Macedon Ranges with Elizabeth Barnett

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.

Elizabeth Barnett

Elizabeth Barnett and her dog Poppy walking by the train line in Macedon. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Lizzie sketching at Mr Cafe. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Lizzie at Macedon coffee spot, Mr Café. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Dropping in to Woodend store Flowers in a Vase. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Vibrant hydrangeas thriving in Macedon’s misty mountain clime. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Blooms arranged by flower store owner Arnie Way. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Nearby, Ida Red pizzeria is a another Barnett family favourite. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Our tour comes to an end at Baringo. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

En route to Mt Macedon, for some bushwalking (there are trails to accommodate all levels). Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The Mt Macedon Memorial Cross, with views over the vast southern plains. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The area has its charms in every season according to Lizzie. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Last stop, Baringo. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The New Gisborne eatery offers special menus of Southern European and Japanese cuisines. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Lizzie at Macedon Train Station. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

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.

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