Mount Macedon Memorial Cross at the top of Mount Macedon
Do you enjoy easy walks to the top of volcanic rocks and granite boulders that offer fabulous views over the Victorian countryside? How about great artisan food and wine in very quaint Victorian towns? Well, you are in for a treat when you take a road trip to Mount Macedon in the Macedon Ranges. Yep, that’s right! Here is my suggestion of how to make the most of a Macedon Ranges Road Trip.
Where is Mount Macedon and How to Get There
Mount Macedon is in the Macedon Ranges that is found in the Macedon Ranges Shire which is located 60 kms north of Melbourne. The area is known for its volcanic rocks including Mount Macedon and Hanging Rock, its quaint Victorian towns and artisan foods and wines. You can reach the Macedon Ranges two ways – by train or road. If taking the train catch a V-line train from Southern Cross Station to Macedon Railway Station. From the station, you can walk into the town of Mount Macedon or you can hike to the top of Mount Macedon and enjoy the great views. I found it far easier to explore and enjoy the Mount Macedon Ranges with a car – after all, this is a road trip today and not a hike!
Mount Macedon is only an hour drive north of Melbourne up the Calder Highway (M79). It is very easy to reach and very well signposted. If you need to rent a car, you can check out pricing and availability here.
READ MORE: Taking your own car? Eight Quick Cars Checks Before Hitting The Road
Macedon Ranges Explained
I found the Macedon Ranges confusing at first because there is the Macedon Ranges Shire Council area where you will find the Macedon Ranges region. Within the region is Mount Macedon – the mountain, Mount Macedon – the town, and Macedon – another town. You can drive or walk through the Macedon Regional Park on Mount Macedon where you will find the Mount Macedon Memorial Cross. Each, on their own, can be explored. But all these places make up and can be found in the Macedon Ranges region. Got it!
Drive and Walk around Mount Macedon
Start your driving tour of the Macedon Ranges by driving to the top of Mount Macedon. Mount Macedon is an extinct volcano and is the highest mountain in the Macedon Ranges. Rising 1010 metres above sea level it offers some great views over the region. The two places of note to stop on your road trip tour of Mount Macedon are Camels Hump and the Mount Macedon Memorial Cross.
Mount Macedon’s Camels Hump
Camels Hump protruding on Mount Macedon
Camels Hump is the highest peak of Mount Macedon, at just over 1000 metres in elevation. You will find the carpark at the start of the walk to Camels Hump on the right-hand side of Cameron Drive on your way up to the Memorial Cross. Parking is free and sometimes limited due to the number of visitors visiting on the day.
The walk to the top of Camels Hump is short and steep but well worth the effort. The information board advises the walk should take around 20 minutes return, but definitely allow more time, particularly if you walk slow, plus you will want to enjoy the view from the top. Note, there is a steel step staircase to reach the top of the rocky outcrop where you will be treated to fantastic views.
The track to the top of Camels Hump will take you through changing vegetation. From grassy woodland to dominating Snow Gums. From the top you can see over to another Macedon Ranges landmark, Hanging Rock. On leaving Camels Hump, you can walk to the Mount Macedon Memorial Cross some 3.8km away or around 8km return. However, this may be quite a long walk for some, depending on your fitness and inclinations, so on this driving trip I suggest you drive to the top of Mount Macedon where you will find the Mount Macedon Memorial Cross.
Mount Macedon Memorial Cross and Major Mitchell Lookout
Major Mitchell Memorial Plaque
View from Major Mitchell Lookout Over to Woodend
As you continue driving to the top of Macedon you will reach the Mount Macedon Memorial Cross. Well not exactly, you will reach a large carpark with plenty of parkland where you can enjoy a BBQ or a picnic or a cuppa in the Top of the Ranges Tearoom. To get to the Memorial Cross, follow the signs along the walking path. Stop at the Major Mitchell Lookout for great views over to the town of Woodend. Major Thomas Mitchell was Surveyor General of the Colony of New South Wales and was the first person to map and survey Mount Macedon. He also named the mountain after Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. He named it on 30 September 1836. Stand at the lookout and see what he might have seen!
After enjoying the views from Major Mitchell Lookout, continue along the path to the Memorial Cross. The Mount Macedon Memorial Cross is a significant war memorial in Victoria. It stands 21 metres high and commemorates all those who served in wars and conflicts. The trees have grown so tall that there really aren’t any views over the area or over to Melbourne from the Memorial Cross, but there are still plenty of native bushes and trees to appreciate. If you want to see the views, like in my photo, they are when you are walking along the path toward the cross.
Mount Macedon Town
On your drive down Mount Macedon, you might want to pop into the town of Mount Macedon. This lovely town has many tree-lined streets and a few places to stop at. Notably the Trading Post which is the general store, a nursery or two, a restaurant and a pub. There is also some quaint accommodation if you wanted to extend your stay. If you have time, why not visit Hanging Rock. If you have never heard of it, read my post about it.
READ MORE: A Picnic At Hanging Rock
Visit the quaint towns of the Macedon Ranges
Woodend Main Street, A popular town to visit in the Macedon Ranges
There are many great local towns and villages to discover in the Macedon Ranges so you can extend your stay. Local towns like Macedon, Mount Macedon, Romsey, Gisborne and Kyneton. One very close to Mount Macedon and well worth a visit is Woodend.
Woodend is a quintessential rural village in Victoria. It’s Main Street is wide and tree-lined like many small Victorian towns. It is home to cosmopolitan cafes, bookstores and an eclectic mix of stores. You can enjoy a plethora of locally produced gourmet foods in these towns. Definitely try the award-winning vanilla slices at Bourkie’s Bakehouse, which I highly recommend. There is also great coffee to enjoy or try a beer at the Holgate Brewhouse located in a 19th century hotel. And there are a number of local wineries to go wine tasting at including Hanging Rock Winery.
Extend your stay in the Macedon Ranges
It is quite easy to extend your stay in the Macedon Ranges area to continue what the area has to offer, particularly if you like artisan food and wines. To extend your time you will need accommodation. Many of the quaint towns offer accommodation including in Woodend, Kyneton, Macedon, Gisborne and Lancefield to name a few towns close by. Book a place following to extend your stay.
The Macedon Ranges region is a popular day and weekend destination for many Melbournians, and anyone really who wants to visit the area. I hope this 1 Day driving tour of the Macedon Ranges helps you plan your trip to the area. After your visit, please let me know what you enjoyed the most in the comments below.
Sharyn McCullum has travelled all of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. She is the creator of Live Work and Play in Australia. She loves coffee, chocolate and parmas and currently calls Melbourne home. Read More.