Located around 50 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD is Mount Macedon, making it an ideal location for a lazy day trip. Of course, with an abundance of open gardens and wineries in the area, the trip could easily be extended to a weekend getaway. At the summit of Mt Macedon is the Memorial Cross, a 21-metre high monument dedicated to those who served Australia in the world wars.
Erected on a vantage point with sensational views towards Port Phillip Bay, the Cross stands at 1001 metres above sea level. Originally constructed between 1932 and 1935 by businessman and local Mount Macedon resident William Cameron, the Cross was demolished and rebuilt by the Grollo brothers in 1995 following storm and fire damage to the original structure.
Memorial Cross is widely considered to be the most significant war memorial in Victoria behind the Shrine of Remembrance. The trip up to the Mount is stunning in its own right, with sunlight shining through the trees that make an archway over the road, and numerous hedges fences with driveways leading to magnificent estates.
Some of the gardens beyond these driveways are open to the public on occasion, while others like Forest Glade are open all year round.
Picnic grounds and open spaces can be found dotted along Cameron Drive on the way to the Cross - perfect if you want to get in touch with nature or just stretch your legs. For those with a green thumb, numerous outstanding nurseries thrive in the fresh mountain climate of Mt Macedon.
Once you arrive at Top of the Range Cafe and Gallery car park, Memorial Cross and Gardens is only a 350-metre walk. Not lacking in park benches, the gardens are the perfect place to read, eat a packed lunch, sketch, or just ponder life.
Take a jumper as the top of the Mount can get a bit chilly, even on a sunny day. When you're finished checking out the view, head back to Top of the Range Cafe and Gallery and grab a Devonshire Tea, coffee, toasted sandwich, or the like.
Although the term 'gallery' is probably used a little loosely here - it's really more like a gift shop selling scented candles, gift cards, and the like - the setting is pretty with a wrap-around verandah providing more sweeping views from the Mount. The atmosphere is warm and cosy and the meals are nice and homey. They're also reasonably priced for a tourist destination.
Top of the Range also boasts a 'pet' peacock, Kenneth, whose pretty plumage is enough to keep children entertained while mum and dad sip their lattes.