Located just under an hour from Melbourne, Hanging Rock is a six million year old extinct volcano. To get there, it’s a scenic drive through the heart of the Macedon Ranges past quaint homesteads and working farms, fields of munching sheep and stacks of hay.
Hanging Rock reserve has a large barbeque area for families, a race course with a number of kangaroos dotted about and a café. It’s a hearty forty minute walk up to the pinnacle of Hanging Rock and the spectacular views across the Mount Macedon region make it well worth the effort. We shared the walk with an excited group of Japanese tourists who were racing each other to the top. This reduced the haunted feeling surrounding the Rock with the mysterious disappearance of some schoolgirls in 1900, later made into a film.
The Discovery Centre has information about the history of Hanging Rock as a meeting point and sacred site for a number of local Aboriginal tribes. As well as models of the formation of the rock, images from the film ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ and stories of its early settlers. During the summer there are guided night walks in Hanging Rock.
Make sure you spend some time exploring stunning Mount Macedon and soaking up the views from the summit’s Memorial Cross, which commemorates Australia’s soldiers. Follow the boulevard, which takes in grand estates, hidden by trees, neat hedges and wrought iron gates. During April and November some of these great estates and grounds open to the public.
Don’t forget to make a pit stop at Bourkie’s Bakehouse in Woodendfor their famous vanilla slices. Make sure to get in there early before the post lunch rush, when every other visitor to the region descends on the bakehouse with the same idea. They were sold out by the time we got there so a good excuse to make another visit to this glorious region.