From vintage horse-drawn carriage rides and playing in autumn leaves, to country pies, nature hikes and art experiences, the Macedon Ranges is a treasure-trove of family-oriented things to do. Here are a few ideas to get you out of the city and up to the ranges this autumn!
High on the ‘to do’ list is a visit to ‘The Mount’ for a fresh air and autumn leaf immersion.
Mount Macedon is a magical place to visit at this time of year, particularly in April, when the leaves put on a dazzling display of colour.
Kids can explore dreamy gardens open to the public, full of hidey nooks and quiet corners. These special heritage gardens are the places where family memories are made. Picnics are enjoyed. And beautiful photographs get taken of children playing in the crunchy leaves underfoot.
Of course the drive up the mount is magnificent too. Along Honour Avenue in Macedon you will pass through a breathtaking tunnel of fire-toned autumn leaves. This arch of leaves is created by over 154 oaks planted to honour the men and women of Macedon and Mount Macedon who enlisted for service during World War 1.
Open Gardens to Visit
The beautiful autumn Gardens of Tieve Tara are open until 31 May 2019 from 10 – 4pm weekdays and 10.30 – 5.30 on weekends and public holidays. Admission is $10 (adults), kids are free.
Considered to be of outstanding cultural significance by the National Trust of Australia, the gardens of Duneira are open for one weekend only on 13 – 14 April, from 10 – 4.30pm. Admission is $10 (adults), $5 (students), under 18 free.
Forest Glades is open seven days a week year-round from 10 – 4.30pm. Admission is $10 (adults), kids are free.
How to Get There
In April, there are strict parking restrictions on Honour Avenue and Mount Macedon Rd, however you can easily park at Centennial Park, adjacent to Honour Avenue.
On weekends and public holidays until Thursday 25 April there will be a visitor information booth set up at the park to assist visitors.
To make it easy to get around, there will be a free hop-on-hop off shuttle service operating on weekends and public holidays until April 25 (between 10 to 4pm).
The shuttle travels between Macedon train station, Centennial Park (at Honour Avenue) and the open gardens of Mount Macedon (first train pick up approximately 10.15am and final shuttle departure from Mount Macedon at 3.30pm).
Pooch Friendly Parks, Picnics, Bikes and Fishing
In addition to the quaint village experience of Mount Macedon, there are many other sleepy little spots to picnic and play over autumn.
The beautiful Malmsbury Botanical Gardens is a local’s favourite, where you can ride your bikes and enjoy an easy stroll.
Along with a small playground, there are plenty of quacking ducks. honking geese, and leaves to play in. Visitors also love the picturesque views to the ancient bluestone Malmsbury viaduct. It is a truly peaceful place to spend quality family time.
And what would a country drive be without a country pie? Malmsbury Bakery on the main drag is a great spot for a good ol’ fashioned pastry.
Make sure to bring the dog on your adventure too. There are plenty of places to tie up pooch at the bakery, and the gardens are dog friendly (on leads of course).
The Kyneton Botanical Gardens is another hot autumn spot for small shenanigans.
A walk and cycle path takes you along the lovely Campaspe River, edged with historic oak, elm and birch trees. There are plenty of spots for a picnic or fishing (pick up a fishing license online or from the Woodend Visitor Centre on High Street as you are passing through).
The gardens are also home to a fab outdoor children’s adventure playground. Dogs are welcome at the gardens too (on leads).
For a bit of parent time, you can try bribing the kids with a hot chocolate along Kyneton’s historic Piper Street, so you can fit in a bit of retail hopping.
Kyneton’s bustling Piper Street is the town’s epicentre for fantastic clothing, homewares, art, coffee, dining and more. You can easily spend time here hopping in and out of shops, kids permitting!
Tip: The Kyneton Farmers’ Markets are held on the second Saturday of the month, so use the opportunity to stock up on some healthy local produce.
A Spot of Culture
Picnics and bike rides aside, the Macedon Ranges also offers cultural experiences for kidlets
In particular, the Daylesford Macedon Ranges Open Studios program provides kids an opportunity to meet the artists of the Daylesford Macedon Ranges.
Held over the weekends of 13 – 14 and 20 – 22 April, this free annual event offers kids a rare chance to see how professional artists work, how their studios are set up, and to ask how and why painters, sculptors, ceramicists, print makers, photographers and mixed media exponents do what they do.
Click here for more information.
Win a Vintage Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride Worth $150
Here’s your chance to win a one hour vintage horse drawn carriage ride in the Macedon Ranges for up to six people!
Explore the historic Cobb & Co stage coach route in an authentic 1890’s buggy wagonette of the ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ era. ‘Patrick’ the horse will take you along quiet roads in the hamlet of Carlsruhe, with views to Hanging Rock.
Prize is valid for use from mid June. Click here to enter!
Images by Kim Selby.