Off road between Daylesford and Hepburn Villag
This is the first of two posts describing bike/walk links between Hepburn Village and Daylesford town that are far more interesting and pleasant than the tacky highway route offered by Goldfields Track. This post describes an 8km circuit that is entirely west of Main Road that links the town and village. Riders of the Goldfields Track have the choice of 2 one-way links in this post and 2 more next post. Any rider can design their own link route by crossing from one link to another.
What you might like to know
R = right. L = left. SA = straight ahead. N,E,S,W are approximate compass directions. Map and route downloadable from AllTrails at end of this post. West of the wall trail has some moderate slopes, all short. One steeper scrabbly slope. IMBA UK trail grading is BLUE (moderate). Doctors Gully trail has some moderate slopes, all short. It is handy to various exits to Main Road. IMBA UK trail grading is BLUE (moderate). 7.7km. Circuit elevation change is 110m while climb is 320m.
West of the wall where hearts are free
Actually west of the main road and west of Doctors Gully but the message is the same as that 1962 top pop. This trail surface is nearly all firm dirt, red scoria or light gravel with some tarmac at each end. Mainly undulating with one steep scrabbly hill that requires walking for most. (For the benefit of young readers, the lyric refers to the Berlin Wall). From Daylesford’s lower (Midland Highway) roundabout, head N past the RSL on the Daylesford – Hepburn road for 2 blocks, L into Hospital St. 200m W just across a creek, R into the first red dirt track and this is where the GPX route starts. About 400m along, R down a short descent. You could then cross the culvert to join the E bank track. However our route turns L to follow the west bank of the stream. Alas, the apple tree on your left belongs to the house beyond. Soon you enter the bush, very welcome on a hot or rainy day. Following above the stream there are a few ups and downs to keep it interesting. Where the gully widens you could choose to descend R on a grassy track to a clearing then across the culvert to join the eastern side track.
However, continuing on the W bank you will come to a T. L takes you to West St if you need an early exit (see stub on map route) else R down a steepish scrabbly track. Cross the culvert and turn L when joining the E bank track. Continue downstream below a residential area. In a pleasant eucalypt grove the track curves 180º. You could ride to the bank ahead and climb it to gain the tarmac of Fifth St. Else take the curve and as you meet the houses, swing L around the top of the gully onto Second St and SW to a T. R into Fifth St and up to Main Road. L on Main Road takes you into Hepburn village centre. Pick up a Hepburn Village biz map from Connie and Kyla while enjoying the eclectic range of gifts at Portal 108 just north of Eighth St and adjacent to the Post Office. If joining the Goldfields Track towards Castlemaine then continue N to pick up the route.
To Daylesford, via Doctors Gully Rd
A GPS with the AllTrails route (below) may be helpful on this alternative. Again a combo of a little tarmac, dirt roads and 4WD track. From The Red Star cafe retrace your ride to the picturesque stone bus shelter on Fifth St. R into Fifth St then L into Second St. Continue along Second St to Main Rd, swing R onto the shared path then R into Doctors Gully Rd. Veer L onto a 4WD track and you’re back in the bush. About 400m on, with houses above you, watch for a 4WD track dropping to the R and take that deeper into the bush. Up from the small gully veer L at a dirt road and you are riding S with Doctors Gully down to your R. When you meet Ingrow Lane running L and SA. You continue SA (south). At a wide gravel road in the open, turn R then shortly L onto another 4WD track (if you continued down to the stream you could cross to the western track) back into a treed area. A bit of rock and roll then into the open and curve L onto a gravel road between houses. (If coming from the other direction it looks like a driveway but is public). This takes you up to a slip road opposite Hodge St off Main Road. R and 2 blocks later you are at the lower Daylesford roundabout close to Muffins & More for your coffee.