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orange bulletMelbourne Surrounds Holidays

This is an area of approximately 80-100km around the city of Melbourne. That's a small region by Australian standards but it's rich in features, from the gourmet trails and vineyards of the Macedon Ranges in the west through to the fantastic vineyards and wineries of the Yarra Valley and the tall timber retreats of the Dandenong Ranges in the east. It encompasses the gold rush architecture and history of the Alexandra area and is one of Australia's premier vacation destinations.

This is a part of Victoria that offers bushwalking, bird watching, abseiling, rock climbing, hang gliding, caving, eco tours, golf, horse riding, cycling, hedge mazes, chairlifts, picnic horse races, wine routes, scenic tours, fine restaurants, mineral springs and spas.

orange bulletPlaces of Interest Around Melbourne

Macedon Ranges and Spa Country - an area north-west from Melbourne that takes in the bottom tip of the Great Dividing Range. Promoted as a region of "Pure Indulgence", it is best known for its vineyards, mountain retreats, historic homes, the mystery of Hanging Rock plus mineral and freshwater springs.

Sunbury - the birthplace of the Ashes, a sporting trophy of significance to Australian and English cricket followers. Much of the grandeur of yesteryear can be seen in historic buildings and homes. The George Evans Museum has local heritage displays. See historic buildings of the Victoria University and the Boilerhouse Arts Complex. Pay a visit to Emu Bottom Homestead, the earliest homestead in Victoria and now classified by the National Trust.

Macedon - enjoys a cool climate and rich volcanic soils which attracted grand homes and gardens. Take tours of the historic homes and popular woodland settings and stop off at one of the many fine eateries in the area. Visit the lookout at the top of Mt Macedon and hike the 20 km of walking tracks around the mountain. Take the short drive to the famous rock formations at Hanging Rock near Hesket.

Woodend - a historic town associated with images of bushrangers now known for antiques and craft shops, markets, galleries and a wide range of accommodation and eateries.

Kyneton still exhibits many examples of fine colonial architecture and is a haven for arts and crafts lovers. Pay a visit to the extensive collection of period pieces in the Kyneton Museum which has an original squatters homestead in the museum grounds.

Malmsbury - the heart of bluestone country with several stone bridges, viaducts, mills and cottages. The Botanic Gardens are highly rated and are the home of the rare hybrid strawberry tree.

Kilmore & Lancefield - at the north-east end of the Macedon Ranges and known as thoroughbred country. Kilmore boasts a horseshoe factory. Take a ride in to Hudson Park in the old cable tram and visit the Dreamtime Emu Park.

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs - twin towns known for their mineral springs and spas. A place to enjoy genteel afternoon teas, stately homes and fine dining amongst the largest collection of natural mineral and freshwater springs in Australia. Lake Daylesford Central Springs has several springs and pavilions.

Try a visit to the Hepburn blowhole and see the area by historic train rides. Visit the Lavender Farm in nearby Yandoit. There are river gorges, waterfalls and raging rapids in the surrounding streams and plenty of good walking trails.

Murrindindi Region - see the grand architecture of Alexandra, credited with having hosted 27 hotels during its gold rush heyday. Take the heritage walk through town or ride the timber train. Visit the Fraser National Park and the legendary C.J Dennis Gardens. Experience the majestic tall timber of the Black Spur rainforest. See the spectacular Wilhemina Falls and Murrindindi Cascades south of Yea, try trout fishing in the Yea and Goulburn Rivers, or kayak the rivers, take a "Harley" tour or take in some snow at Lake Mountain behind picturesque Marysville.

Dandenong Ranges - home to some of the finest gardens in Australia. Karwarra is a native flora garden at Kalorama on the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road. The National Rhododendron Gardens at Olinda are a "must see", not forgetting the Pirianda Gardens in Hacketts Road and Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens near Sherbrooke Forest.

Belgrave - ride Puffing Billy to Emerald Lake, a must for the kids and young at heart. Visit the lookouts at Skyhigh, and Mt Dandenong for vistas across Port Phillip Bay.  Woolrich Lookout has views of the surrounding Olinda area, and there are other look-outs at One Tree Hill in the National Park and John's Hill Reserve at Kallista.

The Yarra Valley - one of Australia's premier wine producing regions with a wine history back to 1845. The area has several wine routes with no shortage of cellar door tastings and fine restaurants available in the region. Guided tours of the area are available. Partake of the Grape Escape, the annual Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Weekend in March. Lots of wine, food and music.

Visitor activities include a canoe or kayak paddle along the Yarra River on its way through the valley,  sailing on Sugarloaf Reservoir,  hot air balloon rides over the valley and some testing bush walks and rock climbing. The Galeena Beek Living Culture Centre offers an insight into local Aboriginal history and culture. Another "must see" attraction is Healesville Sanctuary which has the largest collection of Australian wildlife in the world.

Warburton with its rugged timbered hillsides and fine golf course acts as a jumping off point for the attractions of the upper Yarra Valley. See relics from the gold rush and timber cutting days. This is a popular area for abseiling, rock climbing, hang gliding, caving, eco tours and horse riding.

The Warburton Water Wheel and Visitor Centre is a popular attraction. Donna Buang Rainforest Gallery is the state's first tree top rainforest walkway gallery. Try the 38km of Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, great for walking, cycling and horse riding.

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