Dry Diggings Track
Australia’s first National Heritage Park, the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park was created in 2002 in recognition of the region’s intimate association with the Victorian gold rush era. From the wet temperate forests on top of the Divide to the dry northern plains, it’s a roller coaster journey for most of the way and not recommended for the inexperienced walker or novice rider. At its outset, the walking track contours on steep slopes above Sailors Creek, hidden away in forest from the mineral spa towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. The bike route goes through town before rejoining the shared use track at Golden Springs. Soon after, your arrival at the spectacular erosion columns of Beehive Gully acts as a fitting introduction to the typical narrow, high-walled gullies pockmarked with mine shafts and riddled with stone ruins, encountered throughout this track. What you are traversing in places like Browns, Sebastopol and Sailors gullies is an open air museum consisting of a century and a half of old mining artefacts – a ghostly, abandoned landscape fading back into bush.