Daylesford: Sailors Falls circuit 22km

Off to former gold digging country, Sailors Falls south of Daylesford to be precise. Named after two former sailors who found gold there. Sailors Falls is where I commenced my hiking circuit from, but starting from Jubilee Lake or Daylesford Lake would work too.

Today’s hike…

Good Mrs is in Sydney for work and one week early Mothers Day celebrations (next weekend) so I spent 3 days here. 2 nights accommodation booked in Daylesford. Today hiking by myself, tomorrow hiking with YHA Bushwalking Club and Sunday, well, back to Melbourne.

I parked the car at Sailors Falls around 7.30am. Cold and frosty morning. The car thermometer said 2 degrees Celsius…

As my Old Man used to say, “no bad weather, only bad clothes” or “Inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder” in Swedish. Sounds better in Swedish as it rhymes…

Anyway, four layers of clothing and beanie on… It should get warmer later…

Frosty start of the day

Doesn’t this landscape look a bit nippy?

Looking north from Shanahans Lane

Soon I was into the woods. This hike follows the Three Lost Children Walk. And Goldfields Track. And Great Dividing Trail. Sometimes all at once.

The story of the “three lost children” here.

Three Lost Children Walk sign

The tracks were wet at times, with water collecting at low ground. Sometimes muddy, and sometimes muddy and steep up or down. Yes, I exercised “monkey feet” at times… As possible that is in hiking boots… The hiking poles helped too.

What goes down… must come up…

Part of the trail is through a dismantled railway cutting as per below.

Dismantled railway cutting

After a bit of zigging and zagging, I arrived at the entrance to Jubilee Lake Caravan Park. Next to Jubilee Lake. Obviously. I wandered in.

Turn here for Jubilee Lake

Jubilee Lake and the area around it is stunning. A perfect place for a tea and cookies break. Warning: Several Jubilee Lake pics next.

Jubilee Lake – pic 1 of 6

Jubilee Lake one way…

Jubilee Lake – pic 2 of 6

…and the other. The glorious autumn colors from the tree leaves didn’t deter…

Jubilee Lake – pic 3 of 6

I decided to hike around Jubilee Lake. An extra diversion I didn’t regret. The below trees look planted some time ago and are on the eastern side of the lake.

Jubilee Lake – pic 4 of 6

Sooner or later, you would need to cross water to reach Jubilee Lake’s northern side. This cool old bridge was it. Some of the trees from the previous picture are in the background.

Jubilee Lake – pic 5 of 6

Looking across Jubilee Lake towards the southern side and the caravan park. The paddle boats for hire to the right may give that away. No wind here, although there were bursts of wind activity throughout the day.

Jubilee Lake – pic 6 of 6

There is a four-way track junction the western side of Jubilee Lake. I arrived from the right below and continued left.

Up those artistic steps and you follow an old rail trail, now part of Great Dividing Trail. The timber structure above is an old railway bridge, likely part of that earlier dismantled railway.

Four-way track junction at western side of Jubilee Lake

I then took some artistic liberty by diverting from my suggested trail map. The map said walking along the busy Daylesford Ballan Road, but that right wide trail looked more enticing.

Trail at back of houses along Daylesford Ballan Road

That only partly worked.

My hiking map suggested suburbia walking off Daylesford Ballan Road through Burrall Street to reach Lake Daylesford.

Mmmm… nice enough to live there, but why hike through it? Rehiking this, I would follow Daylesford Ballan Road north towards Daylesford, walking on that wide shared bike and walking path. Deserting it when Lake Daylesford appears and walk towards it.

Almost there now, Lake Daylesford is behind that red-leafed tree. First, a kookaburra on the path, showing no inclination to move. In fact, I passed him with by perhaps one meter. Cool bugger. I reckon the residents and visitors feed him. Lots.

Kookaburra with no fear

Crossing Lake Daylesford’s dam wall, I think another cuppa. Those benches over there look attractive.

Dam wall at Lake Daylesford

Yep, could be worse. Views of Lake Daylesford from my picnic bench.

Lake Daylesford

Daylesford was once called Wombat Flat Diggings before they renamed it. Daylesford sounds better in my view. Things you ponder on…

After my break, I continued walking downstream. Across that bridge and onto the opposite side.

Downstream from Lake Daylesford

Intriguing creek crossing… Stable bridge (after “road testing” it before crossing). Looked like an amusement park attraction…

Leaning bridge – for your amusement

I mentioned trail names. A good example here as it’s part of three trails. Perhaps some trail name rationalisation…?

Great Dividing Trail, Goldfields Track, Three Lost Children Walk… all pass here

I chuckled seeing this sign. If Old Ballarat Road passed here, it must be very early days of the colony. Today, barely a management trail. Ballarat, for non-Australian visitors, was a goldfields town and is a major regional centre today.

Old Ballarat Road goes here

Sailors Creek gets plenty of water after rain. Expect to get your feet wet, the trail notes said. Not so today…

Crossing Sailors Creek

The second part of today’s hike from Lake Daylesford back to Sailors Falls looked much like below. You cross Hepburn Regional Park from north to south through plenty of tall trees.

Inside Hepburn Regional Park

Ha! This made me giggle. I’ve never encountered a sign like that but referring to the map, this trail lead nowhere. It will just stop.

Wrong way trail

Almost back at Sailors Falls, I arrived at its mineral springs.

Sailors Falls mineral springs… what’s left of them

Disappointment. I saw one functional tap and its water was polluted the sign said. No mineral water tasting today. Well, it’s normally pretty putrid anyway in my view…

THE spring

I should have anticipated this. Sailors Falls picnic area and its parking lot are up there. I saw workmen and fences when I arrived. Construction site. New stairs. Don’t enter. What to do? Well, backtrack of course. Find an alternative way up…

Sailors Falls steps – between parking lot and the falls

…but not until checking out THE Sailors Falls themselves. Barely more than trickle today…

Sailors Falls

The detour added a couple of kilometers to today’s hike, but that’s fine. I was in no rush to complete. As I exited the alternative bushwalk onto Telegraph Road, an information sign. OK, I saw others before but ignored reading them.

Access to Sailors Falls alternative walking trail

The last 1+km back to Sailors Falls parking lot was along Telegraph Road. Pretty country road, but not exactly hiking.

I arrived safe and sound back at the car and drove into Daylesford. Time is past 2 pm which coincidentally is check in time for my accommodation…

A beautiful hike today, plenty of resting places and toilets around the lakes, with alternative route options. I’m sure to return… And the weather warmed up too… 🙂

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