Dry Diggings Track

LAKE DAYLESFORD TO CASTLEMAINE STATION (58km)

Australia’s first National Heritage Park, the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, was created in 2002 in recognition of the place’s association with the Victorian gold rush.


The track follows old 1850s gold rush water races from the wet temperate forests on top of the Great Dividing Range at Daylesford to the dry northern plains and Forest Creek gold diggings around Castlemaine.

The Tipperary Walk contours on steep slopes through pleasant bush following watercourses on the outskirts of the twin gold rush and mineral spa towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. There are many car access points, making this section ideal for short walks.

The Mt Franklin View Walk/Ride largely follows rough 4WD tracks through scrubby box forest. Both the Golden Mountain and Cry Joe walks/rides offer a fascinating insight into the gold rush era, traversing narrow, high-walled gullies pockmarked with mine shafts and riddled with stone ruins.

If you want, you can bypass Castlemaine, linking directly with the Leanganook Track. The link route commences to the north of The Monk and goes via Chewton.

The Dry Diggings Track is broken into four Walks/Rides starting from the south and heading north – see panels on the left for the features and photo galleries of each of these.

A downloadable gpx file of the Dry Diggings Track Walk is freely available by clicking here.

A downloadable gpx file of the Dry Diggings Track Ride is freely available by clicking here.

Refer maps 16b - 24a of the Goldfields Track Walk or Ride Guide

RRP $29.99 (inc. P&H)

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.

DRY DIGGINGS TRACK ELEVATION

The Dry Diggings Track twists and turns on narrow tracks contouring along steep slopes following water races above streams underhanging Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. This section is not suitable for bikes. From Breakneck Gorge, drop through walls of blackberries to Golden Springs and a track intersection with the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve.

The Mt Franklin View Walk/Ride largely follows rough 4WD tracks through forest. Start with a steep pitch to Mannings Rd and first glimpses of Mt Franklin’s distinctive cone. Down to wind around the massive erosion pillars of Beehive Gully. Take a break at the Chocolate Mill, before crossing the highway and continuing down a sandy road. Leave this and regain height lost on a singletrack through box forest next to Tarilta Gorge.

Golden Mountain Walk/Ride starts at Porcupine Ridge Rd. From the ridge, down to follow Browns Gully, then steeply uphill before a sharp drop to Wewak Trk. Brace yourself for a series of twisting, narrow gold rush gullies that descend in stages to Tubal Cain Mine. After a short reprise, long uphill grind to Gurr Trk. Walkers and bikers separate. The last pitch for walkers into Vaughan Springs is very steep and rough, including steps and a narrow water race with a sheer drop.

Cry Joe Walk/Ride starts with a track separation for bikers and walkers. The climb out of the Loddon River is as tortuous as the way down, although involving some rewarding views. From Three Ways Rd, the shared use singletrack goes up and over the old Irishtown gold workings before hitting Fryers Crk flats. Up to the bitumen and the campground in Fryerstown. Undulating track to Spring Gully mines and beyond to contour on a water race around the base of The Monk. Lots of singletrack and rough going. This continues on your winding way along the Poverty Gully water race before hitting suburban Castlemaine. You could bypass Castlemaine to link with the Leanganook Track at Dingo Park Rd (feature pt 37).

What you can expect to see