Dry Diggings and Porcupine Ridge is a 16.4km, grade 3 Circuit hike located in Hepburn Regional Park Victoria. The hike should take approximately 5hrs to complete.
The Dry Diggings and Porcupine Ridge circuit commences at the junction of Midland Highway and Sawpit Gully Road. Follow the Great Dividing Trail signs initially north and then swinging west for 1 km to where it crosses the Midland Highway opposite the Chocolate Mill. The track turns south outside the left-hand gate of the car park. Follow the Great Dividing Trail signs passing steep gullies formed by severe erosion from sluicing. At the junction of Mannings Road there is a good spot for a break with views north to Mt Franklin. Turn right and walk south along the unmade road to the junction with the Back Hepburn Rd. Cross with care and walk into the Hepburn Regional Park at the park sign.
Continue south along a disused track to the Midland Highway. Cross with care and continue south off-track along the fence line through rough ground to the junction of Richardsons Road. Turn left and walk east for 1 km along this unmade road passing small farms with varied agricultural land use. Turn left (north) into Scotts Lane and walk along the lane through open forest. Walk steeply up to the junction with Porcupine Ridge Road and admire the sculptured mail boxes at the corner.
Turn left (north) and walk along the rough ground beside the property fence line, thus avoiding the roadside. Cross at the junction with Pine Court and walk along the road on the verge. Continue along the ridgeline to a great viewpoint overlooking the surrounding countryside for a lunch break. After lunch, continue along Porcupine Ridge Road to where it forks. Take the left fork marked Leslies Road which is an unsealed rough gravel lane. A very steep rough descent follows for 1.7 km down to a ford over Middleton Creek. Gradually ascend to the junction of Sawpit Gully Road. Turn left (south) and follow this road past small farm holdings and a quaint miner’s cottage and orchard back to the cars.
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, drive via Howe and Raglan Streets and continue on the Midland Highway (A300) for about 8.5 km to the junction with Sawpit Gully Road on the right. At this junction there are several letterboxes in a long row where there is ample off-road parking for the start of the hike.
Max elevation: 586 m
Min elevation: 443 m
Total climbing: 293 m
Total descent: -294 m