We walked the Golden Gullies Walk from Vaughan Mineral Springs (near Castlemaine) on Sunday to recheck our original notes used in our popular Daywalks Around Melbourneguide. We also completed a GPS track of the walk, which we will add to our downloads page when the new The Goldfieldsguide is released this spring.
The Golden Gullies Walk is one of my personal favourites and I’ve done it at least half a dozen times. Unfortunately, the section linking Vaughan Mineral Springs with Central and Glenluce Springs is always under attack by weeds, the most invasive of which are thistles and blackberries (other major nasties include the willow, which is badly chocking up the river). Depending upon the season the water race which follows the river can be so overrun with blackberries that it isn’t actually possible to walk along it. It’s a real shame to see what should be one of the regions most beautiful and historic locations reduced to little more than a blackberry patch.
So here’s my proposal.
A new walking trail to be constructed from Vaughan Mineral Springs along the south side of the river to opposite Glenluce Springs. A foot bridge could then be constructed across the Loddon River to provide access to Glenluce Springs. A walking trail would then run along the north side of the river past Central Springs to finish back at Vaughan Springs. The total distance of this proposed Loddon River Walk would be just 5km and would provide visitors to Vaughan Springs with potentially one of the most interesting and scenic walks in the entire Goldfields region. The walk would be graded easy andwould link three historically interesting mineral springs along the way. Much of the trail along the south side of the river is already in place with only minor relocations and repair work needed along the existing water race. On the north side of the river the trail between Central Springs and Vaughan Mineral Springs is also in place as it follows a 1km section of the Goldfields Track. The rest of the trail linking Glenluce Springs and Central Springs would need to be constructed along the river bank.
To keep costs down the new bridge spanning the river could be built as a concrete causeway, similar to the one in Vaughan Springs. The bulk of the cost in constructing this walk would be in enacting a vigorous weed elimination schedule. Future maintenance of the trail could in a large part be handed over to the community (in cooperation with Parks Victoria).The advantages of such a trail are numerous. Currently Vaughan Mineral Springs is fairly run-down and is unfortunately looking sadder and sadder each year. The marketing of the Loddon River Walk could re-energise this once very popular destination with an increase in visitor numbers. Vaughan Mineral Springs could also become an important staging point for the adjoining Goldfields Track. Last and not least, the construction of a Loddon River Walk would be beneficial to the river and could become a showcase for its environmental health.