I need to dispel a popular rumour – contrary to popular belief, it gets cold in Australia. Like see your breath, frost on the car window cold. Sure, it might warm up to 14 or 15 degrees Celsius by afternoon, but mornings and evening are downright frigid. It seems even Australians want to belief this rumour however, with most opting for jean jackets and thick sweaters rather than proper winter jackets on chilly days.
Just like at home though, I’ve never let a cold day keep me indoors, so my significant other and I have been choosing to spend our weekends outdoors exploring. This June, our destination of choice has been Mount Macedon. About a 30-minute drive from our home, Mount Macedon is a popular destination for its parks, reserves and outdoor BBQs.
Our first trip took us to Forest Glade Gardens, which claims to be one of Australia’s largest private gardens. We circled what I thought was the whole garden fairly quickly. I was struck by how well manicured it was, as well as the numerous signs asking visitors to keep off the grass. While nice, it was a bit underwhelming. And small – surely this isn’t the largest private garden in the country, I remember thinking. It took a second loop around to discover that the garden was actually tiered, and you had to descend to discover its many treasures.
The first section we came across was a beautiful Japanese garden with stone lanterns, a bonsai house and a pond that you passed by stepping on circular stones, similar to floating lily pads. We continued to the maple walk, where vibrant red and orange maple leaves sprinkled the pathway, reminding me of fall in Toronto.
As we continued down an increasingly narrow and winding path we entered a lush, almost tropical-like area. The path then levelled out and we had the option to circle around this flat forested area to another stairway that went back up or continue going down. There was one slight problem with the more adventurous option, however – a plastic chain was blocking the pathway and there was a sign informing us that the walk was temporarily closed. The sound of a waterfall somewhere beyond the chain was too tempting however, and we decided to continue down, just a bit, to see what lied below. Rules are meant to be broken, after all.
Our next trip to Mount Macedon took us to two well-known attractions – the Memorial Cross and Camels Hump. Perhaps not as impressive as other large crosses and cross-like structures (I couldn’t help but compare it to Christ the Redeemer), the Memorial Cross was still a sight worth seeing. Erected to commemorate those who lost their lives in the first world war, it stands an imposing 21 metres high (for context, Christ the Redeemer is 30 metres). Just beyond the cross is a fantastic view, with the city of Melbourne faintly visible in the distance.
Camels Hump, however, is famous for having the best views on the mountain. The highest point of the Macedon Ranges, we walked a steep 500 metre path to reach it. We arrived just as the sun was beginning to set, making the panoramic views even more spectacular.
What I enjoyed most about Mount Macedon was the numerous little features that enhance each destination. The lookout spot at Camels Hump, for instance, had this bronze dial showing the direction of other notable places and their distance from that point. The pathway to the Memorial Cross was lined with this quaint rock border and plaques along the way with tidbits of historical information. It’s nice to know that this incredible natural landmark is valued and that resources have been put towards making the most of it.
During both visits to Mount Macedon we passed signs for the town centre, which we’ve yet to explore. I’ve also read there’s a few wineries in the area. Looks like we’re not done exploring all that Mount Macedon has to offer yet.