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A Dog’s Guide to the Macedon Ranges this Summer

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The days are long and our vitamin D levels are back on track. Most of you have a little holiday time up your sleeve to refresh and re-energise. If you’re a pet owner, you’ll want to enjoy the balmy weather with your bestie by your side.

Our dog friendly Macedon Ranges guide is designed to get you outdoors this summer, so you can spend quality time in the countryside with your closest friend(s), furry or otherwise.

Dogs are very welcome in the Macedon Ranges. You’d be surprised how many things you can do with your pooch in tow!

Walkies in the Macedon Ranges

If you’d like to stretch your legs over the summer months, check out these suggestions for dog friendly Macedon Ranges walking spots.

Macedon Regional Park

Please Note: Dogs must be on a leash at all times.

There are a number of walking trails in Macedon Regional Park, catering to different fitness levels. If you are looking for family friendly options, try Sanatorium Lake or Camels Hump. For a more challenging hike give the Macedon Walking Trail a go, which connects many of the features of Macedon Regional Park.

Camels Hump to Days Picnic Ground:  1.8km

Like nearby Hanging Rock, the volcanic rocky outcrop of Camel’s Hump is a ‘mamelon’, formed six million years ago. It is also the highest peak in the Macedon Ranges, offering fab views of the countryside. This is an easy to moderate circuit track that loops around Camels Hump and continues over Mount Macedon Road and on to Days Picnic Ground.

Sanatorium Lake Eco Walking Trail: 2.5km

The walk passes through several different types of vegetation including tall eucalypt forests and a wet fern gully.

Access and Parking: Days Picnic Ground, Lions Head Road carpark and Sanatorium Picnic Ground.

Macedon Walking Trail: 30km

This is a loop trail and takes approximately seven hours (or more if you like to stop along the way) to complete the entire walk. Go prepared!

I highly recommend the Macedon Ranges Walking Trail for fit dogs, but make sure you’re prepared with lots of water and treats for both doggo and humans to keep hydrated and the energy levels up! The tastiest sausage roll is waiting at the end of the hike at the Mt Macedon Trading Post Cafe.

Walkies Tip from @gustagram

Check out this PDF about walks in the Macedon Regional Park or go to the Parks Victoria website for maps and detailed information.

1. Chilling out at Sanatorium Lake (Image credit: Instagram @harveyandkoba_goldenretrievers 2. Gus on the Macedon Ranges Walking Trail 3. Gus on an 18.8km stretch of the Macedon Ranges Walking Trail (Image Credit Pics 2 & 3: Instagram @gustagram)

Black Hill Reserve

Only five minutes drive north of Kyneton, Black Hill Reserve is known for its imposing rock formations such as The Monolith, one of the biggest granite features in Victoria. It offers three walking trails for different fitness levels.

Flophouse Kyneton dogs going for a walk at Black Hill Reserve

Walkies at Black Hill Reserve. Image credit: Flophouse Kyneton

Circuit Track: 3.9km

A gentle walk with only a few inclines. Some people find it easier to walk this trail in a counter-clockwise direction. Allow a good hour for this walk, more if you spend time enjoying the views or a picnic.

Ridge Track: 2.7km

A more strenuous walk with some steep sections and well over 250 steps along the way. You will encounter lots of rock formations, huge granite boulders sculpted by erosion, particularly around Cave Rocks and the Eastern Lookout.

Revegetated Area Track: 1.7km

An easy walk and a popular area for kangaroos seeking shade in hot weather.

Please Note: Dogs must be on a leash at all times.

Tip: Pack a picnic or scoot back into Kyneton for a refreshing drink. If you time your walk with the Kyneton Farmers’ Markets (held on the 2nd Saturday of the month), you can even pick up some local produce supplies before setting out.

Picnics with Pup

Do you like the thought of stretching out on the grass under the shade of a big old oak tree? The Macedon Ranges has a number of parks perfect for a picnic with pup. Either pack your own picnic or pick up some local goodies from providores.

Malmsbury Botanic Gardens

This is the place to escape the heat of summer. The Malmsbury Botanic Gardens was established in the 1850’s and is one of Victoria’s earliest regional botanic gardens. There are plenty of shady spots around the lake to enjoy a picnic on the grass, or set up camp at a picnic table. The gardens also offer a magnificent view to the old bluestone railway viaduct, an example of one of Australia’s finest early bridges.

There is a large family of geese and ducks living at the gardens, so make sure pup keeps a respectful distance.

Location: Ellesmere Place, Malmsbury

Playground & BBQ Facilities: Yes

Hot Tip: Moto Bean is a dog friendly cafe directly across the road that serves fantastic coffee and food. Or grab a true country-style pie from the family owned Malmsbury Bakery.

Kyneton Botanic Gardens

These gardens date back to 1858. Here too you will find plenty of shade under the likes of grand old Himalayan Oaks. There is a peaceful bike and walking path running along the Campaspe River as well as a fantastic children’s adventure park. You will find plenty of quiet spots throughout the Kyneton Botanic Gardens and along the Campaspe for a special picnic.

Location: 2 Clowes Street, Kyneton

Playground & BBQ Facilities: Yes

Hot Tip: Pick up a handmade terrine, English-style pork pies, fresh baguettes, cheeses, pates, local olives and more at Piper Street Food Co or Monsieur Pierre’s in Kyneton. Home Grown on Piper is a great cafe to pick up healthy picnic supplies (okay, and cake), and cater to a number of dietary needs.

There are also a number of fantastic bakeries to pick up a pie, sandwich or quiche including Grist and the Kyneton Bakehouse on Piper Street, Country Cob on Mollison Street or Indulgence Bakery on High Street.

Gisborne Botanic Gardens

A hop, skip and jump from Melbourne, the Gisborne Botanic Gardens offer a maze of winding pathways along flat and hilly terrain, and a bubbling little creek.

Location: 6 Aitken Street, Gisborne

Playground & BBQ Facilities: Yes

Hot Tip: Head to Gisborne Peak Winery while you are in this neck of the woods for a spot of wine tasting at their dog friendly cellar door.

Malmsbury Viaduct

The old bluestone railway viaduct in Malmsbury.

Dog Friendly Places to Eat

There are a number of dog friendly Macedon Ranges cafes and restaurants particularly perfect for pooches on a summer’s day. Here our some of our top picks…

Moto Bean Cafe

Located on a quiet street in Malmsbury directly across from the botanic gardens (see above), Moto Bean Cafe welcomes dogs to visit! This popular cafe has an outdoor seated area where your dog can sit with you (on lead) and there are water bowls available. They roast and grind their own coffee on-site and serve a killer breakfast menu and mouth-watering American-style smoked BBQ lunch. Plus you can also sample local wine, cider, beer and gin distilled in the Macedon Ranges.

Located: 50 Clowes Street, Malmsbury

Open: Thursday to Sunday, 8am – 4pm

Moto Bean Dog Friendly

Pip enjoying an outing on the deck at Moto Bean Cafe in Malmsbury.

Kuzu Izakaya

This Japanese restaurant in Woodend is so popular you will need to book in advance.

The restaurant has an outdoor courtyard where you can bring your dog and enjoy the most amazing Japanese food you have ever had the pleasure of tasting. A collaboration between restaurateur Gareth Rowlands and Chef Eriko Pannan, the restaurant serves traditional Japanese Izakaya cuisine, Macedon Ranges wines & sake. If you have kids, take them down to the Woodend Children’s Park afterwards to let off some steam.

Located: 42D Anslow Street, Woodend, (03) 4417 7804

Open: Wednesday 5pm – 9pm, Thursday to Saturday 12pm – 3pm | 5pm – 9pm, Sunday 12pm – 3pm

The Parkland Kyneton

The Parkland Kyneton is a stylish restaurant and bar on Kyneton’s historic Piper Street where you go for seriously good gourmet fare and a seriously good drinks menu. Their menu is focused on locally sourced produce and offers an extensive range of wine, beers and spirits from the Macedon Ranges and surrounds. Sit out on their verandah overlooking a shady park with a cold glass of vino, and soak up the K-Town vibe with your dog by your side. Or just stop by for a coffee.

Located: 37 Piper Street, Kyneton

Open: Friday to Tuesday 12pm to late, Wednesday & Thursday 12pm lunch only.

The Milko

The Milko is a great cafe in the heart of Woodend, with an outdoor courtyard. It’s kid friendly and dog friendly and a popular spot for brekkie and lunch. Time it with a trip to the Woodend Community Farmers’ Markets (1st Saturday of the month) and pay a visit to the nearby Woodend Children’s Park if you have kids in tow.

Located: 118 – 126 High Street, Woodend

Open: Monday to Friday 9am – 4pm, Weekends 9am – 3pm

Duck Duck Goose Larder

This popular cafe situated inside an historic building on Kyneton’s Piper Street, has a big grassy area out front with umbrella-shaded tables. Here you can dine with your dog by your side and enjoy a delicious breakfast, lunch or light snack. Plus you’re well situated for a spot of retail therapy inside the cafe afterwards, with a fantastic range of homewares, gifts and gourmet fare on offer.

Located: 17 – 21 Piper Street, Kyneton

Open: Monday to Saturday 8.30am – 4pm, Sunday 8.30am – 3pm

Quench your Thirst

There’s nothing better on a hot summer’s day than sipping on a cold pint with your dog at your feet. The Macedon Ranges has plenty of dog friendly bars and pubs where you are welcome to bring your pet and partake in one or two beverages of the alcoholic variety. Here are a couple of suggestions…

Holgates Brewhouse

Holgates Brewhouse is a family-owned affair that produces genuine craft beer brewed, bottled and kegged on-site. Situated inside a beautiful 19th century red-brick hotel in Woodend, it is a truly historic country pub.

Dog owners can kick back in a shady courtyard with a view up to the old village clock tower, and have a blast matching food and beer. Plus the brewhouse is easily accessible from the Woodend V-Line train station if you want to enjoy a few pints and not worry about driving.

Location: 79 High Street, Woodend

Open: 12pm till late, 7 days

Holgate Brewhouse Dog Friendly

Holgate Brewhouse in Woodend is 100% dog friendly!

Evan’s Wine & Cheese Bar

Evan’s Wine and Cheese Bar is located in the historic little village of Romsey.  You’ll find it inside Romsey House, built in 1860. This local’s fav has an outdoor courtyard that welcomes dogs (on leads), and often has live music outside on Sundays. It serves local, Australian and international wine, craft beer and cider, accompanied by an exciting tapas menu designed to be shared amongst friends.

Location: 119A Main Street, Romsey

Open: Thursday – Friday 4pm – 11pm | Saturday 10am – 11pm, Sunday 10am – 9pm

Animus Distillery, Cocktail Bar & Lounge

Animus is a gin distillery and bar located on Kyneton’s Piper Street. It has outdoor seating where pooches can sit with their owners while they enjoy a gin cocktail in the sun. Animus’ hand crafted, artisan gins are winning awards worldwide! They also serve other gins locally distilled in the Macedon Ranges, in addition to a selection of local and international whiskey, wine and beer.

Location: 89a Piper Street, Kyneton

Open: Wednesday – Thursday 4pm – 8pm, Friday 4pm – 11pm, Saturday 12pm – 11pm, Sunday 12pm – 9pm

Macedon Ranges Bars

Enjoy a cool cocktail at Animus in Kyneton.

The Victoria Hotel

Located only a short 150m walk from the Woodend V-Line train station, The Victoria Hotel in Woodend is a great country pub with a dog friendly courtyard. Enjoy lunch or dinner downed with a coldie (or two)  then catch the train back home. Perfect.

Located: 67 High Street, Woodend

Open: Sunday to Thursday 11am – 9.30pm, Friday & Saturday 11am – 11pm.

Visit a Country Market

Farmers’ markets in the Macedon Ranges are all dog friendly. If your dog is ‘market friendly‘, take them for a day out to the country and pick up some tasty fresh produce. Our farmers’ markets are brimming with local free range eggs and pastured poultry, free range pork, organic vegetable, locally made cheese, wine, olives… the list goes on. Dogs will love the smell of goat sausages sizzling on the BBQ and spending time with mum and dad too.

Macedon Ranges Farmers’ Market Dates

Woodend Community Farmers’ Markets: 1st Saturday of the month

Kyneton Farmers’ Markets: 2nd Saturday of the month

Riddells Creek Farmers’ Markets: 3rd Saturday of the month

Lancefield Community Farmers’ Markets: (plastic bag free) 4th Saturday of the month

Please note: Dogs must be on leashes at the markets.

Get a Culture Fix

Go cellar door hopping with your pooch in tow. Or visit an art exhibition in the vines. There are many Macedon Ranges wineries that welcome dogs with open arms! Here a just a few…

Gisborne Peak Winery

Gisborne Peak Winery offers a great day out with friends where you can experience wine tasting and a lazy lunch. Sit on the open air deck, sip wine and feast on wood-fired pizzas, along with tasting platters, a baked Brie to die for, sizzling prawns, grilled chorizo and cheesy garlic bread. The winery is so pet friendly it even posts a ‘Pet of the Week’ pic every Wednesday to their Facebook page.

Location: 69 Short Road, Gisborne

Open: 7 days a week: Weekdays 11am – 4pm, Weekends and Public Holidays 11am – 5pm (Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day)

Hunter Gatherer Vintners

Only 10 minutes from Woodend or Kyneton, Hunter Gatherer Vintners is a family-run vineyard and cellar door offering a range of award winning, handcrafted wines including Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay, Riesling, Chardonnay, Rose, Pinot noir, Shiraz, Sangiovese and Sparkling Shiraz. They also serve grazing plates that you can enjoy on a picnic table with views to rolling hills and vines.

Location: 362 Pipers Creek Pastoria Road, Pipers Creek

Cellar Door Open: Weekends 9 – 5pm

Hunter Gatherer Winery Dog Friendly

Hunter Gatherer Vintners are super dog friendly!

Parkside Winery Estate

Parkside Winery Estate is all about great wine and a relaxed atmosphere. Their family friendly venue offers tastings in a lovingly restored 1890’s horse stable, then afterward, you can relax with a glass of wine on the deck or surrounding lawn area. The winery produces medal winning Sparkling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, all estate grown and vinified in the small winery at Parkside. Whilst Parkside does not have a restaurant, cheese platters can be arranged prior to visiting throughout the year.

Location: 308 Parks Road, Lancefield

Cellar Door Open: Weekends and most public holidays from 11 – 4pm, May to September by appointment only.

Diva at Parkside Winery

Diva, the resident Doberman at Parkside Winery Estate

Hanging Rock Winery

Hanging Rock Winery is located 3km from the iconic Hanging Rock and offers stunning views. There are over 20 wines on tasting, plus they have widened their products to include grass fed Hanging Rock Beef, available for purchase from the cellar door.

The winery also offers gourmet picnic boxes prepared by popular Kyneton providore The Piper Street Food Co, to enjoy on their picnic tables and grassy lawn.

Picnic boxes are available for sale throughout the week until sold out. If you wish to guarantee a picnic for the weekend, make sure to order and pre-pay via no later than the Wednesday prior. Call (03) 5427 0542 or email 

Art in the Vines

Give your dog a little art education. Hanging Rock Winery is host to Art in the Vines, a sculpture exhibition featuring 25 works of art handcrafted by leading local, national and international sculptors.  runs until 31 March 2019.

Located: 88 Jim Road, Newham

Hours: 7 days, 10am – 5pm (excluding Christmas Day and Good Friday)

PS. Dogs must be on a leash.

There are many more wineries that welcome dogs (on leads) including Hesket Estate Winery and Mount Towrong Vineyard. Give them a call in advance if you want to be sure!

Visit a Waterfall

Turpins Falls Scenic Reserve is a little known waterfall situated 12.6km from Kyneton. The falls cascade into a large billabong, with sheer rock formations on three sides.

You can enjoy scenic views of the falls from a lookout nearby the car park, however, if you are up for an adventure there is a steep, unmaintained pathway to the waterhole at the base of the falls. Enclosed footwear is recommended and make sure you are ‘snake aware’, particularly over the summer period.

Turpins Falls stands out as one of the State’s most impressive examples of a naturally formed basalt column cathedral.  Its wide girth and large reflective pool combine to make it look and feel much larger than other waterfalls in its class” – Brad Neal, Author of Waterfall Seasons of Victoria – The Waterfall Guide.

Parks Victoria do not recommend swimming in the waterhole due to the extremely cold water. The water can get very deep quickly off the rocks too. It’s stunningly beautiful to look at though! There are no amenities or general facilities such as toilets or picnic tables.

Important! Access to the top of the falls is permanently closed for safety reasons. This is not to be taken lightly. There has been death and spinal injuries from people jumping off the top of the falls. Low visibility in the water means that it is impossible to see underwater hazards. Please adhere to all Parks Victoria warning signs at the site.

Access: via Shillidays Road, Langley

Stay the Night

Make a trip out of it and spend a night or two or three at one of these dog friendly Macedon Ranges accommodation options.

Flop House

Flop House manage 15 guesthouses in the region. With an air of simple luxury and refined living, Flop Houses’ suite of accommodation offerings are perfect for those with a love for good linen, textiles and chic Scandinavian design.  They also supply guests with a welcome hamper that includes locally grown produce and offer discounts for participating in local workshops.

Hobreid House

Hobreid House is situated five minutes from the heart of Woodend. It is in-house accommodation but offers privacy and peace to its guests. Surrounded by beautiful gardens with Japanese maples and camellias, it is the perfect setting for viewing the resident native birds. Rates range from $85 (single) to $145 (double) per night.

Hobreid House

Matilda Cottage

Matilda Cottage is a two bedroom self contained cottage on a private property in South Gisborne. It’s a great location to escape and enjoy the tranquility, with beautiful sunsets and  sparkling city views through the valley and trees to Melbourne. Dawn and dusk are shared with beautiful bird life and kangaroos grazing nearby.  The cottage sleeps up to four guests and has a BBQ plus  private fenced garden suitable for pets.
Matilda Cottage South Gisborne

Mews Cottages

Mews Cottages are nestled in the foothills of Mount Macedon. They are a gorgeous collection of cottage-style escapes, within walking distance of the train station in New Gisborne village. Their location offers the perfect base to explore wineries, restaurants, galleries and hiking trails in the Macedon Ranges.

Romantics will love Jasmine and Magnolia cottages with their big open-plan living areas and spa ensuites. Birch has one-bedroom, and is next door to the two-bedroom Lavender Cottage – combine both for three-bedrooms and you can share the sun-drenched courtyard. In total, the cottages can accommodate up to 10, perfect for memorable group escapes.

Gisborne B&B Peonies & Pomegranates

Peonies and Pomegranates B&B is close to the Pyrites Forest and ranges from $140 to $180 per night. It has two bedrooms with queen size beds and two single rooms, along with well appointed kitchenette and a BBQ in the garden. Pets are welcome on arrangement with the B&B.
Peonies and Pomegrantes B&B

Macedon Black Forest Motel

The Black Forest Motel is the closest motel to Mount Macedon and Hanging Rock and is also well located to access the many wineries and cellar doors in the area. The Macedon Village and the Macedon train station are 600 meters from the motel, allowing a night out at the local restaurants without the need to drive (where your sure to see a rabbit or two and maybe even a kangaroo) on your way home.

Black Forest Motel


Be Fire Aware. Check the CFA website for high fire warning days and take necessary precautions.

Disclaimer: Some pics used in this blog article have dogs off-lead for a quick photo only. Please double check all opening hours of businesses listed due to operational changes as result of COVID-19. For the latest health and travel advice visit the DHHS website.

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