Getting There: Car
Nearest Town: Daylesford
Walk Area: Central Victoria
Distance from Melbourne GPO: 127 km
Mobile Phone Coverage: Yes but coverage varies by provider
Walk Details Collated: May 2015
This walk involves off-track walking and should therefore only be attempted by parties experienced in the use of map and compass and equipped with a topographic map covering the walk. The provided walk map is unsuitable for navigation purposes.
This area is named for the extinct volcano, Bald Hill, which spread its lava north-westwards to form the farming lands of basalt amidst ancient ordovician slates and shales. These form the gold-bearing quartz underlying the central Victorian goldfields. These goldfields required water to wash the pay dirt, which was supplied by water races. Some races conveyed water from up to 20 km away near Twin Bridges.
From the starting point (GR 424677) proceed south for 0.9 km on Basalt Road to the junction with Old Werona Road (GR 425669). Turn south-west and proceed 500 m to a four-way track Junction (GR 421667) and take the right fork south-west. Follow this minor track to the Charlesford Dam and Mine. The mine is about 200 m west of the track junction at GR 422656. Take time to enjoy the ruins of mining operations.
After inspecting the ruins walk back to the track junction and continue on the track for about 1.7 km to Basalt Road at GR 427652. Along this section of Boots Gully there are many ruins. Cross over the road to the start of Humbug Track heading south-east. Follow this track for 2 km to a minor track junction at GR 436639. Take the track east for 300 m to Bald Hill Road at GR 439638.
Proceed generally north on Bald Hill Road for 1.9 km to the Excelsior Track junction at GR 443656. Turn south-west onto the track and proceed for 400 m to GR 441657. In the gully to the north is a water race. Follow the race north along the contours for 800 m to a gully at GR 441660. Walk north up the gully to a track intersection at GR 441662. Take the track north 450 m to GR 440667. Turn left off the track and head downhill to meet a water race at GR 439666 at the head of Long Gully. Turn right (north) and follow the race on the west side of the gully until it meets Blowhole Track at GR 434673. Continue west on this track for 100 m and pass Yam Gully Road on the right.
Turn right at the next junction (GR 431672). Proceed for about 1.2 km to meet Basalt Road at GR 430681. Turn left and follow Basalt Road down into Boots Gully (GR 426679). Turn right onto Henderson Spring Track and follow the water race to the spring. The spring water may be sampled here. Look across Boots Gully and you should see a faint track, follow this, or simply walk straight across the gully south-west to an old vehicular track. Proceed downhill to the right to the old Boots Gully Slate Mine. Return uphill to where you met the track and continue along the track to the walk start.
To view more on the map, zoom in or out, click the symbols and the walk route. To open a full screen version of the map, right-click and open in another tab or window. An image of the map can also be downloaded310.62 KB.
From Melbourne head west via the M1, M80 and the Western Freeway/Highway (M8) and take the C141 exit, turning north to Daylesford. From Daylesford drive north on Main Road for 4 km and turn left onto Hepburn-Newstead Road. Follow this for 5.5 km to Basalt Road opposite the Lavendula complex. Turn left onto Basalt Road and proceed for a further 5 km. Pass through the Boots Gully area (it's clearly marked with lots of boots) and stop just at the edge of the open farmland. Parking is nearby, just off-road or 100 m before the edge of the open farm-land (Grid Reference (GR) 424677).
Total uphill: 220 m
Gradient: generally <10%
Path: roads, tracks and off-track on water races