AN hour’s drive from Melbourne, Mount Macedon is a beautiful town well known for its extravagant houses and gardens. Hui Jun Ng shares its top attractions.
Mount Macedon sits on a hill of the same name. It’s home to only 1000 people, but is such a popular holiday destination that it’s always bustling and alive. Its proximity to Melbourne makes it perfect for a weekend road trip. With that in mind, here are my top picks for what you should do and see in Mount Macedon.
1. Tieva Tara Gardens
751 Mt. Macedon Rd, Mt Macedon
Tieve Tara Gardens is open all year round. The garden is on a slope, so visitors can better admire the view that changes with the seasons. In summer, more than 200 plants bloom, transforming the garden into a spectacular scene of vibrant colours. In autumn, orange, yellow and red leaves dominate the leaf litter over the grasslands. In winter, leaves and flowers disappear, baring the branches of the trees and plants. There’s the occasional snow, and the cold fresh air is invigorating. In spring, the garden awakes from its deep slumber and ducklings come out to play.
This seven-and-a-half-acre masterpiece has been featured in Coxy’s Big Break, The Sun Herald and Telegraph. Entry is $8 per person.
2. Hanging Rock
South Rock Road, Woodend
At more than 700 metres above sea level, Hanging Rock is not a mountain, but a volcanic feature called a mamelon. This extraordinary structure was formed six million years ago. Since then, it’s been a refuge for bush rangers and home to a host of horse races. There are many walking trails around the Hanging Rock that allow you to admire the magnificent natural structure at your own pace.
Stability of the boulders is not guaranteed, so you should always respect the no climbing signs. Entrance fees depend on the type of car you’re driving. There is also a Discovery Centre at the start of the trail, which showcases the area’s vibrant history and interesting geology.
3. Sanatorium Lake
Macedon Regional Park, Mt Macedon
Sanatorium Lake is a fantastic location for picnics. Visitors should note that the lake is part of the area’s eco-tourism plan, so you should strive to impact the area as little as possible. The eco-tourism trail is about 2.5 kilometres and is a great one for lovers of local flora and fauna. There’s also a cycling track. Swimming in the lake is not allowed.
Sanatorium Lake is accessible via Lions Head Rd. To get there, drive along a gravel road, pass through the Days Picnic ground and stop at the designated car park. The captivating lake is just a short 250 metres from there and free to visit.
400 Cameron Drive, Mt Macedon
The 21 metre-high majestic Memorial Cross stands tall on the mountain and commemorates those who had served in World War I. The bird’s eye view from Memorial Cross is mesmerising, especially at sunset when the sky turns a myriad of orange and purple colours.
To get there, drive 4km along Cameron Dr from the summit of Mount Macedon Rd and walk 200 metres from the car park to the Memorial Cross. Arrive before sunset to see Mount Macedon’s marvelous surroundings.
5. Mount Macedon Hotel
694 Mt Macedon Road, Mt Macedon
Mount Macedon Hotel is open for lunch and dinner every day. This country-style pub has a bistro and a bar operating under one roof. After comparing the two menus, I settled for the bar and had the most delicious pizza. I highly recommend the prosciutto pizza, chicken parma and porterhouse steak!
The fish and chips were overly fishy while the mountain beef burger was disappointingly stale. Cozy guest rooms are also available for rent if you’re planning a weekend getaway.