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Macedon Ranges with Elizabeth Barnett

Travel

By now you may have noticed that we’ve recently begun sharing two stories with you each day. (YUP, 6.00am every morning and 2.00pm every afternoon… woah!). Expanding in this way has given us a chance to showcase even more amazing creative people and places, as well as delve into other lifestyle realms, from family to careers – stay tuned for more, when we’ll be rolling out a fresh new-look website in a couple of months time!

Today, though, we’re launching a fresh travel-focused regular column, authored by creatives you already know and love, who’ve invited us to parts of Australia that hold a special place for them.

We’re kicking off this new column today with a long standing TDF favourite – artist, Mum and passionate tree-changer Elizabeth Barnett! The ever-gracious artist gives her day-trip guide to the Macedon Ranges, which is just a one-hour drive north of Melbourne.

11th May, 2017
Elizabeth Barnett
Thursday 11th May 2017

We moved to Macedon at the end of 2015, from Richmond in Melbourne, where it was getting increasingly busy in our street. I was dreaming of a space in the trees (fuelled by some sentimental childhood memories of the farm in Tasmania where my Dad grew up, and which we visited when I was young).

Macedon certainly wasn’t on our radar of places to move, but a lovely friend kept inviting us up to the area on little foraging trips for berries or mushrooms, and so we started looking around Kyneton. I had seen a house online, and had immediately dismissed it as being ‘much too nice’ for us, with way too much space, but a well-timed call from the estate agent convinced us to come and have a look. We feel so honoured today to be custodians of a beautiful  and a very special piece of land, which is on the outskirts of the town and edges the forest.

I don’t even know where to begin with the things I love most about Macedon… The landscape, the Mount, the community, the walking tracks, the great food and coffee spots in the area, and the friends I have made (including the estate agents who sold us the house!). I love that my kids get to grow up on the land. I’ve definitely found some quiet up here, but it is in no way lonely. I’ve got lovely neighbours who I see regularly, and a trip into the town is always met with a familiar face or two!

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Macedon and that secret has well and truly started to spread! Weekends on the Mount can get quite busy! Winter is equally as magical, with thick fog (don’t forget your winter woolies), the snow gums and winter wild flowers. There are beautifully manicured gardens, which are often open to the public on weekends. And if you’re avid bushwalker, there are endless great walks up and around the Mount, as well as the Wombat State Forest and Lerderderg State Park. Come summer, there are great waterholes to go swimming in and nurseries to visit. Year-round, the food spots up here are so great, particularly due to the warm and friendly staff.

One of our favourite artists, AND our one-time tour guide, Lizzie Barnett, snapped at Mr Café. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

ARRIVE • MACEDON TRAIN STATION

You can catch the V/Line up to Macedon from Southern Cross (on the line to Swan Hill via Bendigo) and the train will drop you at our cute as train station. It is a short walk up the hill into town, but if you’re feeling like a more strenuous one you can head up the Mount to some pretty bushwalks.

If you’d like to drive instead, it’s an easy 60 kilometres north from Melbourne on the Calder Freeway.

CAFÉS • MR CAFÉ & IDA RED

Mr Café is such a wonderful, inviting cafe. The staff are all warm and friendly and the food is utterly delicious. They have a particular focus on wholefoods and seasonal produce. I often stop by in the mornings and have a chai latte, or even do some sketching here from time to time.

23 Victoria Street, Macedon.

Ida Red pizzeria is also close by, and another family favourite. They make yummy wood-fired pizzas with ingredients sourced from local suppliers, as well as growing their own vegies in their garden out the back. At the moment, locally foraged pine mushrooms feature prominently on the menu, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch some great DJs playing records in their courtyard on a Sunday afternoon.

14 – 16 Victoria Street, Macedon.

ACTIVITY • MOUNT MACEDON

Walking to the Mt. Macedon Memorial Cross is a nature activity I love, and it’s also free. The cross at the summit of Mt. Macedon was erected in commemoration of Australia soldiers who died in World War I (1914 – 1918), and from this point you can look out over the vast southern planes. I know it is touristy, but there is such a special avenue down to the cross (200m from the car park), and amazing bush walks throughout the area too – Camel’s Hump is one of our favourites, and it’s doable with the kids. There are detailed maps of walks on the Parks Vic website.

End of Cameron Drive, Macedon.

STORE • FLOWERS IN A VASE

Flowers in a Vase is in Woodend, a town only a 10-minute drive (or one train stop) north of Macedon, and one that has its own charming sights, including Hanging Rock. I stop by Arnie’s florist whenever I am in the town, often to pick up some flowers to paint. What I particularly love about Arnie’s florist is that she doesn’t just have your stock standard florals, but also interesting local berries and foliage or paddock roses.

35A Anslow Street, Woodend.

EATERY • BARINGO

Baringo is less than 10-minutes drive (or one train stop) south of Macedon, back towards Melbourne, in New Gisborne – it is one of my favourite date night eateries in the area. Baringo’s cafe and provedore serves good coffee, food and local produce during the day. At night the bistro serves a Southern European menu from Wednesday through Sunday and Japanese Izakaya on Friday and Saturday nights. There is also a wine bar and Banquet Room. They do the the Izakaya for lunch Wednesday to Saturday if you’re just in the area for the day and want to have a more fancy meal looking out towards Mt Macedon and the ranges. There is also a little cinema out the back with a rotating program of great films.

283 Station Road, New Gisborne.

Macedon’s Avenue of Honour. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

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