mt macedon summit walk

Mount Macedon

About Mount Macedon Regional Park

Less than an hour from Melbourne lies a fabulous destination for outdoor play with the whole family – Mt Macedon. From short strolls to long, lung-busting day walks, there’s walking at Mt Macedon to suit everyone and all levels of fitness.

Location

Mount Macedon is approximately 65km from Melbourne off the Calder Freeway and through the township of Mt Macedon.

Nearest Town

Mt Macedon is the nearest town. The summit is a short drive from the township.

Opening Hours

Mt Macedon Regional Park is closed on days of forecast Code Red Fire Danger.

The Top of the Range Tearooms at the summit is open daily from 10:00 am to 4 pm.
Tel: (03) 5427 3466

Mt Towrong Walking Track

Enjoying the view from Mount Towrong along the Mt Towrong walking track

Activities

Mt Macedon Regional Park is superb for hiking, trail running, mountain biking and rock climbing at the Camel’s Hump area. There are also limited horseriding options. Check with the Park Rangers to find out where you can and can’t ride your horse.

Mt Macedon Regional Park is dog-friendly so bring your pooch along, so long as Fido is on a leash, except for the Summit Walk.

Mount Macedon Walks

Getting there

Take the Calder Freeway for 57km from Melbourne and then exit at the Macedon/Mt Macedon turn off. Follow Mt Macedon Road for approximately 7km to the Mt Macedon township. Don’t confuse Macedon with Mt Macedon. Not that I would ever do that. Nope. Not me. Mt Macedon is the place you want to be.

For some hikes, you’ll want to continue through town following signs that turn off to the summit. For hikes that start in town, park somewhere near the Mountain Inn pub.

Contact

Calls the Parks Victoria office at Macedon or the Woodend Visitor Information Centre.

Parks Victoria Macedon Office
Nursery Road, Macedon 3440
Tel: (03) 5421 5500
Woodend Visitor Information Centre
High Street Woodend 3444
Tel: (03) 5427 2033

Facilities

There are fantastic picnic grounds with seats and tables, the Top of the Range Tearooms near the summit, plenty of toilets, BBQs, BYO wood fireplaces (not on days of total fire ban, of course!)

Wildlife in the Park

Be on the lookout for Mountain Possums (Bobuck), Greater Gliders, Swamp Wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, echidnas, wombats and koalas. Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos are local to the area, too.

Mt Macedon Hike

Beautiful ferns and towering gums on this Mount Macedon hike

Mount Macedon hiking and trail running

The thing I love best about a Mt Macedon hike is how varied the tracks and surfaces you find yourself on are. There is something for all levels of runner and hiker, from easy to moderate tracks to very steep ascent and descents, single tracks, fire tracks and rocky tracks. The Mount Macedon walking trails are so varied, everyone can enjoy them. From the car park on the summit, do the Mt Macedon summit walk or take on part or all of the scenic Macedon Ranges Walking Trail (MRWT). Some people also call it the Mt Macedon Walking Trail. The MRWT is clearly marked and it’s hard to get lost out there, even for one as navigationally challenged as me.

Be prepared

It can get really cold and even snow during the winter months, so bring adequate gear for warmth and protection. Because some of the sections are so rocky and loose underfoot, a walking/hiking pole is also recommended. I’m yet to hike there on a Mount Macedon snow day, but imagine it would be very fresh but oh so pretty. I have hiked there though when it’s been cold. Layers are your best best for the chillier days. At 1000 metres, it can get very fresh and very foggy up there.

Bring your own water.

Tracks and trails

There’s about 60km of tracks and trails to choose from. Here are some suggested hikes:

Mount Macedon Summit Walk

The Mount Macedon Summit Walk is a short and easy out-and-back walk from the car park at the end of  Camerons Drive and next to the tea rooms to the Mount Macedon War Memorial Cross. It’s suitable for families with little people.

It’s worth the short walk to the magnificent and sobering Mount Macedon Memorial Cross and the sweeping views across Melbourne.

Mount Macedon Memorial Cross

Photo by Marg Thornell

The Mount Macedon cross is an important, 21-metre high war memorial commemorating those who served in war or conflicts.

Sanatorium Lake Walking Trail

Distance: 2.5 km
Grade: Easy, family-friendly (but not pram-friendly)
Access: Parking at Days Picnic Ground, Lions Head Road carpark and Sanatorium Picnic Ground

There’s a picnic ground at Sanatorium Lake. Originally a hang out in the 1890s for people with Tuberculosis, the lake was made to supply water to the nearby private hospital that closed in 1910 and was later destroyed by fire.

Follow the Sanitorium Lake Eco-Tourism Trail and take in the natural features along the way. It’s a fabulous family walk that passes through different types of vegetation, including ferns and towering eucalypts. There are signs and display boards along the walk to give you information about the Mount Macedon environment.

The walk is about 2.5km and passes through several vegetation types, including tall eucalypt forests and a wet fern gully.

Macedon Ranges Walking Trail (MRWT) – cheats option

Distance: 13 km (approx)
Grade: Moderate
Start: Mt Macedon summit tea rooms

This walk a sneaky cheats option if you don’t want to tackle the leg-and-lung-busting climb to the summit, but it involves a car shuffle. Leave one car in the town centre near the Mountain Inn hotel. Take the second car to the summit and park near the tea rooms.

You can find the MRWT behind the tea rooms. Follow this trail and head toward McGregors Picnic Ground then continue to Camel’s Hump. The side trip to Camel’s Hump is optional. It’s about an extra 20-minute walk. If you’re into views, then it’s worth the detour.

From that junction, continue following the MRWT to Days Picnic Ground, cross Lions Head Road and follow the Forest Eco-Tourism Walking Trail to Sanatorium Lake. Again, this side trip to to the lake is optional.

Walk to Barringo Road, cross it and then follow Zig Zag track to Hemphills track where you’ll turn left. Follow this track for about 1.5km to the turnoff to Mt Towrong. It’s a short, sort of steep ascent to the summit of Mt Towrong, then follow the steep, rocky path to Anzac Road. Turn left from here and walk back to Mt Macedon Road and once there, turn left to reach the Mt Macedon township where you parked your car.

It’s easy to follow this route on the Parks Victoria – Mt Macedon Walking Tracks map.  Follow sections 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.

When you’re done, either head to the tea rooms for a cuppa or go back into the Mount Macedon township and stop at the Mount Macedon Hotel for a bevvie.

Macedon Ranges Walking Trail (MRWT)

Distance: 16 km (approx)
Grade: Moderate
Start: Mount Macedon Inn

For the more adventurous not afraid of a steep ascent to start your hike (and for those who won’t have two cars to do the car shuffle), you can start this walk from the Mt Macedon township.

Follow Mt Macedon Road to Douglas Road (on the left) for almost 2km and then take the MRWT  on the right and climb up to a junction with Hoods Track. Then turn right to get to the Mt Macedon Memorial Cross. This hike, together with the ‘cheats option’ trail mentioned above, is about 16km.

Hiking books that include Mt Macedon walks

For books with great descriptions about Mount Macedon walks, we recommend:

  • Daywalks Around Melbourne by Glenn Tempest – it doesn’t seem to be available anymore 🙁  You might be able to find a second-hand copy on eBay.
    See Walks 50 and 51 for details of Macedon Ranges hikes.
  • Day Walks Victoria by John Chapman (the latest version was released in 2011) for clear instructions for a Mount Macedon hike.

Maps

Trail running events and ultramarathons

Trails+ Mt Macedon Trail Run is usually held in May or June. There are 10km, 15km, 30km and 50km options. Help support one of Victoria’s best off-road ultramarathon events!

If you like Mount Macedon, I reckon you’ll love the Brisbane Ranges, too.

First published: January 2011
Last update: October 2017

2 comments

  1. Our family loves Mt Macedon, and its such an easy drive from Melbourne. We’ll have to try one of the walks you’ve recommended that we haven’t tried before!

    • The summit walk to the Memorial Cross is still worth doing, even if you’ve done it before. The Sanatorium Lake walk is a good one with the kids. They’ll love it.

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