked along the old alignment for some time and later past the White Point diggings. We detoured to Sailors Falls picnic area for lunch. Later whilst walking to Daylesford we met this amazing old guy. Bob Conroy (81) training in his trotting rig. His wife Pat Conroy has some association with the GDT.

    We did some 20.1 km this day.  We finished walking at point 2 of the Dry Diggings trail map.

    Day 3 – 4th May Daylesford to Hepburn Springs area

    Overnight 4 of us had been sick with a mixture of vomiting and diarrhea. We had picked something up maybe around Creswick. So four of us stayed in our cabins recovering, or continuing to die!

    Some were up by 6.30AM, but only three were able to walk with Alan driving.

    It was a wonderful section mostly walking in the Sailors Ck gorge country west of both Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.

    Falls
    Sailors Falls

    The walk on the Tipperary Track section had limited markers. However we had no problems until near Hepburn Springs.

    David recorded details on three possible campsites:

    • Tipperary Springs point 3 on the map is very suitable for a site
    • Bryces Flat also good for a site, point 4 on the map
    • Near the Blowhole (point 5 on the map) is suitable but 200m downstream near where a road crosses the river where there is a race site

    The walk finished near the Chocolate factory on the A300 Midland Hwy. The guys walked 16.8Km in about 6 hours.

    Day 4 – 5th May Hepburn Springs area to Vaughan Springs

    We were up early again. We had some masochists among us!

    We headed out to the Chocolate factory but it was closed until 10AM. So we drove down part of the route of the GDT and 5 started walking at the Sawpit Tk junction.

    Around 10 AM the cars met us again and Greg joined them. The intention was to walk through to Vaughan Springs area, however the vehicles met us at the Gurs Tk junction so we finished the day there. The group walked a total of 14.4Km, with Greg (who was still a little off) only walking 9.7Km. We were lifted by car to Central Caravan Park at Castlemaine.

    In this section we passed quite a few ruins of old miners hut, numerous diggings, sluice gullies, races and shafts. We passed names such as Browns Gully (also a hut site) and Sebastopol Gully.

    Several possible campsites were noted such as next to Links Tk junction, near Browns Gully Hut ruin, near Helge Tk junction and opposite the track 250m SE of Tubal Caine Tk junction. None of these seemed to have permanent water.

    Day 5 – 6th May Vaughan Springs to Castlemaine

    Up early at 6.30AM and left caravan park around 7.45AM.

    We started right at Vaughan Springs which has seen better days and walked through the gorge and past some old ruins to Fryerstown for morning tea.

    After that we walked past various mine sites such as Spring Gully No1 mine (1900-1919), Spring Gully stamper battery, and the Spring Gully Junction mine and battery (1898-1911) and the Spring Gully mine of the 1930’s.

    In the afternoon we walked down a well formed race from near the Chewton road to Poverty Gully header dam and then onto the edge of Castlemaine. One section of the race is dug out of solid rock and 3 m deep, Near the Chewton road we passed a horizontal shaft into the hillside right next to the race

    All up we walked a total of 19.9kM right into our CP at Castlemaine. Graham still felt some illness and dropped out near Fryerstown after about 6Km.

    A couple of possible campsites were passed, one being near the Spring Gully Stamper Battery and another 1Km north of the Old Coach Rd.

    Day 6 – 7th April Castlemaine to Dogs Lookout (Mt Alexander)

    We awoke early at 6,30AM as usual.

    Goldfields Sign
    Goldfields Sign at Castlemaine Diggings

    We drove out to Happy Valley Rd and a short way along we found a Goldfields Trail marker.

    We then followed the track past the Manchester Mine site and the nearby Garfield mine and stamper battery wheel structure which was very impressive. We then headed north through some forests and east to a spot overlooking the new Calder Freeway where we lunched. We then went under an underpass, through some fields and past the old Calder Hwy and up past a quarry renowned for its superb granite which was used in Parliament House, Canberra.

    We then climbed up a large hill offering great views. We got confused at one marker that seemed should have pointed up the hill but pointed north across it. The track needs better defining between Markers 801 and 802 as shown on the GPS maps

    This day we did 18.9 km ending on the Joesph Young Drive near Dogs Lookout. Map point 10.

    Possible campsites could be made 400m before the road and 200m NE of where we finished and not far from the rocks.

    Back at the CP at Castlemaine we met a prospector from Tassie, Peter Harris who had an expensive metal detector and showed us some of the small pieces he had recently found. He travels all over Oz prospecting.

    Day 7 – 8th April Lookout (Mt Alexander) to Dissipators (Bryden Rd)

    We started where we finished the previous day and walked through to where the Dissipators finish on Bryden Rd. Our distance was 17.4Km.

    Initially there was a nice sidle along western side of the range ending with a sharp climb to the TV transmitters on Mt Alexander at alt 730m.

    Coliban Water Channel with tunnel
    Coliban Water Channel exits a tunnel

    We then dropped down to the valley and struck the Coliban Water channel that runs 70km from Coliban River to Sandhurst Reservoir near Bendigo. It was built in the 1870’s but has been repaired continuously. It’s a quite large open concrete channel. It has fast flowing water in it which was roughly 2’6” deep.

    We walked alongside this channel right through to the end of the day. However it goes through two tunnels which were dug through solid rock. Quite amazing! These appear to be 5-6’ deep and must have been dug by hand. It quite something that a system built to supply the miners with water at Bendigo in the late 1800’s is still working.

    Near our end point the dissipators and man-made falls are indeed very impressive.

    We noted at least 3 possible campsites along the channel although they may be in private land. However water is available although it would have to be boiled.

    We were picked up at the dissipators and driven to our new home at the Bendigo CP that we liked.

    Coliban Water Channel at Dissipators
    Coliban Water Channel at the Dissipators

    Day 8 – 9th April Sandhurst Reservoir to Bendigo (Diamond Hill Rd)

    We drove up to the gate at Sandhurst Reservoir but could elicit no information on the GDT. It turned out if you follow the fenceline and 4WD east you strike the GDT in about 700m. The plan was to then walk along the GDT until it crossed the Diamond Hill Rd where our two vehicles would pick us up.

    Unfortunately after 3 km they accidently missed a turn and followed the powerline down to Ham Rd roughly 2.2Km NW of where they were supposed to be. Thanks heavens for mobile phones again.

    Over this section they walked some 7.4Km, They should have walked around 4.8Km on the GDT.

    Catholic Cathedral
    Catholic Cathedral Bendigo

    Overall we walked 141Km on the GDT and extra sections we hadn’t planned. This excludes any car travel and tourist walks at Ballarat, Castlemaine and Bendigo.

    Recommendations

    The markers on the Yarrowee Track where the GDT turns off and heads north need to be made more obvious.

    The track needs better defining between Markers 801 and 802 as shown on the GPS maps near Dog Rocks.

    There may be a problem with markers just north of the Sandhurst Reservoir.

    One needs to carry plenty of water and plan for camp sites and accommodation. Also on such trips you may need extra water carrying so use a wine cask bladder or fold up plastic device to enable extra water to be carried.

    Various campsites are possible and these are listed on a separate page with GPS reference. Most do not have ready water.

    The GDT Association needs help to position picnic shelters with rooves that can feed a large water tank. Issues of vandalism dictate its best they be away from roads.

    Documents and Pictures and References

    Maps we used:

    • Wallaby Track (Buninyong to Daylesford)
    • Dry Diggings Track (Daylesford to Castlemaine)
    • Leanganook Track (Castlemaine and Bendigo)

    These three sections of the GDT seem also to be marked as the Goldfields Track and markers with this name are common.

    NOTE THE DATE: The Goldfields Track was launched on Tues 17 May 2011 at Fryerstown School.

    The Goldfield Track Project Committee (GTP) was established in 2008 in line with a business development plan commissioned by the GDTA in 2006 (Going for Gold).  The plan recommended rebranding and promoting the Ballarat to Bendigo section of the Trail as the Goldfields Track.

    See for FAQs on the Goldfield Track

    See also the Great Dividing Trail Association (GDTA).

    Google Drive folder with access to:

    • Location of GPS File on Google Docs
    • Google Earth File on Google Docs
    • This document in Word docx format

    GPS waypoints named as seen. Junction, Points, Campsites, sites etc numbered as XYZ where X is the date ie 2 for 2nd of May, YZ is 01 to 99

    GPS Map view: Tracks shown as Dark Blue are what was walked, Red is the Track parts we missed, Magenta is the actual track parts we drove

    Pictures and GPS map views are on Google Photos

    List of Possible Campsites

    Various campsites are possible and these are listed on a separate page with GPS reference. Most do not have ready water.

    Campsite Waypoints numbered as XYZ where X is the date ie 2 for 2nd of May, YZ is 01 to 99

    GPS readings are all UTM and WGS84 (equivalent to GDA94 map datum)

    Location

    GPS references

    Altitude

    Poss Campsite 201 Chapel Flat

    54 H 757321 5847198

    527 m

    Poss Campsite 301 – Wombat Stn

    55 H 241572 5852943

    636 m

    Poss Campsite 302

    55 H 244108 5856473

    651 m

    Poss Campsite 303 with W

    55 H 244938 5860294

    539 m

    Poss Campsite 304

    55 H 244997 5861312

    521 m

    Poss Campsite 305 with W

    55 H 245047 5861910

    514 m

    Poss Campsite 401 Tipperary Spg

    55 H 244984 5863772

     

    Poss Campsite 402 approx Bryces Flat

    55 H 244772 5865973

     

    Poss Campsite 403 200m down from blowhole

    55 H 244359 5867108

     

    Poss Campsite 501

    55 H 252727 5876851

     

    Poss Campsite 502

    55 H 253382 5877079

    369 m

    Poss Campsite 503

    55 H 253880 5877763

    343 m

    Poss Campsite 504

    55 H 253235 5880522

    342 m

    Poss Campsite 505 (100m across Gully)

    55 H 253233 5880935

     

    Poss Campsite 601

    55 H 254968 5888074

    345 m

    Poss Campsite 602

    55 H 254800 5889801

    367 m

    Poss Campsiite 701

    55 H 260000 5900353

    667 m

    Poss Campsite 702

    55 H 260271 5900790

     

    Poss Campsite 801

    55 H 261005 5903172

    527 m

    Poss Campsite 802 with W

    55 H 260385 5906373

    409 m

    Poss Campsite 803 with W

    55 H 259439 5908195

    415 m

    Accommodation Plan and Locations

    Whilst this largely worked some rates varied slightly

    The original budget of $250 per person was only varied to $254.25 at the end

    Day

    Leg

    Km

    Destination Ref. No.

    Accommodation

    Contact & Booking Details

    30 Apr

    Drive to Ballarat

     

     

    Big 4 Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park
    108 Clayton Rd
    Ballarat, Vic.

    Ph. 03 5332 7888 Lindi
    2 cabins booked
    $212 per night for 8 people

    1 May

    Ballarat

     

     

    Big 4 Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park
    108 Clayton Rd
    Ballarat, Vic.

    Ph. 03 5332 7888 Lindi
    2 cabins booked
    $212 per night for 8 people

    2 May

    Ballarat Railway Station to Creswick

    23.0

    25

    Creswick Caravan Park
    12 Cushing Ave,
    Creswick, Vic.  3363

    Ph. 03 5345 2411 Kathy
    3 cabins booked for 8 people
    1 deluxe $85 & 2 std $65

    3 May

    Wombat Station to Daylesford

    19.0

    43

    Daylesford Caravan Park
    Cnr Ballan Rd & Burrall St
    Daylesford, Vic. 3460

    Ph. 03 5348 3821 Alison
    2 std cabins booked
    $180 per night for 8 people

    4 May

    Daylesford to Midland Highway

    21.4

    11

    Daylesford Caravan Park
    Cnr Ballan Rd & Burrall St
    Daylesford, Vic. 3460

    Ph. 03 5348 3821 Alison
    2 std cabins booked
    $180 per night for 8 people

    5 May

    Midland Highway to Vaughan Springs

    20.5

    27

    Castlemaine Central Caravan
    Park
    101 Barker St
    Castlemaine, Vic. 3450

    Ph. 03 5472 2160 Trudy
    2 family ensuite cabins booked
    $190 per night for 8 people

    6 May

    Vaughan Springs to Castlemaine

    19.3

    38

    Castlemaine Central Caravan
    Park
    101 Barker St
    Castlemaine, Vic. 3450

    Ph. 03 5472 2160 Trudy
    2 family ensuite cabins booked
    $190 per night for 8 people

    7 May

    Castlemaine to Dogs Lookout

    22.0

    11

    Castlemaine Central Caravan
    Park
    101 Barker St
    Castlemaine, Vic. 3450

    Ph. 03 5472 2160 Trudy
    2 family ensuite cabins booked
    $190 per night for 8 people

    8 May

    Harcourt-Sutton Grange Rd to Sandhurst Reservoir

    20.0

    14

    Central City Caravan Park
    362 High St
    Golden Square, Bendigo 3555

    Ph. 03 5443 6937 Caroline
    2 cabins booked
    $220 per night for 8 people

    9 May

    Sandhurst Reservoir to Bendigo

    11.0

    18

    Central City Caravan Park
    362 High St
    Golden Square, Bendigo 3555

    Ph. 03 5443 6937 Caroline
    2 cabins booked
    $220 per night for 8 people

     

     

     

     

     

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