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Nomads Outdoors Group – Garfield Water Wheel to the Welsh Village, The ‘Rez’ – return via Forest Creek – Castlemaine

April 28

Travel by train or car to Castlemaine, and enjoy a day walk in the historic Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park and your BYO picnic lunch. This walk is also a Castlemaine Pride Festival event and is run in conjunction with the local gay men’s social group, ‘The Alluvians’, so it’s an opportunity to meet Castlemaine LGBTIQA+ bushwalkers too.

GRADE | LENGTH | TYPE: Medium walking – approximately 10 km circuit walk on paths that are at times rocky and steep.

ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION: Meeting at 10.31am in the car park of the Castlemaine Railway Station, we introduce ourselves and then car-share with those who have driven from Melbourne or are Castlemaine locals. If insufficient cars, then a Taxi mini bus will be arranged (small shared cost). There are NO lunch shops near the railway station, so you will need to bring your lunch, snacks and water with you.

It is about a 15-minute drive to the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. We leave our cars, admire the ruins of the massive 1887 Garfield Water Wheel, and learn from the information boards the scale of development here.

We commence the walk uphill through the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park and past the remains of many mines, some surprisingly deep. We are heading for the stone-hut ruins of the Welsh Village, and here we will take a break to inspect the remains of a once-thriving community. Continuing to gain height we reach our highest point, the banks of the Expedition Pass Reservoir, the source of water for the waterwheel, and locally known as ‘The Rez’. We will stop for lunch at a suitable spot along the way.

The walk is easier now, returning downhill on the easy Forest Creek Track, and at Chinamans Point Road taking the track back to the Garfield Water Wheel.

We leave the Garfield Water Wheel by about 4pm, and we travel back to the Castlemaine Station where some will board the 4.29pm train to arrive at Southern Cross at 6.24pm, and others drive home.

The Castlemaine Pride Festival is from 18th to 28th April – more details available at castlemainepride.org.au. After the walk you may wish to have a cleansing ale at the Loveshack, a Castlemaine microbrewer, who are hosting ‘Beers for Queers’ and the festival Finale. Other options include travelling to Castlemaine on Friday 26th and enjoy a Queer band at the Taproom (another local micro-brewer, at The Mill) or on Saturday 27th April, enjoy the Q+ Activation in Mechanics Lane all day, explore the town and join in a PubSing also at The Taproom on Saturday evening. Please contact the leader for accommodation options and Castlemaine Pride discounts.