What locals love most about winter in Ballarat

Winter truly is a special time in Ballarat – and who better to tell you why than the people who call this beautiful city home.

As part of a recent competition, we asked our locals what they love about winter in Ballarat. Below is a selection of their responses:

  • "I love that Ballarat winters make me feel alive! The fresh, crisp weather invigorates me and I continue to enjoy all the outdoor activities I always do, in particular running around Lake Wendouree with my dog and riding my horse in the local bush."
  • "Winter in Ballarat; a jumble of beanies, scarves and jackets, coffee from L'espresso, exploring the Ballarat Botanical Gardens and jumping in the puddles. Slow conversations by an open fire, Sunday night roast in my mother-in-law's little kitchen and a brisk lap of Lake Wendouree with the wind whipping. My favourite season, made even moodier in our charming city." 
  • "I love the rush of visiting Sovereign Hill in winter and being frozen in time. Walking around exploring, all rugged up, with a hot pie from the bakery, a hot chocolate and visiting the blacksmith where it's so warm with the fire and glowing metal he is forging. Always fun to try a bit of panning and grabbing some boiled lollies from the sweet shop too. A real asset to beautiful Ballarat." 
  • "I love winter in Ballarat when the sky's a deep, mysterious, ancient grey, matching the worn-down cobblestone lining the streets, bookends holding you in time past and present, the clouds are heavy with a potential downpour that would make Noah proud, the trees are now striped of anything lush, dormant in preparation to return to green. These days in Ballarat could be mistaken to not know the year you stepped into but there is no mistaking a Ballarat winter."
  • "Snagging the table next to the open fire at The Forge Pizzeria, enjoying the cosiness of Meigas or sitting close to the bar at Hop Temple. It's a bit like a winter night out in my second home, Germany!" 
  • "The best thing I love about Ballarat in winter is the anticipation of waiting to wake on a Sunday morning to see the snow everywhere and then the race to get in the car and drive to Mount Buninyong with the kids and throw some snow!"
  • "Layering, leaves, cafe culture, wine bars, warm fires, and late night walks all rugged up, exploring some new little spot to sit and talk with friends."
  • "I love the cosy mood of Ballarat in winter. Beanie, scarf and puffer coat on to enjoy a walk around beautiful Lake Wendouree with our dogs, or heading down Sturt Street for a delicious coffee and cake. We love to visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park and Sovereign Hill. So much atmosphere! Long Sunday walks in Victoria Park followed by hot chocolate at home by the fire. Who wouldn't love winter in Ballarat?"
  • "My favorite winter activity in Ballarat is walking. Ballarat has a wealth of safe and interesting walking options within easy access from the CBD. The Yarrowee Trail through Brown Hill out to Gong Gong takes me along the creek through grasslands and forest. The birdlife is abundant and the photo opportunities plentiful. Another gorgeous walk takes me from the Eureka Centre along the Bunny Trail and on to the Specimen Vale Trail into town. The history of Ballarat East is very evident on this varied walk through the gully. Once in the CBD, walk in any direction to encounter architectural splendour, hidden laneways and the magnificent Sturt Street boulevard. My walking passion is obviously not winter exclusive but winter walking is my favorite. I might add prior to coming to Ballarat to live two years ago, I had no idea about the hidden walking gems the city had to offer. The lake walk, yes, but these other discoveries mentioned above have become absolute favourites."
  • "I love the beautiful oak trees in Sturt Street, bare to the bones of their beautiful branches, nature's living sculptures encouraging us to wrap up warmly to enjoy their strength and beauty." 
  • "Apart from being a beautiful place, Ballarat offers gorgeous locally-made art, crafts, cakes, pastries and the freshest home grown produce. Love it!" 
  • "My favourite place in Ballarat in winter is the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. I love the emerald green grass, the skeletal trees covered with lichen, and the camellia blooms. The Statuary Pavilion is a peaceful place to sit in the winter sun and quieten the mind." 
Sovereign Hill
  • "The welcome of the Ballarat community. The businesses go out of their way to ensure tourists have access to top quality food and entertainment at reasonable prices, as well as the availability of accommodation that considers families and people with additional needs. Can't pass up spending a day at Sovereign Hill to explore our history or a walk around the lake." 
  • "My fondest memory of Ballarat was standing outside Myer, the snow was falling and the trees down the centre of Sturt Street were covered in snow. It looked like a winter wonderland. This was 40+ years ago and I have never forgotten it." 
  • "Ballarat is one of the few cities where the changing of seasons is so obvious. After the glorious seemingly unending colour and sunshine of autumn, the sentinel trees of winter pay homage to the quiet waiting of winter. Along avenues, around the lake, in ancient gardens and on farms, great gnarled trees are sculptures born out of the thoughtfulness and foresight of our ancestors – indigenous and newer arrivals. I love the care of leaving such monuments to weather the changing times." 
  • "The weather may be cold but the people are warm. I love that it's a big town with a country feel." 
  • "I love the chill in the air which means jackets and beanies and wood fires and warming soups and morning mists."
  • "Mist-filled valleys, great coffee and cafes, culture (love the Art Gallery of Ballarat) and the fact Ballarat is a little bit country but with lots of heart and soul and beautiful goldfields charm."
  • "Polka-dot knits on dogs as they walk, daffodils bursting to show off their stalks. Sipping hot cider on a sub-zero night, crackling fire pits – a welcomed delight. A black puffer jacket to try and stay warm, another bewitching, frosty, iced morn."