Sanatorium Lake and Days Picnic Ground, Mount Macedon

Sanatorium Lake Picnic Ground, Barringo Road, Mount Macedon

Sanatorium Lake and Days Picnic Ground, Mount Macedon

Sanatorium Lake Picnic Ground, Barringo Road, Mount Macedon

Staff Pick
1 h
3.34 km

A beautiful walk through tall mountain rainforest, with two picnic grounds and a small lake

Sanatorium Lake and Days Picnic Ground, Mount Macedon

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A beautiful walk through tall mountain rainforest, with two picnic grounds and a small lake


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Chill out on this lovely short walk through the alpine bush high on Mount Macedon.

Like much of Victoria, Mount Macedon was largely cleared of native forest in the 19th century. However most of the mountain has now regenerated to some extent and the bush on this walk is once again an impressive area of tall forest, dominated by alpine ash, messmate and manna gum.

In the 19th century, the cool climate of the mountain was thought to provide a perfect environment for patients suffering tuberculosis. The lake was created in order to supply water to the sanatorium that was established for tuberculosis sufferers. Apart from being very picturesque, it is now a habitat for wildlife (see if you can spot the tiny fish near the edge of the lake).

Speaking of wildlife, be sure to take a good look at the birds you see on the walk. You might find they are different to the ones you see near your home, as this is a place for alpine birds.

The walk starts at the Sanatorium Lake Picnic Ground, which is a lovely spot with some beautiful exotic trees and a native bush background. The walk is uphill to get to Days Picnic Ground, then downhill on the way back, but it's not a big climb. Look out for the small signs next to the track explaining the history and ecology of the bush.

There are picnic tables at Sanatorium Lake Picnic Ground and the lake itself. Days Picnic Ground has more facilities, including toilets and BBQs.

- It is possible to do a shorter walk around the lake only (about 30 minutes), without visiting Days Picnic Ground. That shorter walk is the one featured in tourism websites, which often suggest accessing via the car park on Lions Head Road. We wouldn't suggest parking there - the walk from Sanatorium Lake Picnic Ground is nicer.
- This walk is over 900m above sea level - expect it to be noticeably cooler than wherever you have come from. While it is suitable for any time of year, be prepared for cold and wet conditions in the winter.
- While this is an ideal walk to escape the summer heat, it's not one for super hot days due to fire risk. If in doubt check the CFA website.
- Dogs are allowed on a lead.

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Points of Interest

1. Sanatorium Picnic Ground

This picnic area is a lovely spot, with beautiful deciduous trees set amongst the native bush. There are picnic tables and information signs but no toilets.

2. Old nursery site

There are various plants thought to be remnants of an old nursery site in this area, including this rhododendron.

3. Huge tree

Just off the main track (to the right if coming from Sanatorium Picnic Ground) is this gigantic tree, with a small clearing around it.

4. Fern forest

The bush in this area is quite unusual, with a carpet of ferns beneath the trees.

5. Bush walking

As the track moves toward the top of the ridge the conditions get a little drier and sunnier, which is good for tall gum trees!

6. Days Picnic Ground

This is a large picnic ground, popular with big groups. Plenty of room for a game of cricket or kick of the footy. It has BBQs, picnic tables and toilets.

7. The little things

As always, take the time to look for the little things you might not notice otherwise. This is definitely alpine forest, so you might find they're a bit different to your local area.

8. Sanatorium Lake

The lake is not that big, but it's a serene spot in the middle of the forest. There are picnic tables and an information board (with shelter) explaining the history and ecology of the area.

9. A walk in the woods


10. Furry friends

Ok, so this is not at all typical, but if you do the walk at dawn or dusk in the cooler months you might just be lucky enough to meet a wombat having their own picnic.


Picnic spot Picnic spot
Seating available Seating available
Public toilets Public toilets
Historical interest Historical interest
Nature trail Nature trail
Lake, creek, river Lake, creek, river