Get the kids outdoors this autumn with a quick country escape to the Macedon Ranges.
Just a hop, skip and a jump from Melbourne by car or comfortable V-Line train, the Macedon Ranges offers plenty of fun activities for kids (and parents) to enjoy.
From vintage horse-drawn carriage rides, playing in autumn leaves, country pies and nature hikes, the Macedon Ranges is a treasure-trove of family-oriented things to do.
Read on for cool ideas on how to frolic in the Macedon Ranges this autumn. PLUS! Make sure to enter our vintage horse drawn carriage ride valued at $150!
Play in the Autumn Leaves
The Macedon Ranges is famous for its beauty during autumn, with leaves putting on a stunning display of colour in fire and jewel tones.
There are many ways to enjoy the autumn leaf vista of the ranges. Because let’s face it, what child doesn’t love a good muck about in colourful leaves? There are also fantastic photo opportunities to create special memories of your kids in the country.
One of the popular spots to enjoy the beauty of autumn in the ranges is on Mount Macedon. As you approach the mountain via Macedon village, you will be blown away by the beauty of Honour Avenue, lined with 154 oak trees in full autumn glory.
There are a couple of famous homesteads on the mount that open their gates to the public for special autumn rambles, in addition to the year-round Open Garden of Forest Glades.
Bring a picnic and a rug and let the kids have a ball discovering secret hidey spots in the gardens. Alternatively,, the Mount Macedon Trading Post Cafe does a fabulous Devonshire Tea, or check out the Mount Macedon Hotel for a pub lunch. In Macedon village, locals enjoy Mr. Macedon cafe.
Please Note: There are parking restrictions at Macedon and Mount Macedon until Thursday 25 April. A hop-on-hop-off free shuttle service will be operating on weekends and public holidays until Thursday 25 April (between 10 – 4pm, with last shuttle service departing at 3.30pm). The shuttle travels between Macedon train station, Centennial Park (Honour Avenue) and the Open Gardens on Mount Macedon. For detailed information on parking, our free weekend shuttle service, and Open Gardens on Mount Macedon, download a brochure or click here.
Malmsbury Botanic Gardens
For a true country experience and a visual autumn treat, check out the beautiful Malmsbury Botanical Gardens. Here, you can ride your bikes and enjoy an easy stroll. The park offers picturesque views to the ancient Malmsbury viaduct bridge along with a small playground, and plenty of quacking ducks. honking geese, and leaves to play in.
And when the kids get hungry, the Malmsbury Bakery situated on the main drag is a great spot for a true country pie or yummy vanilla slice. Bring the dog too, there are plenty of places to tie up pooch outside the bakery, and the park is dog friendly (on leads of course).
Woodend Walks and Hanging Rock Hikes
Woodend can be accessed by car or the comfortable V-Line train that departs from Southern Cross Station. It is a quiet village with a couple of really good pubs (The Victoria Hotel and Holgates Brewery), shops along the High Street for browsing, and a killer burger joint called Super Lekker that kids will love!
A short drive from Woodend is the famous Hanging Rock. Here, you can enjoy a hike to the summit for amazing views and exercise, or simply bring a picnic. Hanging Rock Cafe is also on-hand for coffee, ice creams, lunches, cake and baby chinos!
Camp Out at the Rock
Don’t miss the opportunity to camp out at Hanging Rock! This fun event is on 6 April 2019 and is a super fun experience for kids.
Click here for more details.
Campaspe River Rambles
Kyneton’s Campaspe River runs alongside the beautiful Kyneton Botanic Gardens, which is also home to a fab outdoor children’s adventure playground. A walk and cycle path takes you under historic oak, elm and birch trees, with plenty of spots for a picnic or fishing (pick up a fishing license from the Woodend Visitor Centre on High Street as you are passing through).
Make sure to bring your pooch on a lead so they can also join in the family fun.
The river cuts across one end of Piper Street, Kyneton’s bustling retail hot spot for fantastic clothing, homewares, art, coffee, gin bars, dining and more. You can easily spend time here hopping in and out of shops, kids permitting!
The Kyneton Farmers’ Markets are held on the second Saturday of the month along Piper Street. so use the opportunity to stock up on some healthy local produce.
For something different, take a drive just out of Kyneton to the stunning gardens at Bringlebit homestead. Peacocks wander freely in all their feathered glory, and the scenic drive through granite landscapes are part of the fun. The gardens are open on weekends from 10 – 4pm and cost $5 for adults to enter (kids are free).
Enchanted Forest Sand Sculpting Adventure
Held on the beautiful grounds of Dromkeen in Riddells Creek, this amazing sand art exhibit features 14 hand-carved sand sculptures by famous national and international sand artists. The kids will love this magical sand world of fairies, goblins and unicorns! Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30 – 5pm, until the end of April.
Click here for more details.
Daylesford Macedon Open Studios Event
Here’s an opportunity to meet the artists of Daylesford Macedon Ranges. Held over 13 – 14 and 20 – 22 April 2019, this free annual event offers kids a rare chance to see how professional artists work, how their studios are set up and to ask how and why painters, sculptors, ceramicists, print makers, photographers and mixed media exponents do what they do.
Click here for more information.
Gisborne Vintage Machine Rally & Tractor Pull
Put 19 May in your diary! The Gisborne Vintage Machinery Rally and Tractor Pull is a really awesome day out for the family and includes miniature train rides, a vintage tractor pull, vintage stationary engines and machinery, classic and vintage cards, trucks and tractors, and soooooo much more. There is even an animal farm, kids rides and market stalls.
Click here for more information.
Hanging Rock Llama Experience
Okay, this experience is so awesome it is currently booked out until June, but you just have to know about it. It’s the kind of activity that can be enjoyed year-round (weather permitting) and kids just love it!
Visit this llama farm nearby Hanging Rock for a few hours to meet, mingle, lead, and feed their well-trained, friendly llamas and learn what these gentle creatures are all about. The farm experience is for all ages and abilities. They also provide three hour walks to the base of Hanging Rock for those a little more adventurous and energetic.
Click here for more information.
Cycle Kyneton to Malmsbury
If you enjoy bike riding, our Kyneton to Malmsbury road cycle route is an easy to moderate ride for families to enjoy.
It’s a 27.5 circuit that takes approximately 1 hour 25 minutes, departing from the bustling streets of Kyneton, to the tranquil surrounds of Malmsbury. Open paddocks, expanses of farmland and beautiful quiet roads are a feature of this very achievable and satisfying return trip. Both towns are the ideal place to grab a coffee or lunch and browse great local shops.
Alternatively pack some snacks and enjoy the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens.
Please Note: This ride is suitable for average fitness levels. It requires you to cycle along roads shared with vehicles, there is not a separate bike lane.
Go on a Vintage Horse Drawn Carriage Ride
Go back in time with a vintage horse drawn carriage ride by Yesteryear Today. Ride along quiet country roads in the rural landscapes of Carlsrhue, with vistas to Hanging Rock and the Macedon Ranges. Families simply love these rides!
Rides range from 60 minute scenic trips to half day (4 hour) winery or garden picnics. The 60 minute rides are typically the best option for families.
Their 1890s ‘canoe front buggy wagonette’ takes 2-3 passengers and the wagon up to 6 average sized adult passengers at a time (or equivalent).
On cold autumn and winter days there are plenty of rugs provided to snuggle under, and there is a canopy on the large wagon with sides that can be lowered to make it even more snug.
There are a variety of trips you can choose from, however the old Cobb & Co Stage Coach route through the sleepy hamlet of Carlsruhe is a winner for kids. There are also plenty of opportunities to pull up alongside a farm fence to look at animals or stop for photos along the way.
PS. Transfers from Kyneton or Woodend train station may also be arranged upon request, if you would prefer not to drive.
Availability: Yesteryear Today are typically open year-round and are happy to do rides on short notice. However, please note the owners will be taking a holiday over April/May. Winter is still a lovely time to go on a ride, where you will be provided with woolly blankets to cosy up under.
How to Book: Rose Latimer is the lovely lady that runs Yesteryear Today Carriages. She will be checking her emails while away on holidays, so book your date in advance and lock down a horse carriage ride!
Email: Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0411 468 117.
Enter to Win a Vintage Horse Drawn Carriage Ride
Here’s your chance to win a vintage horse drawn carriage ride for up to six people valued at $150!
Valid from mid June 2019, this 60 minute carriage ride departs from Hedge Farm and takes you along the quiet country roads of Carlsruhe, with views to Hanging Rock. It passes alongside farming land where the kids can see animals. The peaceful ‘clip clop’ of the horses hooves providing a soothing backdrop to an already serene setting. Click on the link below to enter!