Great Dividing Trail
(includes Goldfields Trail)

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Introduction

Located in central Victoria, west of Melbourne, this 270 kilometer trail passes through what was once the richest gold mining area of the world. The trail design itself is very unusual as it has three arms, which meet at the historic town of Daylesford. This means that if you walk this as a through track, you will only complete two of the arms.

All three arms have been completed - you can walk from either Bendigo, Ballarat or Bacchus Marsh to Daylesford. It has been proposed to extend the track further west to the Grampians and a route has been suggested and publicly displayed. Another proposal is to extend the track east to Mt Macedon.

The track can be walked by anyone with average fitness. It is suitable for less experienced walkers and travellers as the weather is rarely extreme and much of the walking is on firm tracks or old roads.

There are very few designated campsites along the track which usually have a water supply. There are no fees or bookings needed for the track. Camping is allowed in someof the forest through which the track passes but no facilities are provided. In particular you should either carry water or treat local supplies as water can be hard to find on some sections. Some pre-place water drops and that is a good solution. There are several small towns and settlements in the area and many farms. None of the water in the streams is safe to drink without treatment.

The best periods to walk are autumn and spring. Winter can be rather cold and wet and summer can be extremely hot.

History

In 1992, the suggestion was proposed to create a regional walking track to link the towns of Ballarat, Castlemaine and Bacchus Marsh. Within a year the Great Dividing Trail Association was established and funding was sought and won from a variety of sources. In 1995, they published their first map for the Dry Diggings section and continued work on upgrading this section with bridges, signposting etc. In 1997, this section was officially opened. The Association has now published  three maps covering all of the Bendigo to Ballarat section. The leg through Lerderderg Gorge is mapped fairly well on other maps

The trail does not follow the Great Dividing Trail, rather it crosses it once and it seemed to be an odd name for the trail. An extension has been proposed to the west towards the gold mining areas near the Grampians and so far the track has been extended from Ballarat to Mt Buninyong. The sections from Ballarat to Bendigo has been also named as the Goldfields Trail, both names are displayed on signposts. The Goldfields Trail is designed for bicycles and currently some alternative routes for bicycles are being marked as parts of the Great Dividing Trail are too rough or too dangerous for bicycles.

Location

The track is located about 90km west of Melbourne.

Access

Ballarat, Castlemaine and Bendigo can be accessed by public transport with railway services and buses.

Maps and Track Notes

Currently, the Great Dividing Trail Association publishes the following maps. 'The Dry Diggings Track' covers Castlemaine to Daylesford. 'Wallaby Track' covers Mt Buninyong to Daylesford. Leanganook Track which covers Castlemaine to Bendigo.

Detailed VICMAP 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 topographic maps are available for the entire track but it is not yet shown on many of the maps.

Suggested Itinerary (for Ballarat to BendigoCastlemaine to Ballarat)


This is the one we used when we walked all arms of the track in March 2011

1 Ballarat to Slaty Creek
2 To creek north of Cosgrove Reservoir***
3 To Mullens dam
4 To Daylesford (town)
5 To Mt Franklin, a few km off the track
  6
  To Vaughan Springs
7
To Castlemaine (town)
8
To Expedition Pass Reservoir***
  9
  To Mt Alexander***
 10
  To Sandhurst Reservoir***
 11
  To Bendigo (town)
 12
  To Bendigo (town)
 13
  Bus to Daylesford, to  Nolans Picnic Ground
 14
  To O.Briens Picnic Ground
 15
  To Kenworthy Track (followed the river, not the track)
 16
  To Long Point
 17
  To Bacchus Marsh

*** There is no obvious campsite at these locations 

Permits

None are needed to walk this track.

More Information

Contact the Great Dividing Trail Association, PO Box 429, Daylesford, 3460 or visit their web site, www.gdt.org.au

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Last updated : December 8th 2015