Do you buy your cat a birthday present? Send your pooch to doggy daycare?

Chances are you’re one of the growing number of people who consider their pets as family. It’s therefore no surprise that taking our pets with us when we go on holiday is the new norm. Here are our picks of the best places that cater for family members of both the two and four-legged variety.

PLAY

Bring your comfiest walking shoes, as the region offers an abundance of tracks and trails for people and pets to explore. Both Lake Daylesford and Jubilee Lake offer gentle walks for humans and dogs on leash, with tracks that loop around the lakes. Hepburn Regional Park also offers eight short walks (up to an hour one way), but those wanting to stretch their legs a bit further could head to the Lerderderg River Heritage Walk in the Wombat State Forest (about three hours).

Macedon is home to almost 50 off-leash dog parks, but the most popular is Macedon Regional Park, which has walking options for all fitness levels, from the one-kilometre walk up to Camels Hump (with views across to Hanging Rock) to a 30 kilometre loop track that links all the major sites in the park. Hanging Rock Reserve is also pet-friendly, however, pets aren’t allowed to ascend the Rock itself as it is home to many native animals.

Some of the most picturesque pet-friendly walks in the region conclude with spectacular waterfalls, including Sailors Falls, which has a series of seasonal rock pools in which you can relax beneath the waterfall, and Trentham Falls, arguably the most spectacular in the region. Both falls are particularly impressive in winter, especially after rainfall.

At Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm in Hepburn, there are 100 acres of lavender-scented gardens to explore and while dogs on leash are welcome, it’s worth noting that farm animals, including chickens, roam the property, and the likes of emus, pigs and cows also call Lavandula

STAY

Just outside of Daylesford is Hollow Log Estate, a 23-acre property custom-designed to accommodate humans and their furry friends. Dogs have access to a secure, half-acre dog play area and walking tracks that lead into the Wombat State Forest. Also, in Daylesford is Birch House, which offers a fully fenced backyard plus a separate dog run and All Views – a quaint, cosy miner’s cottage a short walk from Lake Daylesford.

In Hepburn Springs, picture perfect Little School House is pet friendly, as is the 100-year-old Spring Creek Cottage, which is located on the 210-kilometre Goldfields Track, with a private gate opening to the forest and trails for endless ‘walkies’ options.

In Trentham, at Moutan, all your family members will love spending time in one of the most beautiful gardens in the region, while Langfields in Wheatsheaf also offers acres of natural surrounds, along with stylish, off-grid accommodation. In Kyneton, Harpsichord House, managed by boutique accommodation booking agency, Flophouse, is a pooch friendly Scandanavian style retreat located near historic Piper Street.

With so many choices on offer, it’s worth a visit to one of the region’s accommodation websites, including Flophouse, Dayget or Daylesford Country Retreats and searching for dog friendly properties.

EATS AND TREATS

Head to the rear of many cafés and restaurants in the region and you’ll find a leafy courtyard where dogs on leash are welcome. These include Wombat Hill House, the Farmers Arms and Pancho in Daylesford, Bellinzona Hotel in Hepburn, Mr Macedon and Mount Macedon Hotel, and the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham.

But for something a little different, there are wineries, cideries and breweries across the region, which are happy for you to bring furry friends along.

In Welshman’s Reef, Panacea Estate offers the perfect place for wine tasting and nibbling on a delicious cheese board while enjoying the vineyard views with your pooch. And at Mount Macedon Winery, you’ll be met by resident wine dog Gus, and your own four-legged companions are also welcome.

Daylesford Cider is open daily for tastings, and the restaurant is open for lunch from Friday to Monday. Dogs are welcome in the courtyard, as they are at Animus Distillery Cocktail Lounge and Cellar Door, in Kyneton, where artisan small batch gin and cocktails are the stars of the show. Craft beer lovers should visit the Holgate Brewhouse in Woodend, where dogs are welcome at the outdoor tables.

With all of these to choose from, your pampered pet is sure to love the Daylesford Macedon Ranges region as much as you do.

 

Hero image: @ollie.n.andy

Pet Friendly 2 uai
Snow Play with Dusty in Macedon. Photo by Chloe Smith Photography

About the author

Emma Watts
Emma Watts
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Emma Watts may work and live in Melbourne, but the Daylesford Macedon region is where she feels most at home. She spent eight years working in tourism communications and marketing, finding and promoting the best placed in Victoria, and in 2020 she bought what she thinks is the cutest cottage in Hepburn @piccolo_daylesford and spends as much time in the region as she can, and exploring the nature and food and wine offerings with her two dogs and her husband.