Today’s hike follows the Goldfields Track on either side of Castlemaine. Add a connection via a gravel road / firetrail and you have a circuit.
The walk is again organised by YHA Bushwalking Club and I am attending… The map…
I stayed Saturday night in Castlemaine, my hostel being 5 minutes away from our meeting place. Hence I’m early, second hiker to arrive at Western Reserve off Wheeler Street. A selfie while waiting for the remaining hikers to arrive from Melbourne.
Once everybody arrived, our group takes off on Leanganook Track, alongside Forest Creek on the right. Leanganook Track forms part of the longer Goldfields Track.
After crossing the Pyrenees Highway, a short stretch up Burke Street; Leanganook Track and Forest Creek continue. Easy relaxing walking, on a bright and warm spring day.
Time for a second selfie, capturing other hikers behind me this time…
Looking back yet again… The Leanganook Track kind of follows suburbia, but it’s green, lush and much pleasant.
The good ol’ Goldfields Track signboard came into view. These signboards are plentiful, here and elsewhere, which is great.
Soon we entered Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park.
Open green spaces. The Castlemaine area gets hot and dry in summer but it’s a gorgeous mid-spring day today.
None in the group knew the purpose and meaning of that area on the left. Of course, we all checked it out.
A bit of everything there, it seemed. Certainly, the artwork celebrated the area’s goldmining past but there were also some aborginal connection.
By the way, that big rock in the foreground is not a rock. It’s hollow and appeared to be made of plaster.
Continue hiking on Leanganook Track / Goldfields Track “forever” was not an option. Doing so would eventually bring us to Bendigo. Therefore, soon we departed the Leanganook Track, crossed the Pyrenees Highway again and walked up Eureka Street. The word “Eureka” originates from ancient Greek and means “I have found (it)”, likely from a gold prospecting perspective…
Eureka Street was soon renamed Dingo Park Road. No dingos in sight. And certainly not in a park formation.
Below is an old house, with the club’s “old timer” hiker in front. I thought that there was some symbolism in this photo. And I don’t mean that in any derogatory or negative way. He hiked very well.
At one point, we crossed the trainline on an old historic bridge. Difficult to give the bridge justice in a photo, but I tried a different angle as per below.
The gravelled Dingo Park Road ascended gently among more traditional dry Australian bush. The former green lushness now gone.
A six(!)-way trail junction came into view. Dingo Park Road continued straight ahead being to the left in the photo below.
Dry Diggings Track offered two alternatives for our next move here. One fire trail straight up, a short cut, or a traditional track called Dry Diggings Track, marked by the bottom sign in the photo below.
Curiously, the track in the middle below was signless here and nameless on Google Maps.
The group elected to hike up the fire trail to The Monk. Almost there below…
The Monk at 510 meters was the highest point in today’s walk. It was also the setting for our lunch. To the right of where I took the photo above. Everybody sought shade wherever possible.
After lunch, we backtracked down to the 6-track trail junction. From there, we would follow Poverty Gully Water Race track / Goldfields Track back to Castlemaine. Back at that junction below.
Poverty Gully Water Race was constructed in 1877 to supply water to the goldfields. I assume that the trail alongside the water race has been there for people to walk on since then. Nowadays, likely supporting hikers and perhaps mountain bikers only.
Given the need for a gentle slope, the Poverty Gully Water Race winds back and forth along the hillside. With that gentle descent in our favour.
The old Poverty Gully Basin is overgrown today. Looked like it contained little or no water.
A couple of more pictures as our group follow the Poverty Gully Water Race back to Castlemaine…
The familiar white marker on yellow background confirmed that we are indeed still hiking the Goldfields Track.
The last distance, before arriving at the Goldfields Track’s southern trailhead in Castlemaine, is again marked as Dry Diggings Track according to Google Maps. The water race continues a short distance further, but away from “our” trail.
The trailhead is at the intersection of Etty Street and Wheeler Street in Castlemaine. Off road parking is available there.
Walking along Wheeler Street through Castlemaine suburbia will take us Western Reserve where we parked our vehicles. The spring flowers were out in force, which made the streetscape colourful and pretty.
The hike took exactly 4 hours including short water breaks and lunch. A varying hike through interesting former goldmining country. Marked by the club as Easy/Medium which is about right. Perhaps with a leaning towards Easy.
A fantastic way of spending a few hours on a Sunday. I will be back… on the Goldfields Track…