WHAT better way to travel through the Macedon Ranges than on its inaugural Autumn Pie and Tart Trail sampling flaky pies and delicious tarts at more than 20 venues across nine villages.
The trail is just one of the highlights of the Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival from March 26- April 25.
From classic country bakeries to cellar doors, you can dine in with a glass of wine or take your pies for a picnic lunch under the autumn leaves. You can have your savoury treat in one village then meander to the next for your dessert fix.
Options include a takeaway Sunday roast pie from Malmsbury Bakery and a picnic in the village's beautiful botanic gardens. Or a gourmet quail and pine mushroom pie at Mount Macedon Winery's restaurant.
Parkside Estate Winery in Lancefield is offering a beef bourguignon pie paired with a glass of pinot, while Darraweit Valley's Cider House has a cider-drenched pork and apple pie.
Vegetarians are not forgotten, with a mushroom ragout pie from Country Cob Bakery, named Australia's best pie maker three years in row, while sweet tooths can enjoy a spiced pumpkin tart or a caramelised pear tart.
But the festival is not just about food. It's a month-long series of free and ticketed events, nature experiences and creativity running across its nine colourful villages.
There will be art displays, light shows, live music, food and wine events, open studios, farmers' markets, chalk art and street activations.
Garden lovers will have the opportunity to experience the historic and spectacular gardens Duneira Estate in Mount Macedon and Bringalbit at Sidonia near Kyneton.
Other key events include the Macedon Ranges Music Festival live at Hanging Rock; the Cidersong Autumn Picnic, where live music, singing, food and cider will combine at the beautiful apple orchard at DV Cider; the Gin Afternoon Teaat Big Tree Distillery; and the Celebration of Harvest,where Macedon Ranges Wine will celebrate this year's harvest over one day in Kyneton with plenty of local wines, delicious food and live music.
Parkside Estate Winery's owners and winemakers Darryl and Jenny Ward will welcome visitors to their cellar door, housed inside a lovingly restored Clydesdale horse stable, adjacent to the historic Parkside homestead (c.1890). Parkside is also a working farm so you can take time to chat to the resident sheep and cows and feed carrots to the horses.
Nine artists will throw open their studio doors to visitors and there will be a CWA Creative Arts Exhibition as well as workshops in autumn-inspired wet-felting and embroidery, straw weaving and botanic art.