Great Dividing Trail - Daylesford to Castlemaine

Discussion in 'XC / cross country' started by tmarsh, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. tmarsh

    tmarsh Likes Dirt

    Has anyone ridden the GDT from Daylesford to Castlemaine in Victoria? It's listed as being 57km of walking track and from what I can see on the Bicycle Victoria website it's certainly possible to ride much of it. Any personal experience? How long, trail conditions etc.

  2. solo

    solo Likes Dirt

    yes i have ridden that exact section of gdt many times
    we normally ride from lake daylesford to vaughnn springs carpark which is about 45 kms about 30 -35kms of this singletrack
    from vaughnn you can continue on to castlemaine
    all in all it is really one of the best riding spots around here
    the singletrack is not overly technical for anyone who rides fairly often and all climbs are rideable
    it has some really nice flowing sections i'm sure you will love it
    if you research it on the net you can get a map
  3. Some Guy

    Some Guy Likes Bikes and Dirt

    You couldn't give us a link could you?
  4. John U

    John U MTB Precision

    The ride is listed in the second edition of Off Road Cycling Adventures by Keiran Ryan. You can get it in a lot of bike shops or from Information Victoria in Collins St.
    I rode the first bit 20 km's from Castlemaine to Daylesford. It took me quite a while because I wasn't sure where I was going. I didn't think it was that well marked. I had the previously mentioned book and a GPS and wanted to pretty sure where I was going because I was by myself.
    It would be an excellent ride to do with some one who knew the track.
    The first bit out of Castlemaine along the aqueduct above the Wattle Gully mine is really good. I am looking to do the entire ride some time in the future.
  5. funky

    funky Likes Dirt

    I've done most of it too... from cacklemaine to Daylesford.

    Although as John U said, it can be fairly difficult to work out where you are going, but maybe that is because "Off Road Cycling Adventures" by Keiran Ryan seemed to take you off (unnecessarily) the "Dry Diggings Track".

    I wasn't responsible for directions that day, so I'm not 100% certain.

    Also, because we had so much trouble finding our way along, (we made a few wrong turns), it turned into a very long day and ended up having to bail to the road to finish it off.

    Also, the book didn't specify, but Vaughan Springs is a short turn off from the actual track. This is the only spot to get fresh drinking water. Also, a great spot for a swim in Summer if you aren't running too late.

    Search: "Dry Diggings Track"

    IIRC there are proper (ie Walking) maps for it.

    A quick look has shown
  6. StanzaRallyMan

    StanzaRallyMan Likes Bikes

    I did this ride last December.

    I'll back up up Solo said. The start of the GDT from Daylesford is not worth doing. It is unridable and takes forever when you have to walk, and you WILL have to walk.

    The ORCA book details how to get to the start of the good riding. I think this is around the Hepburn Springs area (?). From there it is a great ride. Not very technical or hilly, but a good days ride.

    The trail is well sign posted and I dont think you would need a map, however, I would not go without one. In the 60km, I only got misalinged twice.

    I am hoping to do this ride again in Decembe. It is great fun.

    BTW, the ride from Creswick to Daylseford is good also, although it does have 15km or bitumuen.
  7. funky

    funky Likes Dirt

    That is my recollection (from 2003), and how I knew we kept on being diverted off the DDC. I'd still want a map as well.
  8. solo

    solo Likes Dirt

    i am actually doing this ride next weekend and i think the only bit that is unrideable is a fire road section from the hepburn springs turnoff to the chocolate factory at the base of mt franklin
    it is steep and not cleared very well probably the least used section of the whole trail
    i agree with others comments that the part of the trail from castlemaine to vaughnn springs picnic area is not well marked at all but the next section from vaughnn to mt franklin has posts with walking track arrows showing you where to go
    the section from daylesford to the hepburn turnoff i mentioned earlier is all singletrack and you only have to stop to negotiate some rocks that you cannot ride through
    from daylesford to vaughnn is 41kms(if you dont go to hepburn for some sustanence if so add 6kms)
    and to castlemaine is about 57kms

    the maps can be found at
  9. windlessdog

    windlessdog Squid

    Hi I no its an old thread but I,m heading up this weekend and I,m gunna ride the trail if anyone has any current info it would be great especially how long it takes oneway and return thanks
  10. HIFI2009

    HIFI2009 Likes Bikes

    I remember this thread from when I was researching the GDT (now called the Goldfields Track). We did Bendigo - Castlemaine - Daylesford - Ballarat, three days riding. The section from Bendigo to Castlemaine is around 50% fire road following the aqueduct / water system. Castlemaine to Daylesford probably has the most singletrack but is has a bit of everything - fire road, double track, bitumen. Definitely the most "mountain bike" section". Daylesford to Ballarat has lots and lots of logging trails through the forests but was very, very wet and muddy when we did it (about four weeks ago).

    The signposting is very good. The only point where we got lost was coming out of Harcourt where a sign (on bitumen road) is missing one way, it's there for the other way (which is how we guessed the right way in the end). It gets a bit confusing in the towns but that may just be because the signs are now competing with others.

    As for timing, I guess we left Castlemaine at 9am and got into Daylesford around 3pm. We're not superstar riders but reasonably fit. There are occasional walking sections on each of the three sections but they are brief.

    Good luck and full report please.

    Regards, Mark
  11. cooken

    cooken Likes Dirt


    good timing. I did this ride on Saturday. I rode from Hepburn Springs to Castlemaine and back again, it took me about 5 and a half hours, totalled around 95km.
    (edit: If you're also thinking of a return trip I'll just add that I was using this as a training ride, was pushing pretty hard and only stopped in Castlemaine for water. I was fairly knackered at the end. I consider myself to be pretty fit so you might want to take that into consideration, a return trip could be a big day)

    If you're starting in Hepburn Springs I would recommend starting from the end of Golden Springs Avenue – it’s easy to find the track at the end of the road, head right. If you’re ‘only’ going one direction, I think that Hepburn to Castlemaine is the most fun (more downhill).

    You can buy a map from the tourist info offices in Daylesford but I don’t think you really need one.

    All of the track was rideable and in good condition. A few bog holes and trees down but always a way around them. The signs are quite easy to follow, I took 2 wrong turns but it was more out of carelessness and I didn’t stray too far from the right track.

    It’s a fun track especially as you get closer to Castlemaine, physically a it was harder than I expected, the climbs are short but they’re frequent and can be steep. Bring lots of water with you.

    If it’s a hot day, keep an eye out for snakes.

    Have fun
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  12. jakecycles

    jakecycles Likes Bikes

    Goldfields Track

    You can drop us a line at Cycle Concepts Castlemaine 03 54 705 868 if you need any additional info

    cheers Jake
  13. Mad Hatter

    Mad Hatter Likes Dirt

    I`m trying to find a GPS map (GPX file) of the complete Goldfields Track from Ballarat to Bendigo.
    Anybody know of one? I know there are plenty of printed maps, but it would be nice to know exactly where you are on the trail if things go wrong.
    My wife and I are planning a week in March to ride it while the kids are at school.
    Ride all day and stay in nice digs at night with a good feed at a fancy nosh house.
    There was a decent write up in one of the mags recently about the whole trail, but I`m buggered if I can find it now to reference properly.
  14. windlessdog

    windlessdog Squid

    Thank you for the replies and your information it is super helpful. I grabbed a map from the map centre in East Malvern and found a GPX file on Mapmyride under the mtb/offroad files.
    I have to be back at the house in Daylesford by 1pm for the missus,s mates 40th lunch bash, so I will get going early and have a crack at out and back and see if I,m in the dog house on monday or can get it done in time.
    Thanks again. Andy
  15. mrbailey

    mrbailey Likes Bikes

    If you're doing it one way go Daylesford to Castlemaine. Also consider starting at the Chocolate Mill which cuts out some nasty climbs just out of Daylesford.
  16. mrbailey

    mrbailey Likes Bikes

  17. fergo

    fergo Likes Dirt


    This is a great idea. Drive to the Choc Mill and you will prob save a total of 1.5 -2 hours in ride time going both ways. I have started twice at the mailboxes up the hill from the Choc Mill where the trail leaves the bitumen. This is my favourite ride in Vic.
  18. HIFI2009

    HIFI2009 Likes Bikes

    Here's the GPX of our trip but it's not perfect. We got a little lost coming out of Harcourt. Also, for the final stretch from Creswick to Ballarat, we were totally lost in the park grounds there. We circled for ages and eventually rode out and on to the road and did the last 10km on bitumun to Ballarat. Found out later that you need to follow the tiny singletrack next to the creek to get out. Hope that helps.
  19. windlessdog

    windlessdog Squid

    Well it was good day on the bike, I didnt get to do the return leg as my out going ride was interupted by a bloody lot of trees over the track a result of last wednesdays storm, some of the smaller ones I moved off the track to help my possible return trip and future riders, some I rode round and others I did the steeple chase action to get over this resulted in a 3 and a half hour outbound and I reckon it was going to take me 4 + to get back so on the blower to the bride and a car recovery was underway.
    The track itself was in excellent condition apart from the fallen trees and nice to ride lots of short pinchy climbs, rocky to smooth surfaces well marked mostly and great scenery I look forward to having another crack when Ive got more time for the return leg.
    Ooroo Andy
  20. velocidad

    velocidad Likes Dirt

    Hey Fergo, have you done this trail recently? interested in trail conditions/ difficulty if anyone willing to chime in , cheers

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