Whether you’re looking for a chilled weekend with a bit of nature or putting down some serious kilometres on the trails, Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges are calling your name.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.



  • 210km of walking or riding on the Goldfields Track
  • Local produce and fresh seasonal menus
  • Plenty of dog-friendly adventures



Only an hour out of Melbourne at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges are an adventure and culinary playground. Known for its natural mineral springs, the area is also home to incredible local produce, stunning bushwalks, and lush waterfalls.

I’ve got a feeling Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges might just be the tree change you’ve been looking for.


Hanging Rock (Ngannelong)

Hanging Rock has a smattering of walks for all abilities. There’s the famous Pinnacle Walk that takes you to the summit where you can get a classic picture of views out over the surrounding area. For something more accessibility friendly, there are plenty of flat paved paths that duck and weave through the reserve.

After your walk, kick back at the picnic area which has a bunch of BBQs, or try to catch something fresh with some trout fishing in the dam.

Not only is Hanging Rock great for a walk, but it’s also a stunning live music destination. If you’re planning a trip to The Rock, try to line it up with one of the many events they’ve got through the year!

Camels Hump

As far as I’m concerned, Camels Hump is a must-do. The lookout is just a short walk from the Camels Hump car park, which gives views that stretch out for miles and miles on a clear day. There are a whole bunch of other trails nearby, so if you’re visiting on a weekday when there might not be any crowds, they’re perfect for a trail run.

Camels Hump is also one of the best little rock climbing and bouldering spots close to Melbourne, so if that’s your kind of thing then bring along your kit! You can check out all of the routes on the Crag.


Mt Towrong

While Hanging Rock and Camels Hump have got the classic Australian bush feel to them, Mt Towrong can get pretty lush. It’s still in bushland but every now and again you’ll pop into an area filled with ferns, moss, and lush green forest.

The walk is about 5.5km long and you’ll be treated to more views out over the bushland. The walk’s not too strenuous but you’ll want to have a bit of walking fitness.


Murmuring Walk at Sanatorium Lake

This is a special one. Not only do you get to walk through beautiful changing environments of grasses, ferns, and forests, but you can download an audio guide to listen to while you do. The audio guide is a beautiful vocal soundtrack that reflects the environment and birdlife of the lake.

Sanatorium Lake has an interesting history as it was originally built to provide a water source for a hospital specialising in the treatment of tuberculosis (which never got built). There’s no swimming allowed at the lake, but there are plenty of picnic areas and other walking trails you can check out too.


Goldfields Track

I had to save this monster of a walk for last. The Goldfields Track is a 210km bushwalking and mountain biking trail that winds through the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region, linking the two historical towns of Ballarat and Bendigo. The full trail is made up of three lined tracks, the Wallaby Track (90km), the Dry Diggings Track (60km), and the Leanganook Track (60km).

If you’re looking to get some blood pumping through your pins then tackle it all at once, or come back again and again to take it one section at a time. Either way, with changing environments, fascinating history, and beautiful towns to resupply at on the way, you won’t be disappointed.

You can also take your four-legged friend with you through most sections of the track, just be sure to check with Parks Vic what areas your pal can’t join you! 


Goldfields Track

That’s right, the Goldfields Track ain’t just for those on two legs. You can also take on the multipurpose track with a mountain bike. There’s a fair bit of variability in the difficulty of the track, so at the moment it doesn’t have a rating, but it’s recommended that you attempt it on mountain bikes. If you’re going to tackle the whole thing, you’re best going south to north as that avoids more of the hills, but either way you’re going to get plenty. 

You can even tackle the track car-free and get a V/Line from Melbourne to Ballarat and Bendigo. How good is that?!


Wombat Mountain Bike Track

The Wombat State Forest has a whole bunch of riding tracks for riders of all abilities. The Wombat Loop trail is one of my top picks, being hand built and maintained by the local Wombat Mountain Bike Club. 

This one is also easy to access by public transport by taking a V/Line to Woodend and then cycling to the trailhead. There are also a bunch of rental providers around if you’ve not got access to your own mountain bike.

Domino Rail Trail

The Domino Rail Trail is a pretty cruisy track from Daylesford to Carlsruhe that unsurprisingly follows the path of an old train track. It’s 6km one way, but it’s not a challenging trail so riding the 12km out and back should take around 3 hours and is great for an easy arvo or family adventure.

Swimming Holes and Waterfalls

Sailors Falls

Sailors Falls is a beautiful double waterfall just around the corner from Daylesford. There might not be a big pool for swimming here, but there are some seasonal creeks and rock pools that you can cool off in on a hot day.

Same as Trentham Falls, your best bet to catch this one flowing is in early summer, winter or spring!

Be sure to check Parks Victoria to ensure access roads to these waterfalls are open before visiting.

Jubilee Lake

Great for a cool down, Jubilee Lake is only a few minutes from Daylesford. The lake was originally built to supply water to gold miners, but now there are plenty of walking trails, picnic areas, and even canoe and paddle boat hire nearby.

The lake also links up with the Goldfields Trail so you can walk or ride to the lake from Daylesford if that takes your fancy.


Trentham Falls

With a 32-metre drop, Trentham Falls is the biggest single-drop waterfall in Central Victoria. The falls are smack bang in the middle of Daylesford and Mount Macedon, so are perfect for an exploration on your way between the two. It’s pretty accessible with both steps and a sloped path, and pooches are allowed too – just make sure they’re on a lead!

To catch the waterfall still flowing in its full might, head there in winter, spring or early summer!

Photo by Rob Blackburn | Visit Victoria

Where to Refuel & Stay

Where to eat?

Sault Restaurant in Daylesford was named after a small French town known for its lavender, and when you get there you’ll see why. The restaurant is set amongst lavender fields and has a big focus on local and sustainable ingredients. They started out with six small herb gardens on site and now have acres of seasonal produce, so you know whatever you eat, it’s going to be fresh.

Mount Macedon Winery is the place to be if you’re looking for some great food paired with brilliant local wine. They do an incredible set course menu in the restaurant that changes seasonally with fresh ingredients. The cellar door has more of a relaxed vibe going with wood-fired pizzas and views out overlooking the property.

The Victoria Hotel in Woodend is so dog-friendly that they have a whole section of their website dedicated to furry friends that have dined with them. They’ve got a cosy indoor dining area with a wood fireplace and a couple of bars. If I had to recommend a day to go and eat, Friday night trivia would be my pick.

Where to drink?

Swiss Mountain Hotel takes the award as one of Victoria’s oldest weatherboard continuously licensed pubs and it’s got the character to prove it. Just ten minutes from Daylesford, they’ve got a great selection of local wines and local craft beers. Add good food and a great atmosphere to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a good night.

The Big Tree Distillery is an award-winning gin distillery in the Macedon Ranges. They make a range of small-batch gins that focus on quality and trying out new flavours, rather than mass production. The distillery door is open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but you can also catch them at most of the local farmers’ markets. Check out the website to see which one they’ll be at when you’re visiting!

Where to stay?

Starting off with the bougiest, we’ve got Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel in Hepburn Springs. What better way to wind down after a day of adventuring than with spas, massages, and rooms with stunning views?

Next up is your home away from home at Fellcroft Farmstay. The working farm has two cabins available, both with spectacular views out over Macedon Ranges and Hanging Rock. If you’re looking for a couple’s adventure weekend, there aren’t many better places to stay, with outdoor fireplaces and a spa onsite too.

Ok, so I’ve never stayed in a bubble tent before but let me tell you, it’s at the top of my list. The glamping setup is in the middle of bushland, five minutes from Daylesford. But the main feature is that the tent has a clear roof so you can stargaze all night from bed. Oh and they’ve also got an orchard, veggie patch, bees, and some friendly alpacas and chickens in case you get lonely.

Finally, for the Explorers who just want to be as close to nature as possible and even a glamping tent is too much separation, head to Lerderderg State Park. It’s the park’s only drive-in campground and the perfect base for walks or a 4WD weekend. 

Essential Gear

  • Gravel bikes or hardtails
  • Hiking shoes
  • Swimmers!
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Water 
  • First aid kit
  • An empty stomach for all the local produce

How To Get There

Macedon Regional Park is only an hour on the Calder Freeway from Melbourne CBD, with Daylesford being only 30 minutes further.

If you’re looking to try a car-free weekend, the V/Line passes through a bunch of the towns in the area. You can catch the train to Gisborne, Macedon, Woodend or Kyneton. Buses will take you the rest of the way to Daylesford and your pedal power can get you everywhere else.

Leave No Trace

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably got the message that the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region has got a little bit of magic to it. At We Are Explorers, we reckon it’s a good idea to keep it that way, so make sure to take all of your rubbish with you, minimise your plastic use as much as possible, stick to the paths and try not to disturb the area or animals. Mother Nature will thank you for it!

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!


Photography by @ben.savage