Written by Lucie
Over 14 and 15 September we tackled Mount Buninyong to Creswick. This is the Eureka Track section of the Great Dividing Trail and is 43km.
As with most of the Great Dividing Trail the camping options are extremely limited. We had two cars available which meant we could do a bit of shuffling around to make it work. We:
- hiked from Mount Buninyong to Ballarat (17km)
- drove to Creswick train station
- hiked from Creswick train station to Slaty Creek camp ground (7km)
- camped at Slaty Creek camp ground
- hiked from Slaty Creek camp ground to Ballarat (19km).
Mount Buninyong to Ballarat (24km)
We started our walk at the top of Mount Buninyong and climbed up the lockout tower, which gave us a great view of the surrounding area and where we would be walking. It was a warm, sunny day and we were all very happy.
We walked down the west side of the hill and along footpaths towards Buninyong. About 5km in, we stopped for a coffee (luxury!) We then set off north towards Ballarat.
The walk was quite gentle, easy to follow and pretty. The Eureka Track first followed the Buninyong Creek a short way, before a section where the track follows along next to Geelong Road (fortunately it is a quiet, rural road). The track then leaves the road and follows Canadian Creek, almost all the way into Ballarat.
The path is a shared cycle and footpath. The creek was lovely, the spring flowers were beginning to peek out, birds were chirping… We went past a mountain biking area, a few small lakes and lots of houses with bundles of firewood under the veranda.
We ate lunch as a picnic bench next to the creek before we reached the outskirts of Ballarat. The last 1.5km went through the town to reach the train station and the car. In the town we walked back and forth along a few streets to get a couple of beers for dinner and use the train station toilets (there weren’t many toilet options along the creek!).
Creswick to Slaty Creek camp ground (7km)
We then drove up to Creswick train station. Caroline drove on to the camp ground and the rest of us hiked to camp.
The first thing to do was to cross Creswick from the train station (west) and get out to St George’s Lake (east), which is a fairly big, beautiful lake. We then crossed the road and found ourselves looking down into Blue Waters, which I think is a flooded quarry. It is a much smaller lake and is – unsurprisingly – very blue. It probably has a high mineral content.
After Blue Waters we hiked south through Creswick State Forest. There are lots of different paths through this forest so we were careful to check the signs and our map at each junction.
The forest is quiet and offered a gentle and somewhat meandering walk to camp.
Slaty Creek camp ground is a drive-in site with toilets. It was very quiet (it was September!) and attractive, full of eucalypts and the creek running along the side.
Slaty Creek camp ground to Ballarat (19km)
The next morning, we packed up while a group set up for a child’s birthday party. Caroline set off toward home and Mark, Lucie, Jon and Vanessa continued walking. We hiked south, out of the camp ground and along Slaty Creek and then along Sawpit Creek. As with other sections of the Great Dividing Trail, there were lots of criss-crossing paths so we had to be careful to stay on the Eureka Track/Wallaby Track. There were also artefacts left over from gold mining days.
We went past White Swan Reservoir, which has a few buildings still sat on its banks, and a few other, much smaller ponds and waterholes. At some point we also had a long talk around the different names for rocks of different sizes (e.g. gravel, pebble, stone, boulder) and the size range for each. Important stuff gets discussed on the trial.
We ate lunch at a pretty point on the track. Then the Eureka Track picked up the Yarrowee River, ducked under the Western Freeway, and reached the outskirts of Ballarat. We followed the river past reserves, Black Hill and then into town, the car and the end of our weekend’s walk.