Dog-Friendly Macedon Ranges: Visiting with a Dog

The cooler climes of the Macedon Ranges are under an hour northwest of Melbourne, perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway in Victoria. It’s also the perfect place to visit with your dog, with plenty of dog-friendly attractions from forest to gardens to wineries.

Dog-Friendly Macedon Ranges

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in the Macedon Ranges

When visiting the Macedon Ranges with your dog, make sure you tick off some or all of these dog-friendly things to do.

1. Go Hiking in Macedon Regional Park

The forested heights of the Macedon Ranges are contained in the Macedon Regional Park. And because it’s a regional park rather than a national park, your dog is allowed to join you on the walking tracks around the park, as long as they are kept on a leash.

Walking in Macedon Regional Park
Dogs are allowed on leash in the Macedon Regional Park

There’s a 30km loop track that links all the major sites in the park, along with Macedon Railway Station, but it’s a gruelling full day hike. It’s much more popular to walk one or more sections of the loop, or the other short trails in the park. 

A fun short walk is the hike to Camels Hump, the highest point in the Macedon Ranges, which offers wonderful views across to Hanging Rock and the surrounding countryside. It’s a moderate 1km return hike, which should only take 20-30 minutes.

View from Camels Hump
Views of the surrounding countryside from Camels Hump

Another popular destination is the 21m high Memorial Cross, close to the tea rooms and main picnic grounds. It’s only a 200m gentle stroll each way, with a short side detour to the Major Mitchell Lookout. For something more challenging, it’s a 3.6km ascent up to the Memorial Cross from the Old Scout Camp on Middle Gully Road. 

Memorial Cross Mt Macedon
The imposing Memorial Cross

2. Visit a Beautiful Garden

The Macedon Ranges is home to some beautiful cool climate gardens, including many private gardens that line Mount Macedon Road, on the way up to the Macedon Regional Park. Luckily, some of them are open to the public and even allow leashed dogs to join you.

We visited Forest Glade Gardens, a dog-friendly garden that is open daily. (Bring cash to put in the money slot on quieter days.) It’s a gorgeous spot, particularly during springtime (when we visited) and the Autumn months.

Gazebo in Forest Glade Gardens
Forest Glade Gardens is open daily to the public

Allow an hour or more to stroll around the different sections, with the Japanese garden in particular being a highlight, as well as the many sculptures. Be aware that it is a private property, so follow the rules, including keeping your dog on a leash and cleaning up after it.

Dog-Friendly Forest Glade Gardens
Exploring Forest Glade Gardens with our pup
Japanese Garden at Forest Glade Gardens
The magnificent Japanese Garden

During April, multiple gardens open to the public as part of the Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival. Double check which if any gardens open during the festival allow your dog to join you.

3. Taste the Local Wine

Tucked away into Mount Macedon are a number of cool climate wineries, some with cellar doors open to the public.

One of the larger wineries is Mount Macedon Winery, set in gorgeous surroundings. With resident wine dog Gus on hand to welcome visitors, four-legged visitors are also welcome.

Enquire about a tasting out on the deck at the cellar door, perhaps accompanied by a selection of charcuterie or local cheeses. There’s also a fine dining restaurant on site with the option of a two- or three-course seasonal menu. The cellar door is open Saturdays and Sundays, while the restaurant is open Thursday to Sunday.

At the family-run Mount Towrong Vineyard, the emphasis is on handpicked grapes and low intervention. Each Saturday and Sunday their cellar door opens, along with their restaurant that serves up hearty, home-style Italian cooking, designed to complement their wines. Book in to nab a dog-friendly outdoor table. 

Mount Towrong Vineyard
Mount Towrong Vineyard in the Macedon Ranges

4. Visit Hanging Rock

One of the most famous spots in the Macedon Ranges is Hanging Rock, the setting of the mysterious novel “Picnic at Hanging Rock” and the subsequent film. Situated just north of Mount Macedon, the reserve contains large picnic grounds and multiple walking tracks, including the popular walk to the summit of Picnic Rock.

Hanging Rock Sign
The entrance to Hanging Rock

Note that an entry fee is required, either per vehicle or per individual if you walk into the park. Pet dogs on a leash are permitted at the reserve, except for on major event days, although they are not permitted to ascend to the rock itself on the Summit Walk. If you’re wanting to take a walk with your dog, stick to the lower part of the Summit Walk, or instead follow the 1.8km-long Base Walk or the 2.3km-long Creek Walk. 

5. Sample the Local Mineral Water

Just like nearby Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, the Macedon Ranges are also home to a number of mineral springs, that have been an attraction for over a century.

The best spot to sample the local mineral water is Kyneton Streamside Reserve, on the northern edge of this charming town. Stop by the historic rotunda and use the hand pumps to fill up your containers for free, plus read the information panel about the site’s history and the water’s mineral composition.

Kyneton Streamside Reserve Rotunda
Sample the mineral water at Kyneton Streamside Reserve

Dogs on a leash are permitted in the reserve, also a popular picnic spot and home to a free RV and caravan overnight parking spot. While the general advice is for dogs to not drink water high in minerals, they’re fine to join you in having a little taste. 

6. Visit an Historic Botanic Garden

As well as private gardens, the Macedon Ranges are also home to a number of historic botanic gardens. In the late 19th century, it was expected that all well-to-do towns in Victoria would have their own botanic garden, a place where European plant species could flourish and locals could spend their leisure time.

Both the Kyneton Botanic Gardens and Malmsbury Botanic Gardens were established in the 1850s and are among Victoria’s oldest regional botanic gardens. The gardens in Kyneton are located adjacent to the Campaspe River, along which runs a wonderful riverside walk. The gardens also contain many large National Trust-listed trees, as well as gorgeous bluestone garden walls and an historic drinking fountain.

Kyneton Botanic Gardens Entrance
The entrance to Kyneton Botanic Gardens
Inside Kyneton Botanic Gardens
The gorgeous spring display in the gardens

The focal point of the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens is its ornamental lake, home to duck and geese. Don’t also miss the wonderful views of the grand Malmsbury Viaduct, located at the southern edge of the gardens. Dogs on a leash are allowed in both gardens.

7. Enjoy the Autumn Colour

With its higher altitude and cool climate, the Macedon Ranges are home to many magnificent deciduous trees, so are not surprisingly a popular destination to visit during Autumn and witness the colourful display.

One of the most popular spots is Honour Avenue in Macedon, lined with 154 Pin Oaks. From late March to late April the oak leaves slowly change red in a beautiful display.

The spot is so popular that on weekends and public holidays during April the road is closed, although visitor parking is available nearby. A shuttle to nearby villages also operates, although dogs are likely not allowed on the shuttles. Check out the transport details in advance.

Alternatively, visit Honour Avenue during the week for a quieter experience, or find out more about other destinations to visit in the Macedon Ranges to experience the Autumn colour. 

Dog-Friendly Parks in the Macedon Ranges

The Macedon Ranges Shire Council has established nearly 50 off-leash dog parks across the shire, with a few located in most townships. 

Some handy off-leash parks that you may like to visit with your dog include Campaspe Park in Woodend and Centennial Park in Macedon. The former is located on the banks of Five Mile Creek, near the visitors information centre. The walking path alongside the creek is a popular spot for walking with dogs.

Centennial Park is adjacent to Honour Avenue, a popular destination to view the Autumn leaves. The park is also a popular picnic spot, and is home to the Ash Wednesday Memorial and mosaic statues that reflect the district’s history. 

Dog-Friendly Cafes in the Macedon Ranges

In Macedon, head to the highly-rated Mr Macedon, which has a nice outdoor area that’s dog-friendly. Open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, order something off their menu that changes seasonally, or just grab an Allpress coffee.

Alternatively, combine your meal with winery visit and wine tasting. Both Mount Macedon Winery and Mount Towrong Vineyard have restaurants onsite, although note that Mount Towrong Vineyard is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, while the restaurant at Mount Macedon Winery is open from Thursday to Sunday.

Wine and Cake at Mount Towrong
Enjoying wine and cake at Mount Towrong Vineyard

Dog-Friendly Pubs in the Macedon Ranges

Head up Mount Macedon Road to the Mount Macedon Hotel. This dog-friendly pub has a large outdoor dining area, best enjoyed during the warmer summer months. Open daily for lunch and dinner, ask in advance which section of the deck is dog-friendly before taking a seat.

Another option is the Holgate Brewhouse in Woodend. While dogs are not allowed inside, there’s a number of tables outside along the side street, where you can relax with a beverage and your pup.

Holgate Brewhouse
Outside tables at the Holgate Brewhouse

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in the Macedon Ranges

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links. See my full disclaimer.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay with a pet in the Macedon Ranges, it’s best to search for pet-friendly holiday cottages, and double check the rules in advance with the owner. 

There’s multiple pet-friendly options on Stayz, including the highly-rated Hobreid House. Located in the countryside, the guest suite of this house has two bedrooms and its own bathroom and sitting room, as well as a private entry. The property is surrounded by a beautiful garden.

There’s limited camping option in the area, with the Macedon Caravan Park not highly rated. If you have your own RV or caravan and are fine with basic facilities, there’s a free RV overnight camping spot at Kyneton Streamside Reserve, on the northern side of Kyneton. 

Kyneton Streamside Reserve RV Parking
Kyneton offers free overnight parking for RVs

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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