What to do in Ballarat this winter school holidays

There's so much to love about heading to Ballarat for the winter school holidays (27 June – 12 July).

Embrace the chill and step back in time to the 1850s gold rush at Sovereign Hill, enter a world of magic and myth at Kryal Castle, feed a free-roaming kangaroo at the Ballarat Wildlife Park, or go head-to-head with the kids at Gold Rush Mini Golf.

And the best thing is you don't need to travel far, with the drive taking less than 90 minutes from Melbourne, Geelong and Bendigo.  

  • The Ballarat Wildlife Park has been back in action since 1 June, with a comprehensive range of initiatives introduced to ensure the safety of all visitors, staff and volunteers. From penguins to koalas, wombats to penguins, crocodiles to Sumatran tigers, the family-owned park strives to give the best interactive experience with some of Australia’s most unique animals.To receive a 10 per cent discount off your admission price, mention the code word "Be Kind" at the ticket office.
  • The award-winning Sovereign Hill will again welcome visitors from Saturday 27 June. Much loved activities and attractions such as gold panning, coach rides, the gold pour, confectionery factory and the quartz mine will also operational but at reduced capacity. To celebrate its reopening, Sovereign Hill is reducing ticket prices until the end of the school holidays. Adult tickets are now $30 (normally $61), child tickets $20 (normally $26.90), and a family ticket – which includes up to four children – $100 (normally $152). Tickets must be pre-purchased online, with visitors limited to 1000 per day. For the immediate future, the outdoor museum will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 5pm. 
  • Kryal Castle will also kick-start the school holidays by lowering its drawbridge on Saturday 27 June. Be enthralled by a kingdom of myth, magic and fantasy with knights, dragons, wizards, kings, queens, princesses, fairies and so much more. "Our team have been working hard to ensure a new and exciting program for all,” Kryal Castle general manager Melissa Dimond said. The medieval attraction will be open daily during the school holidays between 10am and 4pm, with tickets to be pre-purchased online.
  • Gold Rush Mini Golf boasts two 18-hole courses – an outdoor course celebrating Ballarat's gold rush history and an outdoor "Lost Worlds" course filled with dinosaurs, medieval characters and Caribbean pirate hideouts. If you're coming to Ballarat from Melbourne, keep an eye out for the eight-metre-tall Big Miner guarding the front of the Western Highway venue.
  • Tire your kids out at Ballarat trampoline centre Xtreme Bounce. They will love the huge arena of high performance trampolines plus the Slam Dunk, Battle Beam, Performance Wall, Dodgeball, Wipeout, and Air Bags. Book online to secure your one-hour jump time.
  • Pottery, mosaics and acrylic pouring classes have returned to ClayMotion's Ballarat studio as part of its school holiday program. Class sizes are limited to eight children in line with social distancing protocols. Click here for more information.
Art Gallery of Ballarat
  • Australia's oldest and largest regional gallery, the Art Gallery of Ballarat, will reopen its doors on Wednesday 1 July in the first week of the school holidays. The two featured exhibitions will be Stagecraft by Ballarat-born, London-based artist David Noonan plus Strange Ways by Melbourne-based artist Anne Wallace. A limited number of visitors will be able to access the Lydiard Street gallery from 10am-5pm daily using a free, timed entry ticket system. Click here to book online.
  • For two of Ballarat's best playgrounds, head to the fully-fenced Victoria Park Inclusive Play Space or the Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground.
  • Delacombe's Showbiz Cinemas reopens on Thursday 25 June with staggered session times and allocated seating. All tickets just $10.
  • Head outdoors for half or full day guided adventures at Beaufort's Cave Hill Creek. Prices start at $39 per person for a half day and $69 per person for a full day (minimum group size of four). Click here to find out more.
  • At Creswick Woollen Mills, take a self-guided tour of the award-winning interactive exhibition A Very Fine Yarn, which explores the journey of natural fibres and incorporates the mill's heritage machinery.
  • Purchase ceramic or plaster figurines or wall plaques to paint at home from the Plaster Fun House. They will be selling take-home activity packs at a pop-up shop at Delacombe Town Centre on weekdays from Monday 29 June until Friday 10 July between 10am and 4pm (closed weekends). 

As the government's COVID-19 restrictions continue to change, we encourage you to be kind, stay safe, maintain social distancing and use common sense. And if you're unwell, please stay home.