Get out of Melbourne and into the striking countryside full of quaint villages and hamlets, farm gates, fruit stalls and bustling foodie towns of this corner of the Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges region.
Detour from the main freeway and be surprised at what you uncover. In the Bacchus Marsh food bowl you'll find dozens of pick-your-own orchards and market gardens. Fill a basket with freshly picked and harvested seasonal fruit and vegetables, from strawberries to peaches, apples, pears, apricots and cherries.
After gathering your fresh produce, visit some of the area's fabulous country stores, many housed in gorgeous bluestone buildings and historic cottages evoking days gone by. Fossick for antiques and vintage collectables and snare a bargain.
Sate a growing appetite at a fabulous country pub, where welcomes are warm and the food is local and comforting.
It's easy to get close to nature in the region, so pack your hiking boots and a water bottle and take your pick of the nature-based activities in spectacular state parks. Hike through Werribee Gorge or Lerderderg Gorge. Spot unusual flora and fauna in Long Forest Nature Reserve. The beautiful Brisbane Ranges comes alive with wildflowers in springtime.
Whether you're interested in food, history, nature or shopping, you'll find a range of festivals, events and attractions to have you planning your return road trip.
Colourful public art will catch your eye in Melton. It is also the home of harness racing and walking and cycling trails for all fitness levels, and is in close proximity to award-winning wineries with restaurants and cellar doors.
Some of Victoria's best market gardens and orchards are planted in Bacchus Marsh. Find farm gate stalls laden with local produce along the town's Avenue of Honour, as well as cycling and walking trails, historic buildings and remarkable natural attractions.
A tranquil hamlet with beautiful treelined streets with bluestone buildings and a burgeoning gourmet reputation, the tiny town of Myrniong hosts a number of annual festivals.
Best known for its festivals, active artistic community and mineral springs, Ballan is situated on the Werribee River. Set out with a picnic and your hiking boots to explore the nearby walking trails of the Brisbane Ranges and You Yangs Forest Park.
With a personality that belies its small size, Gordon is a great day-trip destination. Its charms include a quirky hat shop specialising in Harris Tweed patchwork headwear, a cafe inspired by Henry Lawson, antique stores and of course, a great country pub.
The proud potato growing town of Wallace features historic dairy buildings and attracts attention for its retro restored Wallace Hotel.