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Blowhole and Bald Hill is a 16.7km, grade 3 circuit hike, located in Hepburn Regional Park, Victoria. The hike should take approximately 5.5hrs to complete.
The Blowhole and Bald Hill hike commences by taking the 100 steps down to the Blowhole “beach” to view the northern end of the diversion tunnel cut through the ridge by miners in the 1850s. Take the 13 steps up the west side of the creek bank and turn right (north) on the signposted Diggings Walk. After 55 m the track swings to the left and climbs south-west up the spur above the cutoff segment of Sailors Creek for 450 m through alluvial mining rock heaps, to an earth embankment just short of a pine post marked with two arrows. Turn right onto the embankment, which was formerly a water race, and follow it for 1 km to meet a four way vehicle track junction on a saddle.
Cross the track coming in from the left and continue north-west to follow the water race for 200 m to the first big bend then head north off-track down the spur for 200 m to the floor of the gully and a rough vehicle track. Turn left and cross a creek bed then veer left at an indistinct fork. (The right fork continues to a large dam on private property.) Pick up a faint track heading south-west, which becomes an indistinct former vehicle track, for 500 m as it heads uphill alongside a gully to meet Yam Gully Road, where there is an old charcoal-burning site. Continue uphill on the track, which is now Blowhole Track, for 200 m, taking a right fork near the ridge to then turn right (north) onto a well-defined vehicle track.
Follow the track for almost 1.3 km along the ridge over a summit then down to Basalt Road, at GR 429681. Turn left down Basalt Road for about 400 m then turn right onto Henderson Spring Track which starts heading north-west and swings south to Boots Gully. From the end of the vehicle track follow a small water race another 100 m to the spring. It is named after Gordon Henderson who stoned up the spring in 1925. He was captured at the fall of Singapore and died as a POW on the Burma railway. Cross Boots Gully at the spring and climb steeply straight up the hill to a vehicle track. Follow this track uphill to the left (south-east) then right (south) to Basalt Road.
At Basalt Road turn right heading south-west, then south-east, for 1 km to the junction with Old Werona Road. Turn right and hike south-west for 500 m to its junction with two diverging tracks. Take the left track and head south-east for 1.1 km to the Charlesford Track and Basalt Road intersection. Turn right onto Basalt Road and walk south for about 100 m and turn left onto Pfeiffers Track, which is marked by a whimsical gas cylinder letterbox.
Follow Pfeiffers Track for about 2.5 km, descending gradually to the Bald Hill Creek crossing then gradually ascending to meet Bald Hill Road. Turn right (south) on Bald Hill Road then after 500 m turn left (east) on a vehicle track and follow this track for 1.3 km to Tipperary Springs. Follow the walking track north on the west side of Sailors Creek for 3.3 km to Bryces Flat and then about 1.5 km on the Great Dividing Trail to the Blowhole and the start of the hike.
About the region
Hepburn Regional Park nestles around the famous mineral springs townships of Daylesford, Hepburn and Hepburn Springs. Rich with natural springs and relics from the gold mining era, the park abounds with opportunities for bushwalking, mountain bike and horse riding, picnicking and nature study. Mt Franklin is a small volcanic crater with basic camping set amid exotic trees.
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 continue north on Main Road for about 4 km, turn left onto Hepburn-Newstead Road and continue for 1.3 km to Eighteenth Street. Turn left and follow this road for 800 m and turn right into Blowhole Road. Continue for a further 600 m to the Blowhole parking area.
This hike 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 hike. The provided walk map is unsuitable for navigation purposes.
Boots and gaiters are advisable in creek and gully areas. There are inconsistencies between maps and terrain. Major tracks are on the ground that do not appear on the maps.
Max elevation: 622 m
Min elevation: 397 m
Total climbing: 549 m
Total descent: -548 m