About the Great Dividing Trail Network
The Great Dividing Trail Network, of which the Goldfields Track is a part, was originally planned, developed and maintained by volunteer bushwalking members of a non-profit incorporated association, the Great Dividing Trail Association (GDTA). A linked network of public walking and bike tracks starting on the Dividing Range in central Victoria, Australia, the Great Dividing Trail Network is currently over 300km in length.
John Landy, AC, MBE, former Olympian champion track athlete; Governor of Victoria 2001-2006.
Steve Moneghetti, former Olympian and Commonwealth Games champion marathon athlete: Athletics Australia selector for 2012 London Olympics.
The GDTA was established in 1992 by a small group of volunteers who sought to develop and promote walking tracks linking the gold rush cities and townships of central Victoria. The network’s central hub is Daylesford on top of the southern end of east coast Australia’s Great Dividing Range. The tracks, with a few exceptions, pass through forest and public land. All of the tracks feature mining artefacts dating back to the gold rush era in the mid-19th century.
The Great Dividing Trail Network
The Great Dividing Trail Network (GDTN) consists of five individual tracks. For a map of the network click here.
The southernmost track is the Lerderderg Track, which starts in Daylesford at a new trailhead at the Bridport St Lookout above Lake Daylesford. It can be accessed at the halfway mark from Blackwood and the final trailhead is the Bacchus Marsh railway station. Posts marking the track are blue-topped. Track maintenance and promotion is the responsibility of the GDTA in association with the land managers.
Four other tracks form the 214km Goldfields Track, which stretches from Mt Buninyong through the gold rush era towns of Ballarat, Creswick, Daylesford and Castlemaine to Bendigo.
Overall marketing and promotion of the Goldfields Track is the responsibility of Goldfields Track Inc (GTI), a committee of representatives nominated by land management bodies. It includes members of the GDTA and community reps. The GDTA initiated formation of the GTI in 2010.
Shared Use by Walkers, Trail Runners and Bike Riders
The majority of both the Lerderderg Track and the Goldfields Track are designated as ‘shared use’ for walkers, trail runners and bike riders. Where bike use is considered as unsuitable, a separate bike route is designated.
Five bike diversions exist on the Lerderderg Track, which follows a steep gradient down a river to a gorge mouth. The GDTA has followed national walk/ride standards in assessing the degree of difficulty of each of the track’s seven sections.
Bike diversions on the Goldfields Track add an additional 36km to its 214km.
Maps, Guidebook and Circuit Walks/Rides
The GDTA have produced a map for the Lerderderg Track, including bike diversions, and maps for the Dry Diggings and Leanganook tracks. The GDTA has also produced and distributes a guidebook for the Goldfields Track. A 2nd edition was published in December 2017, the Goldfields Track Walk or Ride Guide.
Online downloadable gpx files of all tracks are available on the GDTA website here. The guidebook and maps for the Lerderderg, Dry Diggings and Leanganook tracks can be purchased online here or at regional information centres or retail outlets listed on the website here. The Wallaby Track map is out of print.
Circuit walks and/or rides commencing on the Goldfields Track around major regional towns with detailed maps have been prepared here.
The Ararat Circuit Track (14.5km) map is downloadable for free from this website here.
Land Management and Track Maintenance
The land managers for the Lerderderg Track are DELWP, Parks Victoria and the shires of Hepburn and Moorabool. The GDTA has developed track maintenance arrangements with the land managers (or is in the process of so doing).
The land managers for the Goldfields Track are Parks Victoria, DELWP, cities of Ballarat and Bendigo, shires of Hepburn and Mt Alexander, Central Highlands Water and Coliban Water, together with several committees of management. Small sections are under the management of either VicRoads or VicTrack.
Track maintenance is shared for the Goldfields Track. The GDTA is responsible for co-ordinating track maintenance on the southern end of the Goldfields Track between Daylesford and Buninyong. For maintenance issues relating to the northern half of the Goldfields Track between Daylesford and Bendigo, contact GTI here.
Joining the GDTA
Anyone can become a member of the Great Dividing Trail Association. Annual membership entitles you to regular newsletter bulletins, information about the Association’s walking and interpretation program focused around the trail, as well as discounts for publications.
The GDTA is always seeking volunteers to aid in regular patrols of the network, reporting back on issues such as fallen trees; as well as carrying out supervised track maintenance, such as replacing damaged posts. To be added to the volunteer list, email the Maintenance Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW GUIDEBOOK NOW AVAILABLE
But while the downloadables are great, to ensure you are on track, and to fully experience the area, seriously consider purchasing a printed map or Guidebook. You can do research before you head off by purchasing a copy of the Goldfields Track Guidebook.
The Guide does more than just show you the way, it includes informative essays and information on the area’s flora, fauna, cultural and natural history to be discovered along the track. It is highly recommended for anyone exploring the Goldfields Track.
Click here to visit the GDTA’s online shop for the walker’s only individual maps.