Country Victoria Day Trip from Melbourne to Woodend and Trentham
When we’re planning a day trip to a country town there’s a few things we’re looking for. Cute historic buildings, great beers and delicious bakeries. Also it can’t be too long of a drive or our dog Ada will let us know about it. The towns Woodend and Trentham tick all these boxes. Add in the winding back roads between them and the chance to unabashedly listen to country music on the drive and we have ourselves the perfect day.
Our first stop of the day was Woodend. Located only an hour out of Melbourne off of the freeway it’s an easy drive and tantalisingly close to the eerie Hanging Rock of Picnic at Hanging Rock fame. Sadly the trails around Hanging Rock aren’t dog friendly so we weren’t able to visit on this trip.
Woodend features a historic main street lined with beautiful old buildings. If you have more than a day to spend in the area start with the visitors centre at the far end of the town. The ladies there were really friendly and proud to share all the best places in the area.
To warm up stop in at Bourkies Bakery for a meat pie and their famous vanilla slice. For me though it’s always about Custard Tarts and theirs was delicious. A little further up the street there is fresh produce and flowers at the Woodend Fruit Market and a great flower display if you have an Instagram conscious dog.
There are a number of specialty stores featuring Australian wool and local hand made products and the town still has an independent butcher which Ada rated as her favourite place. She tried to get into the butcher shop twice, had a little scuffle with a dog outside the butcher and tried to steal a bag of meat from a man as he walked past. Yes, she is a well trained dog.
For the craft beer enthusiast make sure to stop at Holgate Brewhouse. The Brewhouse has seating out the front where you can sit with your dog and also a beer garden out the back. The Brewhouse has an extensive range of beers from pale ales to porters and lagers to IPAs.
We bundled back into the car and blasted the heater to try and thaw out on the drive over to Trentham. Trentham is definitely smaller than Woodend and a lot quieter but was oozing with charm. We arrived a little too late for the farmers market but the bakery was still open and we were able to get hot fresh bread. Red Beard’s Bakery uses a Scotch Oven to cook their bread and reading the history behind the method out the front of their store was fascinating.
On our walk down to the Cosmopolitan Hotel an local elderly couple looked us up and down and declared us city folk. I’m still not sure what it was that screamed city but having grown up in a small town and always feeling a bit out of place in cities I was amused that to someones eye we’d made the transition. The Cosmopolitan Hotel is a beautiful old building and harks back to Trenthams past, although it was nearly lost to fire in 2005 it has been beautifully restored. It is now a restaurant specialising in locally produced food and beverages.
Across the street from the Cosmopolitan Hotel is Cyril’s of Trentham. This beautiful store had so many great antiques but more than anything they were very friendly and up for a chat. They shared that only a few days before we arrived it had been snowing!
Heading out of town we stopped at Trentham Falls. The waterfall was beautiful and there is a good path to a viewing point. It was a surprisingly busy spot and it looked like it was possible to hike to the base of the waterfall.
We drove through Kyneton as part of a circuitous route home and decided to make a final stop at Cloud 9 Farm winery. The winery has an outdoor seating area where you can sit with your dog and sip wine overlooking the amazing views into the valley beyond. Situated up on a hill with rolling hills in every direction it’s the type of property I dream of having some day.
The owners were wonderfully friendly and we were able to taste all their wines as well as the delicious cheeses they make! They went out of their way to bring fresh water for Ada and make sure we were warm enough outside. We went away with a bottle of rose and a wheel of camembert cheese to enjoy on a warmer day.
So if you’re looking for a Melbourne day trip or need a dose of country Victoria then the towns of Woodend and Trentham definitely have you covered. If you’re visiting in winter be sure to take multiple layers. The altitude is a little higher than Melbourne and can be bitterly cold. We were definitely underprepared on that front and froze as a result. So pack warm and be prepared for fun and relaxing adventures.