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Victorian Holidays : Melbourne Surrounds

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, taking in the gourmet trails and vineyards of the Macedon Ranges in the west through to the fantastic vineyards and wineries of the Yarra Valley in the east.

It encompasses the gold rush architecture and history of the Alexandra area and extends east to the tall timber retreats of the Dandenong Ranges and vineyards of the Yarra Valley.

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.

Places of Interest Around Melbourne

Macedon Ranges and Spa Country - north-west from Melbourne and taking in the bottom tip of the Great Dividing Range. 

Promoted as a region of "Pure Indulgence" and best known for its vineyards, mountain retreats, historic homes, the mystery of Hanging Rock and mineral and freshwater springs.

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

Macedon has a cool climate and rich volcanic soils which attracted grand homes and gardens. Take tours of the historic homes and popular woodland settings. Many fine eateries in the area. Visits to the lookout at the top of Mt Macedon. 20 km of bush walking tracks around the mountain.  A short drive to the famous rock formations at Hanging Rock near Hesket.

Woodend is 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. A haven for arts and crafts lovers. Visits to the extensive collection of period pieces in the Kyneton Museum. An original squatters homestead in the museum grounds.

Malmsbury is the heart of bluestone country. Stone bridges, viaducts, mills and cottages. The Botanic Gardens are highly rated. Home of the rare hybrid strawberry tree.

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

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are twin towns known for their mineral springs and spas. Genteel afternoon teas, stately homes and fine dining amongst the largest collection of natural mineral and freshwater springs in Australia. Lake Daylesford Central Springs with its many pavilions and springs. Try the Hepburn blowhole. River gorges, waterfalls and raging rapids in the surrounding streams. Plenty of good walks and treks. See the area by historic train rides. Visits to the Lavender Farm in nearby Yandoit. 

Murrindindi Region - 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. Fraser National Park and the legendary C.J Dennis Gardens. The majestic tall timber of the Black Spur rainforest. All types of adventure activities.

The spectacular Wilhemina Falls and Murrindindi Cascades south of Yea, 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, the Pirianda Gardens in Hacketts Road and Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens near Sherbrooke Forest.

Travel to Belgrave and ride Puffing Billy to Emerald Lake - a must for the kids. Visit the lookouts at Skyhigh, Mt Dandenong for vistas across Port Phillip Bay, Woolrich Lookout for views of the surrounding Olinda area, One Tree Hill Lookout 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. Many wine routes and cellar door tastings and fine restaurants available in the region. Guided tours available. Partake of the Grape Escape, the annual Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Weekend in March. Wine, food and music. 

Canoe or kayak along the Yarra River on its way through the valley. Sail on Sugarloaf Reservoir. Hot air balloon rides over the valley. Testing bush walks, rock climbing and fishing.

The Mount St Leonard Lookout and the Galeena Beek Living Culture Centre for an insight into Aboriginal history and culture. The famous Healesville Sanctuary for 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. Gold mining and timber cutting relics. 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.

Victoria photo mosaic

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