A weekend is never long enough in the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region, so stay for a little longer, get off the beaten path and discover charming, lesser-known towns.

DAY 1 – KYNETON

Start your journey in Kyneton, an easy hour’s drive north of Melbourne along the Calder Freeway. On arrival, explore Black Hill Reserve by hiking around The Monolith, one of Australia’s largest granite rocks. Then stroll along the Campaspe River Walk, a picturesque trail snaking past Kyneton’s Botanical Gardens, a sculpture park and platypus habitat.  

Back in town, the heritage-listed Piper Street houses galleries, boutiques and some of Victoria’s best food and drink offerings. Sample award-winning, small-batch gin at the distillery door of Animus, or head to cosy yet sophisticated Miss M’s Lounge for cocktails and tapas.

DAY 2 – MALMSBURY, LANCEFIELD & ROMSEY

Start day two in the enchanting hamlet of Malmsbury, with breakfast at The Stables Mediterranean Restaurant and Pizzeria. Explore the verdant botanic gardens and the spectacular 1860s bluestone Malmsbury Viaduct – Victoria’s largest masonry bridge. 

Then discover some of the area’s cool climate wineries. At Parkside Estate and Farm (between Lancefield and Romsey), soak up breathtaking views while sampling award-winning sparkling and chardonnay. North of Lancefield is Curly Flat Vineyard, known for its naturally fermented wines. 

Drop in for lunch (weekends only) at Cleveland Winery where the woodfired pizzas are perfect with a glass of sparkling pinot noir or full-bodied shiraz. Finish off at Romsey’s Evans Bistro, Bar and Garden, with its glamorous cocktail bar, welcoming outdoor space and modern Australian menu.     

AutumnMRMalmsbury ChloeSmithPhotography 0036 uai
Malmsbury Viaduct. Photo by Chloe Smith

DAY 3 – MOUNT MACEDON & WOODEND

With its bright red door reflecting the flame-coloured leaves atop Mount Macedon during autumn, the Trading Post is the ultimate stop for house-made cakes, pies and local produce. Down the mountain is Mount Towrong vineyard, a sustainable family-owned winery serving rustic Italian fare to match their crisp wines. 

Rising from the surrounding countryside is Hanging Rock, known as Ngannelong by the Traditional Owners of the land. Hike to the summit or thread your way through the reserve on numerous paths. Time for a tipple? Nearby, you can sample award-winning small batch gins at Big Tree Distillery. Or stop by Woodend’s Holgate Brewhouse and Taproom, where an extensive range of craft beers are brewed on site. For further ideas on what to do in Woodend, check out our guide on page 8.  

DAY 4: HARCOURT, CASTLEMAINE & MALDON 

Pack your bags for a short, northern detour through charming goldfields towns. 

Have breakfast at the Harcourt Produce and General Store (try a Danish tart). A great playground is opposite, while keen mountain bikers should hit the trails at La Larr Bagauwa Park. In Castlemaine, the artisan smallgoods, boutique wines, fresh sourdough, cheese and chocolate are popular at The Mill. For lunch try Superhero Banh Mi, a hole-in-the wall café serving some of the best banh mi and bao outside Vietnam.  

Then board the Victorian Goldfields Steam Railway, journeying through Box-Ironbark forest and the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung. Arriving in Maldon, Australia’s first notable town, the beautiful heritage streetscape is a treasure trove of antique shops, collectables and local galleries like Much Ado, selling French-Provincial homewares, textiles and books.  

Mount Towrong Vineyard giveaway 2 uai
Mount Towrong Vineyard

DAY 5: DAYLESFORD 

Renowned for its creative communities, it’s time to discover Daylesford’s local artists. Start at the majestic Convent Gallery where exhibitions change regularly. Then explore Black Gallery, Stony Creek Gallery and Clayfire Gallery. For beautiful ceramics, visit Minna Graham’s studio, where nature has a dramatic influence on her creations. For lunch, try Wombat Hill House – a darling, renovated cottage or locals’ favourite, Cliffy’s Emporium. 

There’s no better place to indulge than in Australia’s spa capital where Swiss and Italian migrants have long championed the area’s mineral springs. Bring an empty bottle for the pure waters at the Hepburn Springs Mineral Reserve. 

For complete relaxation, book into Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, soaking tension away in the mineral waters before a massage. Follow up with a delicious ‘prix fixe’ four course dinner at The Surly Goat, a delightful Hepburn restaurant and wine bar where the menu changes daily.

DAY 6: CRESWICK, CLUNES & TALBOT

An easy 20-minute drive west of Daylesford, is Creswick, with its historic redbrick buildings, iconic woollen mill and RACV Goldfields Resort 18-hole course. A little further north you’ll find historic Clunes (a town for true booklovers, and the site of Clunes Booktown each May). From there, it’s a short drive to Talbot, home to a charming goldrush era streetscape. Time it right and you’ll catch the Talbot Farmers’ Market (third Sunday of every month) – recognised as one of the region’s best. 

Talbot MDP DMT 6054 uai
Talbot. Photo by MDP Photography & Video

DAY 7: MUSK, BULLARTO AND LYONVILLE

Stock up on European-style meats from Istra Smallgoods’ farmgate in Musk. While in the area, visit Stonewalls at Musk – artist Andrew O’Brien’s stunning vision to combine art, hospitality and design. Then stop at the estate vineyard of Passing Clouds, renowned for its complex pinot noir and crisp chardonnay. And art lovers – don’t miss Bullarto Gallery, which exhibits the visceral art of painter Phillip Edwards. 

Have lunch or dinner at the Radio Springs Hotel in Lyonville, where head chef Yvan Meunier combines European cuisine with his travels through South East Asia, creating an irresistible menu. 

DAY 8: TRENTHAM & BLACKWOOD

Trentham is a mini-but-mighty town with excellent dining options, such as Annie Smithers’ French farmhouse-style restaurant Du Fermier or the iconic Cosmopolitan Hotel. A short drive away you’ll also find the newly reopened Pig and Whistle Hotel, which offers an elevated pub experience on a quiet, back country road. Minutes from Trentham’s town centre is Trentham Falls, Victoria’s highest single-drop waterfall. If there’s time on the clock for spectacular gardens, drop into Blackwood Ridge or The Garden of St Erth in the picturesque village of Blackwood, tucked in between the Wombat and Lerderderg State Parks. 

A short drive from Blackwood gets you to the Western Highway, 45 minutes from Melbourne.

Return home sated, relaxed and with the knowledge that whatever you didn’t manage this time, there’s always next time in the Daylesford Macedon Ranges Region.

MDP DMT 6023 uai
Photo by MDP Photography & Video

Thinking of bringing your furry friend along with you? Here are some pet friendly options: 

Stay

  • Birch House, Daylesford
  • Jubilee Lake Park, Daylesford
  • Matilda Cottage, Gisborne
  • East Wing, Kyneton

Eat & Drink

 

Hero image: Piper Street Kyneton, photography by Journey By Light