Set off on the Calder Freeway from Melbourne to Woodend, through scenic rural landscapes of mountain ranges and sweeping vistas, past award-winning wineries and their acres of grape vines, to gorgeous boutiques and galleries via enticing eateries. It's easy to then head back down the Western Freeway to the city.
Wear your best stretchy trousers for your roadtrip to allow for the gastronomic pleasures awaiting in the fabulous foodie towns of Woodend, Kyneton and Trentham. Stock up on everything from smallgoods to biscuits and pizza, especially the gourmet bakery fare at Redbeard Historic Bakery. Make a reservation at one of the acclaimed fine dining eateries for a memorable meal.
You'll get a chance to work off your epicurean indulgences by donning your boots for spectacular walks through the Lerderderg State Park, close to Blackwood. Discover old gold mines, water races, the inviting Grahams Dam, Fosters Lookout and The Gorge. Walks here range from easy one-hour strolls to a 20-kilometre overnight hike. You can also visit the charming NMIT Kyneton Park on the banks of the Campaspe River, where you can relax under the 100-year-old elm and oak trees and enjoy the spirit of country horse racing at the Kyneton and Hanging Rock Racing Club.
There's an abundance of highlights in the Macedon Ranges, but the most iconic is Hanging Rock, the mysterious geological formation made famous by the novel and film Picnic at Hanging Rock. Bring a picnic of local produce to this legendary location and savour spectacular views across the landscape. There are also regular events and horse racing meets at Hanging Rock and nearby Kyneton, which offer different perspectives of the iconic landmark.
Artists abound in the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region and you'll find stunning interpretations of the surrounding landscape by the local talent in galleries and on cafe and restaurant walls.
The Macedon Ranges and Moorabool Loop is compact enough to complete in one day, but with all the exceptional restaurants, wineries and natural attractions you'd be rewarded for staying a night or two. Choose from a wide range of historic and luxurious bed-and-breakfasts, self-contained apartments and houses or motels.
A mix of fashionable wine and retail shops await visitors to Woodend, as well as a brewery, delightful cafes and country pubs celebrating the terrific regional food and wine. Admire the gorgeously restored 1920s heritage Campaspe House and its boutique accommodation. The enigmatic Hanging Rock is easily reached from Woodend.
Piper Street, Kyneton, is a gourmand's delight. Here you can find renowned restaurants alongside eateries offering handmade biscuits, fair-trade coffee, wood fired pizza and local epicurean delights. There is also a great range of quirky boutiques, galleries and vintage stores to browse. Fill your flask with natural mineral water from the historic pump at the Kyneton Mineral Springs.
Numerous impressive National Trust buildings, peaceful botanic gardens, and a striking historic railway viaduct dot Malmsbury and surrounds. The former gold-rush service centre features deep bluestone gutters, corrugated sidings and long verandah overhangs.
Award-winning cuisine and amazingly fresh local produce are the ultimate souvenirs of a stop in Trentham. Try a sourdough breadmaking workshop at Redbeard Historic Bakery, stroll the farmers' market, enjoy French country cuisine, or settle in for lunch in the garden at the local hotel. Art galleries and antique stores offer non-gastronomic diversions.
The historic village of Blackwood is surrounded by the Wombat State Forest. Against the backdrop of its tall timbers, lush greenery and flourishing commercial nurseries, you'll find historic tearooms, gourmet fare and appealing bush walking trails
Tucked into scenic rolling hills and green country landscapes, Greendale invites you to lace up your boots, pack a picnic lunch and take a bushwalk. Alternatively, visit the historic hotel and old sandstone church ruins.