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An insider’s guide to Winter Wonderlights

Made of Ballarat

25 Jun 2019

Filed underFamily Friendly

Everything you need to know about Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlights.

What is Winter Wonderlights?

Part of the Ballarat Winter Festival, Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlights is Australia’s largest ever light projection spectacle staged at one site. More than 95,000 visitors are expected to experience the mammoth three-week event from June 29 until July 21.

During the day, visitors can enjoy fun-filled pantomimes and theatre performances, join in Christmas-themed arts and crafts, stock up on traditional Christmas decorations and try to catch Sir Ginger the cheeky gingerbread man. Faux snow will fall at regular intervals over the Victorian-style buildings and the smell of Christmas treats will fill the air as visitors are swept up in the excitement of a special European-style Christmas.

From 5.45pm, dance in the faux snowfalls and watch on as Sovereign Hill’s Main Street is transformed with sparkling, grand-scale images dancing along the facades.

The outdoor museum is open from 10am until 7pm each day of Winter Wonderlights.

Tickets

Winter Wonderlights is included in your Sovereign Hill admission. Tickets are adult $62, concession $49.70, child (5-15) $27.80, infants free, family (2 adults and 4 children) $157, or family (1 adult and 3 children) $112.50. Tickets are selling fast so book online to avoid disappointment.

Pass-outs are available if you wish to exit Sovereign Hill and return later that day for Winter Wonderlights.

And did you know your ticket actually entitles you to two days at the tourist attraction for the price of one? This offer is only valid for two consecutive days and photo ID is required.

On the day

Sovereign Hill is situated in Bradshaw Street, Ballarat, with plenty of free on-site parking.

The average temperature in Ballarat during June and July is 10 degrees celsius, so we recommend you rug up in a coat, scarf, beanie and gloves. Even if it rains (or snows!), Winter Wonderlights will proceed as usual.

Multiple ATMs are situated on-site, with EFTPOS available in all retail outlets.

Winter Wonderlights experiences

  • Snowfalls will transform Sovereign Hill’s Main Street into a winter wonderland (11.45am, 1.40pm, 3.40pm and 5.45pm in Main Street)
  • Meet Sir Ginger in the European Christmas Fare Marquee (midday and 3pm) and join in the craft activities (11am-6.30pm)
  • St Nicholas & Old Horse at Victoria Theatre (12.30pm)
  • The Gingerbread Man at Victoria Theatre (1pm and 3.30pm)
  • Beauty and the Beast at Victoria Theatre (11.30am, 2.15pm and 5pm)
  • Watch the redcoat soldiers march, drill and fire their muskets (1.30pm and 4.30pm at the Victoria Theatre balcony)
  • Christmas carols with the brass band (4.45pm-5.45pm)
  • The new tunnel of lights at Post Office Lake beside the cafe (5.50pm-7pm)
  • Say hello to St Nicholas in the Bright View gardens (6pm-7pm)

Food

Enjoy a special two-course Wonderlights Celebration dinner at the New York Bakery at 5pm or 6.45pm, or the After Dark dinner at the United States Hotel Dining Room at 6.45pm (bookings essential). Or pull up a seat at the Charlie Napier Hotel for à la carte dining from 3pm until 7pm (walk-up only).

Head to the Hope Bakery (10am-7pm) for Sovereign Hill’s famous pies, pasties, cakes and baked delights, including the brand new Raspberry Drop Wagon Wheel.

For quick and delicious lunch and dinner options, make a beeline for the European Christmas Fare Marquee, Universal Transit Office, United States Hotel Bar, John Alloo’s or the Stables. The Sovereign Hill Cafe also serves hot and cold takeaway meals, baguettes, sandwiches and drinks.  

Extras

To mark the festivities, Sovereign Hill has created limited edition lemon meringue hard-boiled lollies which are available on-site and online until July 21. And the kids will love the new gingerbread man and redcoat soldier lollipops.

Aura

Separate to Winter Wonderlights is Sovereign Hill’s multi-sensory sound and light show, AURA, which is held every night of the year. This June and July, AURA show times have been scheduled so that visitors can enjoy Winter Wonderlights prior to seeing the ticketed show.

Accommodation

If you wish to stay the night, the on-site Sovereign Hill Hotel is just metres from the gold rush action.

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Visit Ballarat is supported by the City of Ballarat

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