Getting There: Car
Nearest Town: Daylesford
Walk Area: Central Victoria
Distance from Melbourne GPO: 133 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.
Visit the Vaughan Mineral Springs picnic ground on the banks of the Loddon River where alluvial gold was discovered in July 1851, and where following an influx of Chinese miners a township called The Junction was formed, together with a market garden. By the end of the nineteenth century gold mining had declined in the area. However mineral springs were discovered in 1910 and the area became a popular destination for health and recreation. Today mineral spring water can be sampled in the springs. The Tubal Cain mining complex with its horizontal chimney, dam, building ruins and several open shafts are also visited along the track.
The walk starts at the junction of Porcupine Ridge Road and Helge Track. Head north-east along Helge Track, which winds for 1.2 km over boggy areas and rough ground to the intersection with the Great Dividing Trail (GDT) at Sailors Gully. Continue on Helge Track for a further 1.5 km until it meets Italian Hill Track. Turn left onto Italian Hill Track and go uphill 1 km to the slate quarry, which is a few metres from the track on the left hand side.
Continue on the track descending to the Loddon River and then ascending on its left-hand side. At GR 533826 walk north-east off-track for 1 km. Follow along an old fence line and then north-east along the ridge until it reaches a knoll. Continue north-east along the ridge to the water race along the Loddon River (GR 540832). Walk a further 20m towards the Loddon River and, depending on the water level, cross it and arrive at Glenluce Springs.
Return back to the water race and turn right (west). Walk along the water race to a fence (GR 532834) and turn right into a grassy area and walk between an old orchard and the river. Go back to the water race, which at GR 528833 meets the GDT 2.2 km from the start of the water race. Walk on the GDT for 200m north and cross over the Loddon River on the weir wall to the Vaughan Springs picnic ground. From the picnic ground walk 500 m north-west to the Chinese Burial Ground. Retrace your steps via the GDT (south) for 900 m to the junction with Italian Hill track (GR 528829). Continue south on Gurr Track until the GDT turns off Gurr Track at (GR 526821).
Turn left (south) on the GDT and walk for 1.4 km to reach the Tubal Cain mining complex on the right, and a dam on the left. Walk another 100m and take the right track, which is the water race along Sailors Gully. The GDT meets Helge Track after 700m. Turn right (west) onto Helge Track and retrace your steps to the start of the walk.
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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 via Howe and Raglan Streets onto the Midland Highway (A300) for 1 km and turn right onto Daylesford-Malmsbury Road for 900 m then turn left onto Porcupine Ridge Road.
Follow this road northwards for 18.1 km, the last 7 km of which is unsealed, to the junction with Helge Track and the start of the walk.
Total uphill: 400 m
Gradient: short hills to 20%
Path: well formed tracks with some off-track