Need a natural health kick? Since the late 1800s people have visited the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region for the rejuvenating effects of its cool climate and natural beauty. Those same health benefits remain today – they’re just a lot easier to enjoy thanks to a bunch of energising short walks. Here’s our pick:
Sanatorium Eco-Tourism Trail, Macedon Regional Park 2.4km – 1.5 hr
Flanked by stunning trees, this is a great place for a family stroll. Start at Days Picnic Ground and head down through lush vegetation to Sanatorium Lake, which was originally made to supply water to a proposed sanatorium in the area. Nowadays, it provides a peaceful little spot to sit and watch as dragonflies zoom over the water in the sunshine, casting a hazy reflection on the surface. After taking it all in, continue downhill, keeping an eye out for koalas, kookaburras and cheeky rosellas as you pass under towering trees and by gently bobbing ferns. After popping out of the forest, you’ll come to the wide grassy spaces of Sanatorium Picnic Ground, where BBQs and picnic tables await.
Tipperary Springs/ Twin Bridges, Hepburn Regional Park 4.6km – 1.5 hrs return
Step back in time as you track a gold rush era water race and wind through a forest gully lined with smooth white-barked eucalyptus. Get started at Tipperary Springs picnic area, cross a footbridge over Sailors Creek then follow the signs to Twin Bridges. After passing rocky outcrops and crossing small gullies, you’ll need a little balance as you hop-skip-and-jump across a creek on stepping stones. Up a hillside, down some steps, and then back along the creek towards where you started it all, at Tipperary Springs.
Mt Franklin Summit Walk, Hepburn Regional Park 2km – 1 hr
With its tall forested crown, Mt Franklin, known as Lalgambook by the Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owners, sits proudly on the land just north of Hepburn Springs. The visual drama of this extinct volcano continues in its belly – a deeply shaded crater of elm, poplar and sycamore trees that’s popular for campers. Heading off from here you’ll wind up through the foliage, past pockets of tufted grasses and manna gums, before reaching the summit, and a fire lookout tower. Though you can’t climb this one, stunning views south-west towards Shepherds Flat require no further elevation.
Sailors Falls Loop, Hepburn Regional Park 1.4km – 40 min
Drink mineral springs from a hand-pump before descending into a deeply incised valley on a recently built steel and stonework staircase. With bubbling Sailors Falls as your backdrop, work your way through a secluded pocket of the wet forest before zig-zagging through tall manna gums and stringy bark trees. After following the path of an old water race from the gold mining days, you’ll soon reach the lower mineral springs on the bank of Sailors Creek. Continue to the staircase and up to where you started, where a shaded picnic area and mural shelters offer a place to catch your breath.
All walks are dog-friendly, but dogs must be on a lead at all times.
Check the weather forecast and bush fire warnings before exploring the park
Check parks.vic.gov.au for current park information or call 13 19 63.