For generations, the Macedon Ranges have been a prime destination for Melbourne residents boasting a brilliant array of attractions and events to appeal to city-dwellers seeking a relaxed weekend away. With the array of stunning gardens that characterise the region, it is no wonder that spring is one of the most popular seasons to visit the ranges. While the days get progressively longer and sunnier, there is a refreshing crispness in the air and many local businesses continue to stoke their open fires to keep patrons warm and cosy.
Stretching east from the ‘Spa Country’ of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs and out towards the Hume Highway, the Macedon Ranges area embraces the historic and beautiful towns of Kyneton, Woodend, Gisborne, Malmsbury, Lancefield and Mount Macedon itself.
It is an area that is famous for its gourmet food and wine scene, with many events geared towards the epicurean life. Fresh local seasonal produce can be found on the dining tables of the area’s celebrated restaurants and cafes as well as at the bustling farmers’ markets on any given weekend.
Local RT Edgar Director Rhys Nuttall suggests starting your weekend’s journey in Kyneton’s famed Piper Street where renowned eateries sit along-side antique shops, relaxed cafes and upmarket boutiques and galleries. Rhys says “At the start of September you’ll also encounter Kyneton’s Daffodil and Arts Festival as well as the Antiques and Vintage Fair, followed by the much-loved Kyneton Agricultural Show in November”. After stocking up at the mouth-watering food stores such as Duck Duck Goose & Larder, the Piper St Food Company and Emelia’s, it is time to head further afield, but not before calling into RT Edgar’s Kyneton office at 10 High Street, where you may well find your new dream home in the country.
Nearby Woodend competes with Kyneton in the charm stakes, and no visit to this captivating town would be complete without a visit to the Holgate Brewhouse to take a beer flight of the unique and inspired craft ales, porters, lagers and stouts. If beer is not your thing, take a stroll instead around the town’s craft shops and boutiques or find your perfect tree-change opportunity at RT Edgar Woodend, located at 124 High Street.
After taking in the rural elegance of Woodend, a detour to the east brings you to the famed Hanging Rock. This remarkable landmark is even more impressive in the cooler months, when the rising mist adds to the air of intrigue around our local natural wonder.
Heading south towards Mount Macedon gives you the chance to admire the manicured gardens and private parkland estates that envelop some of Victoria’s most prestigious and imposing country homes. Half way up, the small town of Mount Macedon – not to be confused with Macedon at the base of the hill – invites a quick stop at ‘The Mount Macedon Hotel’ or afternoon tea at the Trading Post, before continuing to the summit. From here, a short walk to the Major Mitchell Lookout and the striking Memorial Cross rewards with some of the most panoramic views in all of Victoria.
After stopping for a coffee at the scenic Top of The Range Tea Rooms, break up the drive back down with visits to some of the awe-inspiring gardens for which this pocket of Australia is renowned, including the whimsical Tieve Tara and stunning Forest Glade Gardens. Many of the areas most celebrated gardens are open during November’s Open Gardens weekends.
Now it’s time to decide whether to head across to the peaceful village of Lancefield. Not only is it home to a vibrant arts and antiques scene, but also the the Lancefield black panther, a life-sized, expertly crafted sculpture piece, which, out of the blue, appeared on the main street late one night in 2015, complete with concrete plinth but no clues as to its origin or creator. The next stop from Mount Macedon could also be gracious Gisborne – a tranquil yet superbly connected town, filled with an array of restaurants, cafes and wine establishments, galleries, serene gardens and bustling markets. The chances of falling in love with a grand old homestead, quaint town cottage or rambling country house is high in this area, and the best place to start is the local office of RT Edgar, at 25 Hamilton Street, in the heart of Gisborne.
The magnificent Macedon Ranges may be less than an hour’s easy drive from Melbourne, but it truly feels a world away, and certainly deserves at least a full weekend of exploring. Fortunately, the region is brimming with accommodation options from cosy bed and breakfasts to luxurious spa resorts, grand hotels and historic inns. And if a single weekend is not enough, the team at our Macedon Ranges offices are the experts you can trust to help you find the perfect way to leave the city behind and escape to a life in the country.