Winter has traditionally received somewhat of a bad rap.
But there’s something enchanting about cosying up to a fire with a good red in-hand, rugging up and hitting the ice skating rink with your crew, or experiencing the magical winter wonderland that transforms Sovereign Hill.
If you’re lucky, you might even enjoy a snow-laden day or two.
From truffle hunts and nights of mulled wine under the stars, to intimate masterclasses and exciting exhibitions, a visit to Ballarat this winter is guaranteed to fill you with warmth.
So go find your favourite beanie, because there’s no better time to plan your next wintry escape to Ballarat.
Hit your sweet spot experience at Saltbush Kitchen
Every Sunday this June
Take part in a dine-in experience that’s all about hitting your sweet spot – think cakes, chocolates, tea, bubbles and more, all packed with Australian bushfood flavour.
Owner, Brigid Corcoran, is also working on a new chocolate flavour especially for winter.
Gin masterclass at Grayling’s Gift
Set against the magical backdrop of a 140-year-old renovated church, this winter masterclass will see you settling in by the fire for a tasting experience with the team behind award-winning gin – Larrikin Gin. Learn about the distilling process, flavours, botanical and history of gin.
A Taste of Truffles
6 June – 29 August
The best part about winter is knowing it’s truffle season. Find out more about this earthy delicacy by talking to truffle growers and learning to harvest your own during an intimate truffle experience at Black Cat Truffles, right on Ballarat’s doorstep.
Enjoy a night of food served under the stars
18 June & 16 July
Get the crew together for a night of mulled wine, forest walks, bouillabaisse served from a cauldron, eel and Western Plains porchetta off the grill, and a chance to see the moon through a century old telescope at the Ballarat Observatory.
Finish with sweet dumplings from the fire and stories by award-winning writer Richard Cornish.
Cocktails and candles
Enjoy a fun-filled winter afternoon learning to make your own candles, while enjoying a class of red and pizza with the Essential Candle Co.
Immerse yourself in Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlights
25 June – 18 July
Rug up and get the camera ready because you’re not going to want to miss the return of Winter Wonderlights.
As the sunsets, Sovereign Hill transforms into a winter wonderland. Marvel at the dazzling projections lighting up the buildings on the Main Street as snow falls overhead, snap a selfie in the gardens illuminated by kilometres of fairylights or, take a seat by the fire and enjoy warming food on The Diggings.
Get the crew together for an ice skating session
26 June – 18 July
Lace up your skates and take to the ice in the heart of Ballarat’s CBD as part of the Ballarat Winter Festival. Whether you’ve got the kids in tow, or you’re looking for the perfect date idea, this pop-up rink is guaranteed fun for all (even if you can’t let go of the side barrier!).
Sensory sessions have also been added to the timetable this year.
Watch Knights of Fire at Kryal Castle
26 June – 11 July, 17– 18 July
Witness a fiery clash of flaming lances as Kryal Castle’s knights joust their way to glory this winter.
Stay warm by the fire while the kids channel their inner wizard during a potion-making workshop, learn the art of archery or test your combat skills at knight’s training.
Meet Ballarat Wildlife Park’s new baby golden wombat
Let us introduce you to Honey Bun, the newest edition to the Ballarat Wildlife Park’s wombat colony.
Her striking gold coat, which is a rare gene in Southern Hairy-Nosed golden wombats, is earning her lots of attention.
Catch a glimpse of Honey Bun during your next visit, and meet the park’s other residents, including meerkats, koalas and Satu the Sumatran tiger.
Harry Potter treasure hunt
29 June – 11 July
Calling all Hogwarts students. Diagon Alley (AKA Collins Booksellers on Lydiard Street) will be open during the July school holidays for all your witchcraft and wizarding supplies.
Gather your friends and come and attempt the treasure hunt (no bookings required).
Christmas in July at Hop Temple
The inside of this popular watering hole will be transformed into a winter wonderland every Wednesday night with live carols and faux snow. You’ll also be able to enjoy a glass of mulled wine or cider.
Aunty Jacks’ Beer School
11, 18, 25 July
Check out of Aunty Jacks’ most popular drops from their very own in-house brewers as part of the All I want for Christmas beer school series.
Funky vase workshop at The Greenhouse Ballarat
Join Lani from The Petal Press Co at Ballarat’s new workshop space and learn how to create your own floral arrangement.
Wander the Design Exchange Market
10 & 11 July
Step out of the cold and warm up with a mulled wine in hand as you wander the Design Exchange Market.
Filled to the brim with independent designers, artists and creators, you’ll find it hard to resist purchasing your next one-of-a-kind statement piece.
Check out the Eureka Arms and Militia Fair
10 & 11 July
More than 200 exhibitors will have their antique arms, knives, swords, uniforms and more at the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre.
Sign up for the Bastille Celebration Dinner at Lola
Head Chef Philippe Desrettes will take you on a journey of regional French classics with wines matched to each course by legendary winemaker Gilles Lapalus of Maison Lapalus.
Wax and wine workshops with Backyard Beekeeping Ballarat
Join local beekeeper Amanda Collins for a glimpse into the art of beeswax candle making. Amanda will guide you through how honeybees produce wax and how it is collected and filtered, before you try your hand at making candles over a glass of wine and nibbles during this 90-minute session.
Learn to cook with Village Dreaming Cooking School
18 July & 15 August
Learn sourdough bread baking, fermenting vegetables and drinks, homemade pasta, preserving, cheese making as well as hands-on craft and gardening skills. The next two classes include Preserving for beginners on 18 July and How to make sourdough on 15 August.
AFL – Western Bulldogs V Adelaide Crows
Weekend of 24-25 July (official game day to be announced by the AFL)
Get up close to your favourite footy players at Mars Stadium this July when Ballarat’s adopted team, the Western Bulldogs, take on the crows.
An arms’ length from all the action, it’s a footy experience you can’t get anywhere else.
Buninyong Village Winter Market
Wander more than 50 stalls and discover handmade goodies from local makers. This popular market is help at the historic Buninyong Town Hall.
Cheese tasting at RJM’s Wine Bar
If you love cheese as much as we do then you’re not going to want to miss this one! Local cheese maker, Nardia Baxter, will take you on a journey of the senses through the Goldfield’s Farmhouse Cheese range. Following this, you will be able to select five of your favourite cheeses for a share
platter which will be accompanied by a selection of olives, dried fruits, walnuts and crackers,
and Springmount’s fruit-pastes and unique black garlic. Book your tickets now!
Wander the Art Gallery of Ballarat
Warm up those toes as you explore the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Keep an eye out for works of Wadawurrung visual artist Kait James uses Aboriginal-themed calendar tea towels from the 1970s and 1980s that generalise and stereotype Indigenous culture and using embroidery subverts them with pop cultural references and Indigenous issues to reflect contemporary perspective.
James’ Hang us out to dry exhibition runs until 1 August.
Ballarat International Foto Biennale
28 August – 24 October
Headlined by exclusive never-before-seen photographs, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale is the only chance you will have to see works by American photographer Linda McCartney.
Linda McCartney: Retrospective showcases some of the most iconic artists and moments from the 1960s music scene alongside intimate family portraits, including a series of prints from the McCartney’s time to Australia between 1975 and 1993.
Known for her portraits of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, among many others, she was the first female photographer whose work was featured as the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1968, with a portrait of Eric Clapton.