Walking has always been a favourite pastime of visitors to the mineral springs area - perhaps because it was often the only way to get to most of the springs.
The Tipperary Walking Track is an extensive walk that has been created over the years to link the less well known mineral springs between Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. In 1854 diggers were arriving along the creek at the rate of 200 a day.
The hillside above the creek was dotted with shallow shafts leading up to alluvial gullies with names like "Don't Wake Em", "Keep it Dark': "Brandy Hot', "Bottle of Porter" and "Tam O'Shanter".
Walkers in the 1930's could still see the broken pieces of crockery lining the track, although the make shift huts and tents had long since gone. Old water channels or races dug by miners were used to create much of the track. Other remnants of the mining period such as dry stone walls and overgrown mine shafts give at an added interest.
Like many of the mineral springs reserves, the walking track was in very poor condition until restoration work was undertaken by the Mineral Springs Advisory Committee. It is now one of the best known attractions of the area.
The walking track starts at the Central Springs Reserve, once a favourite haunt of honeymooners who loved to walk by the creek in the moonlight or dance in the pavilion. It takes an hour to walk from Central Springs to Tipperary Springs. Another hour down the track takes you to Bryces Flat which now has camping and picnic facilities. From there you go on to the blow hole, a tunnel cut through solid rock by miners in 1872 to divert the water so that they could mine the entire creek bed at that point. Four kilometres on is Breakneck Gorge. This was once the site of the local racecourse and named, so the story goes, after a horse and jockey plunged to their deaths into the deep gorge after running off the track.
The last lap of the walk takes you past Liberty Spring and Golden Spring. They both bubble naturally out of the ground unlike the better known springs which are encased in hand pumps to control the flow.
The walk takes a further 50 minutes to proceed from Golden Spring to Hepburn Springs, passing Jackson's Lookout with its magnificent views of Daylesford and the surrounding countryside. The beauty of the Tipperary Walking Track is that you can do any part of it at your leisure, but if you want to do the full walk it would take about five hours. Anyone with the energy to complete it could ask for nothing better at the end than a visit to the bath house and soak in a hot spa, or have a relaxing massage - or both.