Breathe in and… exhale.

We’ve heard it all before – the benefits of nature as therapy, but have you stopped, stretched and smelled the banksia lately?

We should all be encouraged to step outside and take that deep breath and plunge into nature; and the best way to do it? A walk of course! And autumn sure is a spectacular time to do it.

There are plenty of walks of varying degrees around the incredibly picturesque Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges. Full day hikes, strolls for lovers, rail trails for families and steep inclines that will leave you with the ability to crack an egg on your calves by the end!

For nature lovers seeking a sweet stroll with a picnic, look no further than the Five Mile Creek Track in Woodend. At just over three kilometres, this track is surrounded by nature on both sides. Soak up the stunning black gums (Eucalyptus Aggregata) as this is the only known natural occurrence of Black Gums in Victoria. Arrive back at the Woodend Farmer’s Market (first Saturday of the month) for a coffee scroll or a spring roll. Time and energy permitting, consider extending your walk around the old Woodend racecourse. This pleasant walk is particularly impressive in autumn, when the silver birch trees that line the track put on a vibrant yellow display.

There’s something quite dreamy about walking alongside a river and if this is your choice of walking landscape, try Kyneton’s colourful Campaspe River Walk, which begins at the Botanic Gardens and takes you along a wistful pathway along the riverbank, ending at historic Piper Street. Pack a picnic or a novel, and complete your journey on foot at one of Kyneton’s delicious bars and eateries.

A favourite amongst local bushwalkers is Black Hill Reserve, located approximately five minutes’ drive from Kyneton. Choose from two types of walks – head straight up the hill for picturesque views and proposal-ready picnic spots, or a hustle around the base that can be done in under an hour. Twitchers, stay alert as a variety of native birds can be spotted here.

If a steep climb is on your mind, look no further than straight up Mount Macedon. Plan for a full day of hiking and nature exploring in this glorious natural paradise just under an hour from Melbourne. There are walks of varying degrees and durations, for the amateur walker to the fully rehearsed hiker, that will take you up, over and around Macedon Regional Park. Or, if gardens are your joy, explore some of Mount Macedon’s finest with Mount Macedon Tours, where autumnul colours paint the landscape a golden hue.

The most popular destination is the Memorial Cross Reserve, which has a stunning view that stretches as far as the eye can see. If you wish to bypass the steep incline up the mountain, you can choose to park your car here and start your inspirational journey on foot. The clearly marked signs and easy-to-use paths will guide you along the way, even towards the rewarding Camels Hump track. Take note of the weather in advance as tracks can become muddied after storms. We recommend that you bring a bottle of water, and wear sturdy boots that can take you across varying terrain, preparing your calves for the egg cracking ahead.

MountMacedonTours uai
Mount Macedon Tours. Photo by LVDI

If flora and fauna is your thing, follow the La Gerche Forest Walk just outside of Creswick. The extraordinary scent of the radiata pines will guide you through the forest, past 100-year-old plantings by forestry visionary John La Gerche. This one-hour walking loop is breathtakingly beautiful in autumn. It’s a great option for families and young explorers, with cute signage and markers dotted along the track. Afterwards, pop into Maze House, located just outside Creswick. Outdoor fun for all ages, it is especially spectacular during autumn.

For further family walking adventures, visit Jubilee Lake on the outskirts of neighbouring Daylesford, for a place to play, stay and say g’day to birdlife, wallabies and local critters. Meander around the lake circuit, taking in the vivid autumn colours before pumping some mineral water from the Jubilee Lake Mineral Spring. Extend your walk and link up with the Lerderderg Track, which leads you into Daylesford.

Walkers and hikers may also be interested in exploring other fantastic options in the region, such as Lake Daylesford, Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve, Conglomerate Gully Flora Reserve and the Malmsbury Reservoir Track.

What are you waiting for? Go on, pull on the boots and put a pack on your back, it’s time to take a hike!

Cyclists at Memorial Cross Reserve. Photo by Visit Macedon Ranges
Cyclists at Memorial Cross Reserve. Photo by Visit Macedon Ranges

About the author

Ali Webb House of Webb
Ali Webb, House of Webb

Kyneton-based Ali Webb adventures the state as a tiny tourist, exploring the littlest to the largest corners of our sweet slice of Victorian heaven.

A writer, a publicist, an artist manager and a downright good human being, Ali’s a curious cat, always on the hunt for a tale to share, especially if it involves digging for treasure in a local secondhand haven, scouring the seasonal delights of our favourite kitchens or simply finding a golden spot to pitch her tent after a day of bushwalking. Follow her tiny tourist tracks across the state at @houseofwebb.