Castlemaine to Hepburn Springs – Great Dividing Trail

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Written by Lucie

Castlemaine to Hepburn Springs is a 44km section of the Dry Diggings Track, part of the Great Dividing Trail in central Victoria (Australia).

Hepburn Springs to Porcupine Ridge Road (15km)

Eight of us set out to hike the majority of this section of the Dry Diggings Track.

After brunch in Hepburn Springs we set out across the river and past the springs, where you can fill your bottles with mineral water if you like the slightly fizzy, slightly sulfury taste.

The hiking team standing at the entrance to the Hepburn Springs park, under the Soldiers Memorial.

We quickly reached Jacksons Lookout Tower, which afforded us nice views of Hepburn Regional Park and across to Wombat State Forest. We then walked on, past Chocolate Mill and into Dry Diggings Bushland Reserve. At around this point Steve turned back and seven continued on.

Jackson Lookout Tower

We walked for a while along Sawpit Gully Road (a very quiet rural ‘road’) and stopped for lunch looking at a field with alpaca. After lunch, the road turned back into a track which we followed through the forest.

We pitched our tents just off the point where the Dry Diggings Track crosses Porcupine Ridge Road. Anne and Steve went home and the remaining six enjoyed a campfire under the stars.

Porcupine Ridge Road to Eureka Reef (23km)

For day two our numbers dropped to four. There were, again, lots of different tracks wandering through the forest, but we stuck to the Dry Diggings Track. Like the day before, a lot of the trail was through dusty forest with eucalypts and evidence of human – often gold mining – activity.

As we neared Vaughn Springs we crossed and walked beside Sailors Gully Creek and the bush started to thin out and there were more open, grassy areas. This was a particularly beautiful section of the track.

Walking along Sailors Gully Creek

We had lunch at Vaughn Springs. Afterwards, we climbed up the hill and got beautiful views

Hills covered with grass and trees and the river in the valley.
The view from above Vaughn Springs

We scooted around Fryerstown, skirted Breakneck Hill and as we walked through the forest we could hear howling from the dingo park (sanctuary?) and knew we were getting close to Eureka Reef. We reached the car and celebrated completing another section of the Great Dividing Trail by stopping at the Shedshaker taproom on the way home.

Eureka Reef to Castlemaine (6km)

A largish group of the Adventure Gang did a 6km section of this, from Castlemaine train station to Eureka reef (and back again) as a day hike on 24 May, 2020. Read about it in the Castlemaine to Eureka Reef blog.