Macedon Regional Park: Ranges circuit 19km

Hiking somewhere new again today, Macedon Ranges and Macedon Regional Park, an hour away from Melbourne by car. The map…

Most of the elevation gain within the first 3+km. Of course, what goes up, later must come down…

A cool and clear morning, 6 degrees, as I parked the car and looked up towards Mount Macedon. This road below takes me to the start of that climb.

Mount Macedon from Douglas Road

The reason for initial road walking is making a circuit. Follow Douglas Road and soon Macedon Ranges Walking Trail (MRWT) crosses it. MRWT starts at Macedon Railway Station further below and is not a circuit. This way, it becomes one.

OK, enough talking, start climbing…

After recent rain and being shady, I half-expected leeches on the trail. My experience with leeches is poor. I contracted cellulitis some years ago from an infected leech bite. Not something to experience again.

Leeches free today although I thought about getting gaiters anyway.

Up up and away

Macedon Ranges Walking Trail is well-marked throughout by plenty of “MRWT” posts.

MRWT post – one of many

The Mount Macedon ascent felt nowhere near as hard as my recent Scenic Rim hike in Lerderderg State Park. Perhaps due to the cooler temperature and rocky grounds there but not here.

Beautiful but somewhat steep

Then the sun filtered through the trees. Approaching the top now…

Closer to Mount Macedon’s summit

And I was out. The Mount Macedon Memorial Cross is a prominent feature on the summit. In the distance on right below.

Out of trail to see the cross

A local resident erected the Mount Macedon Memorial Cross after World War I as a war memorial. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination. You can drive up and even refresh yourself at a tea house.

Hans The Hiker at the Cross

Me, I enjoyed tea from my thermos with a muffin sitting next to the cross before continuing down this path.

The path away from the cross

There are some lookouts off the path towards the west. The next 3 pictures show the Western Lookout, looking… ehhh… west. The clouds were lower than the lookout at 1,001 meters (yep!)

Western Lookout off Mount Macedon – 1 of 3
Views off Western Lookout – 2 of 3
Views off Western Lookout – 3 of 3

Autumn is coming. These trees looked great.

Trees in autumn

Strategic location of the Mount Macedon tea house next to the parking lot. The MRWT continued to the left and that’s where I went. Not tempted by the tea house since I had my own.

Mount Macedon tea house

Now MRWT was sometimes carriage wide and sometimes just walking wide. And as flat as a mountain trail can be. The sun created long tree shadows at time, all rather pleasant.

Sun shining down on the hiker

Here below, I took the wrong path. I walked right following the “vehicle exit”. And reached Cameron Drive. Not supposed to according to my map. I should continue straight ahead. To my defence, the road to the right was not marked on my map.

Straight ahead or turn right…?

I passed McGregor Picnic Ground, with plenty of tables and toilets, to ascend up to Camels Hump. The marker up the steps below signifies its summit.

Final stretch up to Camels Hump

The tallest point in Macedon Ranges is not Mount Macedon at 1,001 meters. Camels Hump at 1,011 meters is. Yes, a full 10 meters taller. Can’t you tell from the views below?

Views from Camels Hump

Whether Camels Hump looked like a camel’s hump, I can’t tell. I haven’t seen it from a distance. But it is a great spot for another cuppa. Which I had after taking this selfie on the viewing platform.

Selfie from Camels Hump summit (or viewing platform)

Moving on, I soon reached a trail with an odd name; “Sanatorium Lake – Forest Eco-Tourism Walking Trail”. Not rolling off the tongue that one…

Start of “Sanatorium Lake – Forest Eco-Tourism Walking Trail”

On occasion, a shared hikers and horses trail. I didn’t see any riders today apart from a lady grooming a horse at Days Picnic Ground just prior. Perhaps she planned to ride here…

Hikers and horses do mix (they have to here)

Sanatorium Lake next so left…

Sanatorium track junction

…and all tranquility gone. During the first 11km, I encountered 5 people. Here was a mega filmset. And lots of people.

Part of film crew and props

I heard the filming was for “Picnic at Hanging Rock”. Commissioned for TV by FoxTel and created by Fremantle Media.

Set for Picnic at Hanging Rock

Sanitorium Lake featured as the set backdrop. Complete with artificial smoke for fog, spewed out of long plastic tubes beside the lake.

The name Sanitorium Lake comes from its 1899 creation to supply water for a nearby tuberculosis sanatorium.

Sanatorium Lake, complete with “fog” – 1 of 2

I walked around Sanatorium Lake as my map suggested. Although more a pond than a lake. Now complete with smoke machine to the left below.

Sanatorium Lake, complete with “fog” – 2 of 2

Well, I think the film crew grew annoyed with my presence. Two different crew members told me that a horse stampeding scene was next, hint hint, “get lost”. So after making a nuisance of myself by asking questions and taking photos, I retired to the nearby Sanatorium Picnic Ground for lunch. All by myself again… Peace…

Lunch at Sanatorium Picnic Ground

Only to after lunch as I walked into a second film location for “Picnic at Hanging Rock”. Now there were even more people and props. Several horses and carriages with actors dressed in period clothes. Three more pics…

“Picnic at Hanging Rock” film set / 2nd location – 1 of 3
“Picnic at Hanging Rock” film set / 2nd location – 2 of 3
“Picnic at Hanging Rock” film set / 2nd location – 3 of 3

After causing the filmset trouble again, somebody told me I was in a shot – get out, I moved on. Wondering whether there would be a 3rd filming location around the corner, but alas, I saw no more.

One more mountain to “conquer” before hike completion, Mount Towrong…

Sign pointing to Mount Towrong

Mount Towrong’s summit is unremarkable. A small elevation, a fraction higher than its surroundings. Marked with a huge cairn.

Summit of Mount Towering

Then the final descent to the road and “civilisation”. Trickier and steeper than the beginning, although not everywhere.

Descending from Mount Towrong

Steep and rocky downwards… and with great views. Can you see Mount Macedon Memorial Cross opposite?

Mount Macedon from east

Did I mention views? The vistas were spectacular in places.

Views from Mount Towrong

Did I mention steep? And rocky?

Looking back up at Mount Towrong

Douglas Road, the initial stretch on road, was visible between the trees.

Douglas Road leading up to Mount Macedon

End of Mount Towrong Walking Track. The remaining hike is on the unsealed Anzac Road, with some traffic.

Strolling for another km took me back to the car for the drive back to Melbourne.

Another spectacular hike, with some effort, several mountains and views. On a cool and dry day, with few people around. Plus the added bonus of stumbling onto not one but two filmsets.

What more can you ask for?

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