The Queen’s Birthday long weekend heralds the start of winter. What better way to celebrate the cooler weather than a visit to the Macedon Ranges for the Woodend Winter Arts Festival? Woodend is nestled beneath the ranges; the mists swirl, and there is that wonderful smell of wood-fired stoves. You could be in Europe. Indeed, it was the experience of the intimate French village festivals that initially inspired this event, now in its 15th year.

With so many fascinating events on offer, you’ll need to book accommodation. You have many choices, from total luxury, to a cosy B&B. Our recommendations include Braeside Mt Macedon Country Retreat, Macedon Ranges Hotel & Spa, Rooks Edge and the Cottage at Bolobek. Wherever you choose, there’ll be roaring fires, local produce and a full-bodied red or two on offer. and >span class=”s1″>Mount Towrong Winery (who will also be providing accommodation for the festival) will make you feel welcome.

This weekend will be a total immersion experience of artistic endeavours. Sublime concerts are showcasing international guests Piers Lane (London), Concilium Musicum (Vienna) and Davide Monti (Italy) alongside Australian greats Joseph Tawadros, Simon Tedeschi and Marshall McGuire. Political debate with distinguished commentators, award-winning authors, philosophy and poetry, and art exhibitions showcasing hundreds of local artists. All the venues are within walking distance so there won’t be any of those tiresome parking problems. In between, browse Woodend’s range of boutiques, cafés, restaurants, bookstores, pubs, wine bars and brewery.

There will be some familiar faces, and there will be new friends to make.  All engage in discussion and share emotional responses to music and chat about the perfect piece of art. There’s a delicious connection that keeps people coming back, year after year to savour the sights, sounds and tastes of everything Woodend has to offer.