Macedon Ranges, Hume, Mitchell & Whittlesea

Plains, valleys, ranges, city, country and everything in between

This area includes large expanses of rural land, forested ranges, river valleys and highly urbanised areas.

The southern slopes of the Great Dividing Range define the northern part of the area. State and regional parks here at Macedon, Lerderderg, Cobaw-Lancefield and Kinglake are critical nature conservation areas and the sources of Maribyrnong River, Jacksons Creek and the Plenty River. On the lower lopes and plains, there are native grasslands of National and State significance and River Red Gum Grassy Woodland. There is habitat for threatened native animals including the swift parrot, growling grass frog, greater glider and brush tailed phascogale.

However, there are demands for urban development, transport and infrastructure which compete for space and co-existence with nature. In the south and east, the growth corridors are Melbourne’s fastest growing residential, industrial and commercial suburbs. The population is predicted to grow by 67% to 783,000 by 2041. The area is a major transit hub for the state with the Melbourne International Airport, the Melbourne-Sydney rail corridor and major road routes including the Tullamarine Freeway, Western Ring Road, Hume Highway and Calder Freeway.

Urban growth’s wider effects are changing rural land use and agriculture on the northern margins of the region away from broad-acre grazing to higher value-per-hectare production and rural-residential uses.