Travel just 20 minutes past Melbourne Airport and you'll be in the heart of the Sunbury wine region, the closest wine region to Melbourne and home to historic, family owned vineyards. One sample of the cool, dry-climate wines and you'll have left the city far behind. Roam beyond the boutique wineries to discover craft and farmers markets, historic homes and gardens, and plenty of family activities.
Continue onto the charming villages of Riddells Creek and Romsey. Lancefield's Grange Cleveland Winery is a luxurious place to stay and the town is surrounded by wineries and farms growing lush local produce. Stock your picnic hamper with organic fruit and vegetables, breads and pastries, meats and cake as you make your way around.
Every good road trip needs some scheduled leg stretching time. A fabulous eight-kilometre walking and cycling track links Romsey and Lancefield, or there are shorter walking trails into local bushland. Chances are high that you'll spot resident native wildlife, including kookaburras, galahs, waterbirds and paddocks filled with kangaroos.
The idyllic country surrounds have inspired generations of artists and creative types, many of whom still call the region home. A number of Macedon Ranges collectives display the work of local artists and craftspeople in pottery, silk, painting and sculpture.
Take some time to wander the beautiful, wide tree-lined streets of Mount Macedon, and visit regular farmers markets for organic vegetables, plants, local honey and freshly baked bread. Venture into the iconic Hanging Rock Reserve where, twice a year, the Kyneton and Hanging Rock Racing Club pulls out all the stops for fun-filled country race days.
The Macedon Ranges will entice you with some of Australia's finest boutique wineries, including Hanging Rock Winery, the region's largest producer famed for its 'Macedon' sparkling. The Grange Cleveland is renowned for its historic 1890s homestead and cottage gardens.
Before heading back down the Calder Freeway to Melbourne, be sure to enjoy the view from the top of Mount Macedon. Visit the commemorative cross and survey the entire southern plain towards Port Philip Bay.
You'll find numerous walking trails, cycling tracks and award-winning wineries in Sunbury. It's home to Rupertswood Mansion, the birthplace of the 'Ashes'.
Located at the foothills of the scenic Macedon Ranges, Riddells Creek is a relaxing spot for a picnic lunch under a shady tree. Wander past National Trust buildings, galleries and wineries, or set off on a bush walk into Mount Charlie State Forest.
Join locals for a beer and watch out for any supernatural surprises at Clarkefield's National Trust–listed pub, rumoured to be haunted.
Best known for its beautiful elm-lined main street populated by classic Australian architectural buildings, Romsey is close to wineries, cellar doors, farm gate stalls and plenty of gourmet offerings for your picnic basket.
Linger a while to discover Lancefield's eclectic arts scene, monthly farmers market and amazing antique store. Tackle the Burke and Wills Track and make your way to nearby Romsey via a walking and bike trail.
Macedon and Mount Macedon
Walking trails, stunning gardens, tranquil picnic reserves and spectacular views characterise Macedon and Mount Macedon. At the summit of Mount Macedon is the Memorial Cross, which commemorates those who served in the world wars. Nearby wineries offer cool climate wines. Hanging Rock Winery is the largest winery in the Macedon Ranges and most famous for its 'Macedon' sparkling wine, modeled on French Champagne. If you plan on staying a few days to make the most of the fabulous regional wineries, consider staying at the Grange Cleveland Winery , an historic 1890s homestead with vineyard views and cottage gardens. Get dressed up and join friends at the New Year's Day and Australia Day country races at the iconic Hanging Rock Reserve.
Spoil yourself at local wineries, stroll through state parks and botanical gardens, or discover the rich cultural heritage of the Goldfields in Gisborne, the gateway to the Macedon Ranges.