It might not technically be Her Majesty’s official birthday this weekend, but hey, we love any excuse for a public holiday. Particularly one that lands on a Monday!
And yes, this pandemic has made planning for travel difficult, but what we can tell you is that Ballarat is open this long weekend and we’re all smiles knowing we might see you…
To make the most of the three-day weekend, we’ve rounded up our ultimate list of things to do in Ballarat.
We’ve all been staring at the walls of our own homes for a looooong time now, so why not take a break from what you know and discover somewhere new.
From the very swish to the very old, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing accommodation in Ballarat. From waking up to breakfast in bed at boutique hotel, the Provincial Ballarat, to living like a local in a self-contained apartment like Lascelles and Ballarat Premier Apartment, or getting away with the whole family at The Mercure, Ballarat boasts a range of accommodation options to suit every lifestyle and budget.
Take a look here.
One thing’s for sure – you’re not going to go hungry or thirsty in the Ballarat region. Wander along the streets and laneways and you’ll come across some great cafes and restaurants. Throw down some local brews and wines and make a meal of it with regional produce and clever menus.
Indulge in the delicacies of an Asian street market, French patisserie or South American tienda without the need for a long international flight or the threat of excess baggage charges.
Take a look here.
HOT TIP: The famous Vegas & Rose pink door will re-open this Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10am-2pm.
We might be smack-bang in the middle of a pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped our wiz-bang local entrepreneurs starting some very cool new ventures in Ballarat.
Let us introduce you to the new kids on the block…
Clothesline Café, Ballarat’s newest brunch spot
Renard, a new cocktail bar and social club
Battista, a former Baptist church-turn-Airbnb
Grandad’s Sweater, new to Ballarat’s vintage shopping scene
Bankhouse Brewery, a micro-brewery in Dean
The Green House, indoor plant store with café and regular workshops
Fossick, café and homeware store not-to-be-missed on Victoria Street
Molly Pip & Co, a new women’s clothing and homewares store
Hellas Fest, an new authentic Greek restaurant
The Summit Pizza Bar, which you can find in Ballarat North.
Find your perfect hideout from the cold in the way of a warm cocktail bar!
Head to popular speakeasy 18th Amendment Bar for a theatrical cocktail not-to-be-missed.
For pre and post-dinner drinks we also highly recommend new cocktail bar and social club, Renard.
Gin lovers are in for a treat with local Kilderkin Larrikin Gin being served with fresh lime at Roy Hammond.
And, an exclusive Little Lon Distilling Co gin can be found at The George Hotel.
The Howe & Herring Gin is named after George Howe and Francis Herring, who opened the George Inn in 1853 after making their fortunes on the goldfields.
Inspired by the black tea and hard liquor copiously consumed by the prospectors of the day, this gin combines tea and strawberry gum for a contemporary take on the 1850s eucalyptus flavour. Little Lon has also added a waft of lemon myrtle for lightness and smoked the gin to add that campsite nostalgia.
Channel your inner 1850s gold miner or wildlife warrior at Ballarat’s family-friendly tourist attractions.
Meet a rare golden wombat at the Ballarat Wildlife Park, or snap a photo with an Australian Black Cockatoo at Ballarat Bird World.
Sovereign Hill is also expected to open its doors again on Saturday from 10am.
Gold Rush Mini Golf has you covered with their outdoor course celebrating Ballarat’s gold rush history, while the indoor course is brimming with dinosaurs, knights and pirates.
Warm up inside Australia’s oldest regional art gallery this winter.
With a special spot for local artists, the gallery’s large collection of works by Morris Cohen is on display for the first time. Born in Ballarat, Cohen was a self-taught painter and caricaturist who has exhibited alongside many of the leading Australian artists of his generation.
This winter you’ll also see works of Wadawurrung visual artist Kait James. In her exhibition, Hang Us Out To Dry, James uses Aboriginal-themed tea towels from the 1970-80s that stereotype the Indigenous culture and, using embroidery, subverts them with pop culture references to reflect contemporary perspectives.
Visit the gallery’s website for the full program of current and future exhibitions.
Every Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Michael Unwin opens the doors to his cellar door for their annual wine sale.
On Monday, MasterChef alumni and Ballarat local, Tim Bone, will also be onsite serving up his mouthwatering toasties.
There’s something relaxing about wandering a market of a Saturday morning with a warming coffee in-hand. So what are you waiting for, grab your jacket and re-useble bags and check out the Ballarat Farmers’ Market by Lake Wendouree this Saturday.
Jam-packed with local makers, you’ll find it hard to walk away empty handed. Expect baked goods and sweet treats, small goods and pantry staples, and handcrafted artisan pieces, including soy candles, resin art boards, handmade children’s clothing, laser-cut fire pits and handpainted pots and planters.
Sweet Spot Pop-up at Saltbush Kitchen
This collab between Kittelty’s and Saltbush Kitchen will have you diving deep into the flavours of the Australian landscape during a sweet bushfood feast, which includes strawberry gum panna cotta and handmade chocolates (it’s kinda like high tea, but Australian-style).
Have you booked your spot yet?
Join a truffle hunt
You might complain about our frosty mornings, but without them we wouldn’t have black Périgord truffles at our finger tips.
With winter comes the return of the popular truffle hunts at Wattle Flat’s Black Cat Truffles.
There’s still spots available this weekend for their two-hour truffle hunt and taste of Truffles Experience.
Go to the dark side and learn more about the rich, black, malty winter favourite, Stout!
The Sunday session kicks off at 12.30pm.
Note: All details correct at time of publishing, please check with businesses listed for up to date information.