A few Sundays ago I had the opportunity to ride Dry Diggings Track from near Vaughan Springs towards Daylesford. This is one of my two favourite sections of Goldfields Track (GT), the other being Fryerstown – Castlemaine which I will cover in the next week or so.
I started from the junction of Porcupine Ridge Rd and Italian Track. This is on the lamentable mtb bypass of Vaughan Springs. Lamentable because the Vaughan Springs ascent/descent is highly enjoyable. Nevertheless the narrowness of the track along the bluff does pose risks both to riders and to walkers we encounter. The search for a better bypass than the tarmac road goes on but is not too promising.
What a difference a few months makes. Last time I rode this section, I reported to Parks VIC many fallen trees that were difficult to get around and damaged stream crossing structures. Now the ride flowed again. The barrier trees were cut away with one at left, left intact to form a neat feature. The track out of Stones Gully seemed to have been cleared of detritus and realigned inn a few places to give a better ride and potential to ride all the way up (alas I failed). The washed away steps at Browns Gully crossing had been replaced with rocks and further on a spanking new bridge (photo).
The track was firm and the ride just flowed. Thanks to Parks VIC and probably the Conservation Volunteers Australia workers. I exited the GT onto Porcupine Ridge Rd near the junction with Loop Track (photo below looks back at this great track segment) and headed S then onto Green Gully Track followed by Green Gully Rd south to Back Glenlyon Rd. Had the Old Glenlyon General Store finished its refurbishment I would have been off there for a coffee and cake but instead headed home very satisfied.
I sometimes extend this ride on the GT a few more clicks towards Daylesford. The junction of Sawpit Gully Rd and Sawpit Track (55S 249522E 5873178N) provides a great entry point for shorter rides as it avoids somewhat boring road sections.
NOTE: When heading south, the signs at the junction of Porcupine Ridge Rd and Italian Track (55S 252176E 5882889N), point you further down Porcupine Ridge Rd thence east (left) onto Gurrs Track to join up with Dry Diggings Track proper. For a better experience, head down Italian Track and when you next (ca. 900m) strike a Goldfields Track signpost (photo), turn south (right) onto Gurrs Track and thence follow the GT signs.