Gisborne and Macedon are two of the smaller towns in the Macedon Ranges and both towns are a great place for a combined day trip or half-day trip as they are less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne.
Here are my tips on where to play, eat and visit in Gisborne and Macedon with kids.
- Macedon Ranges Adventure Playground Brantome Ave, Gisborne
This huge adventure playground is within walking distance to the centre of town and after the drive from Melbourne it’s always our first stop so everyone can stretch their legs!
There’s lots of equipment, with a fully fenced area for toddlers which has a fire engine theme.
The other equipment includes a huge net climbing pyramid, big wooden and plastic structures referencing the area’s timber industry, several flying foxes and a lovely bushland setting.
Note Macedon has a tiny playground in the Ash Wednesday Park in the centre of town if you need to let kids have a run around. Personally if you’re after a super play experience I think it’s worth the little drive to Gisborne instead.
2. Gardens of Tieve Tara 751 Mt Macedon Rd, Mt Macedon
Gorgeous private gardens which are open to the public during autumn and winter. Pack a picnic, enjoy the tranquility and let the kids loose on the play areas set amongst the trees.
3. Three Little Pigs Shop 1, 30A Aitken Street Gisborne
Three Little Pigs is located on Gisborne’s main street and it is a popular haunt for families because of its partially fenced children’s play area at the back. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and ‘Big Bag Wolf’ dinners Friday and Saturday nights. Local and seasonal produce is used and I highly recommend the freshly-baked muffins first thing in the morning!
4. Jed 20 Hamilton St Gisborne
Next to Gisborne Market is Jed, a paleo-inspired cafe. The decor and food are very ‘on-trend’ and while the space doesn’t have a play area or kids menu, I saw plenty of families enjoying brunch there.
5. Mr. Cafe 23 Victoria Street Macedon
Macedon has one excellent cafe on the main street and understandably it’s where everywhere congregates. Their coffee comes from Toby’s Estate, bread from Zeally Bay and cakes and pastries made in house.
Loved the look of the vanilla slice but unfortunately the pastry was damp and soggy rather than perky and crisp.
My granola was served hipster style in a beer mug, which looked great but was actually a bit hard to dig into. Thankfully it was delicious – sweet and crunchy with some tart berries and yoghurt to top it off.
The highlight was actually the dairy-free smoothie – coconut, yoghurt, banana and chia seed. Really cold, think and refreshing but super nutritious.
6. Gisborne Library Hamilton St Gisborne
I’m told that the Macedon Ranges libraries are pretty much all the same and the one at Gisborne is pretty small. The children’s area is cosy but does have a smattering of toys and a screen-based game for preschoolers to play.
7. Gisborne Market Shop 4 23 Hamilton St Gisborne
On the first Sunday of every month Gisborne comes alive with the Gisborne Olde Time Market. The street market includes arts, crafts, clothing, books, plants, entertainment and food. Funds raised from the markets are used for the beautification of Gisborne’s parklands, the provision of local facilities and support of local voluntary groups.
The Memorial Cross is a 21m high monument at the peak of Mt Macedon. It commemorates those who served in the world wars and is the site of the one of the most moving ANZAC Day ceremonies in Victoria. The cross and the surrounding national park often gets scattering of snow in winter so is a nice first introduction to snow play for little kids.
9. Macedon in Autumn
Come autumn my Instagram feed starts being flooded with Melburnians and travel blogger visiting Honour Avenue’s blaze of autumn colour. Unfortunately on our recent visit a big storm had just passed the area so the canopy of branches were completely bare. Best to time your visit by checking social media before making the trip!
Where are your favourite places to play, eat and visit in Gisborne and Macedon?