Best time to visit:
All year round

Situated in the heart of the Macedon Ranges, Woodend is a lively and welcoming village, which has successfully maintained its small country town charm over the years. So much so, that in January 2023 it was crowned the most liveable town in regional Victoria.

Located an easy 45-minute drive from the heart of Melbourne along the Calder Freeway, Woodend was first established as a main thoroughfare for those seeking their riches in Victoria’s goldfields in the 1850s. The legacy of these times is still evident today, with historic buildings lining the main boulevard, sitting alongside boutique shops, cosy cafés and charming country pubs.

With Mount Macedon providing a stunning backdrop to the town, Woodend is also the ideal launching pad for discovering the various walks, hikes, wineries, distilleries and natural attractions found in the area.

Follow our itinerary below to discover the best of Woodend.

Travel tip: The V/Line station is located in the heart of town, making train travel a fantastic option when visiting Woodend. The main street is a short stroll from the train station and multiple dining, shopping and accommodation options.

Bourkies Bakehouse

Start your day at Bourkies Bakehouse, this Woodend institution has been serving up sweet and savoury bakery favourites for over 30 years. Be sure to try their award winning vanilla slice. On cooler days, the indoor eating space is a great option, while the covered outdoor area offers a cool place to sit and watch the passing parade on warmer days.

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Woodend Children’s Park

If you are travelling with young ones, a visit to Woodend isn’t complete without stopping off at the impressive Children’s Park. This huge playground caters for kids of all ages with multiple playing zones, including an enclosed play area for little ones, musical instruments, a giant spider web and a flying fox. Treat the kids afterwards with an ice cream from Woodend Ice Cream Co.

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Hanging Rock Reserve (Ngannelong)

A short 5-minute drive from Woodend is the iconic Hanging Rock Reserve. The views from the top of ‘The Rock’ are well worth the short, yet steep hike. Be sure to visit the Hanging Rock Discovery Centre, which provides a fascinating background on the history, mystery and geology of the Rock. Reward yourself with a treat from the Hanging Rock Café at the end of your explorations.

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Newham General Store

For lunch, head to the charming Newham General Store, located a short drive from Hanging Rock Reserve. Here you will find a lunch menu that heroes local produce. Nab one of the outdoor seats on sunny day and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Be sure to pick up a bottle of locally made gin by GINDU before leaving.

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Hanging Rock Winery

Wash down your lunch with an award-winning cool climate wine at Hanging Rock Winery. Enjoy a wine tasting as you take in the spectacular views of both Hanging Rock and Mount Macedon. If visiting over the warmer months, be sure to check out their annual Art in the Vines exhibition – which features contemporary outdoor sculptures from local and international artists. Entry is free.

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Shopping in Woodend

Make your way back to Woodend and take a leisurely wander down the historic main street, stopping off for a spot of shopping along the way. We recommend starting at Woodend General, this beautifully curated lifestyle store joyfully combines everything from gardening tools and baby attire to jewellery and homewares. A few doors down you’ll find Think Alike, which is home to a curated selection of unique pieces for the modern woman. Further down the road, Sassy is another boutique store specialising in women’s fashion. While Mort & Pestle is the go-to spot for kitchen goods and homewares, offering some stylish Woodend themed keepsakes.

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Holgate Brewhouse

After you’ve finished hitting the shops, pull up a pew at the Holgate Brewhouse. Start with one of their famous tasting paddles to determine which of their award-winning brews you like best, before tucking into some hearty pub fare for dinner. A tasting paddle can be enjoyed at either the original Brewhouse, or next door at their modern Taproom – within which you can view the beers being made in the adjoining brewery.

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Victoria Hotel

End your day with a night cap at the Rock and Wombat Bar at Woodend’s Victoria Hotel. Here you can sip on a local drop as you read about the fascinating history of the hotel on the walls that surround you - including everything from bushrangers and ghosts, to mob warfare.

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Overnight

Woodend offers a range of different accommodation options, from cosy cottages to larger style hotels. For a central location that won’t break the bank, you can’t beat the Holgate Brewhouse, which offers upstairs accommodation within the actual Brewhouse. A short drive south of town you’ll find the Macedon Ranges Hotel & Spa, where each of the rooms offer spectacular views of Mount Macedon. Or closer to Hanging Rock, the aptly named Hanging Rock Views offer four luxuriously appointed suites.

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About the author

KREATE MadeleineBlake
Madeleine Blake
PR managerat| More Articles

Madeleine is the PR manager at Daylesford Macedon Tourism and the editor of Daylesford Macedon Life magazine. A Woodend local, she loves getting out and about meeting with tourism operators and helping to spread the word about the many amazing things to do in the region. On the weekends, Madeleine can be found exploring the region with her three young kids in tow.

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