Home to warming hospitality, unlimited access to scenic walks and a welcome dose of fresh air, there’s so much to love about winter in Ballarat.
With that in mind, why not pack up the car and hit the road for the weekend in your favourite regional city.
Whether you’re visiting friends or family, or simply looking for an excuse to escape the house for a few days, Ballarat provides the perfect backdrop for an indulgent weekend of exploration and relaxation.
And let’s face it, we all deserve some time away with those we love (or just ourselves). So rug up, pack your beanie and visit Ballarat this weekend.
To help you plan that perfect getaway, we’ve compiled a list of the best ways to beat those winter blues. Image
Top things to do
Get your isolation respite fix at the Ballarat Wildlife Park. Snap a selfie with the free-roaming kangaroos, marvel at the cheeky meerkats and chat with the keepers about the park’s most popular residents – the Sumatran tigers.
Grab an Industry Beans coffee at Webster’s Market and Café and take a stroll through Lake Wendouree Fairyland and the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. For those who enjoy this Fitzroy-based roaster, you might be surprised to know Industry Beans was started by two Ballarat locals.
Hire a bike and explore the city on two wheels. Start in the city centre, then head north and enjoy the scenery through the Creswick State Forest during the one-hour coffee ride. Or simply discover Ballarat at your own pace.
It’s going to be cold, so rug up and pack your walking boots for a much-needed nature fix. Perfect for bush walking and trail running, why not head to the brand new Woowookarung Regional Park? Or choose your own adventure at Lal Lal Falls with either the quick 200m walk to the viewing platform or the longer walk around the gorge on the Von Guerard View Track.
Take a self-guided tour of Ballarat’s glistening historic streetscapes and wander the city’s hidden alleys and laneways where you’re bound to unearth a treasure trove of hidden gems.
Explore the dark side of Ballarat during a ghost tour. For those looking for something a little tastier, why not experience Ballarat after dark at one of the city’s finest restaurants or indulge in a cheese platter and fine local cocoa as you cosy up to a fire.
Search for the perfect gift to take home with you at one of Ballarat’s specialty retailers. You’ll find your perfect fragrance at Sweet Fern and a warm wool jumper from Teddy & Fletch. If online shopping is more your thing, why not order a Made in Ballarat box from Hattie and the Wolf and continue experiencing the very best of Ballarat from the comfort of home for a little while longer.
Eat and drink
If you’re looking for your next Insta-worthy brunch, then look no further than Higher Society. From their white chocolate and raspberry chia to the vegetarian black bean chilli and seasonal greens, you’re sure to find something to tempt your taste buds.
Enjoy a good sleep in? No stress. Take your time and sit down to the all-day breakfast menu at one of the city’s most popular cafes, Johnny Alloo.
Stop for tacos on your way back from Buninyong at one of Ballarat’s newest eateries, Dr Fill.
When you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Ballarat, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice in Armstrong Street North. Delight in the flavours of South America at Pancho, pick up a pizza loaded with local produce from The Forge or sit down for a craft beer and nibbles at Hop Temple.
Just around the corner, you’ll also find Moon and Mountain serving up some of the city’s best cocktails as you delight in their modern Asian banquet.
With social distancing the new normal for us all, don’t forget to phone ahead and book your table. Image
Places to stay
Get out of lockdown with the one you love and enjoy a night or two at Ballarat’s award-winning boutique hotel, The Provincial Hotel. Situated in Ballarat’s historic Lydiard Street, you’re just a stone’s throw away from the very best Ballarat has to offer.
Take a step back in time and stay in a fully-restored 19th century terrace, Earle Ballarat. This self-contained boutique accommodation is perfect for those looking for a peaceful time away with all of the luxuries (and where your fur friends are always welcome).
If you’re looking for a little more open space, check out the BIG 4 Windmill Holiday Park. Choose to camp amongst the beautiful bush setting or unwind in one of their spacious cabins.
With an on-site restaurant and day spa, your stay at the Mercure Ballarat is sure to be a relaxing one.
Take a scenic drive and explore the region’s picturesque villages
The Ballarat region is steeped in history and culture so, while you’re here, it’s worth adding a few short trips to your itinerary.
Buninyong Pop into The Shared Table in Buninyong and delight in the flavours of the Victorian Central Highlands, wander the town’s picturesque streets and take home a new hand-decorated pot from Three Times Blest.
For those looking to stretch their legs, the views at the top of Mount Buninyong are well worth the short climb.
Creswick Enjoy the unique pond-to-plate experience at Smeaton’s Tuki Trout Farm, pick up local produce at the Creswick Market or take home a handmade throw from the Creswick Woollen Mills.
Your visit doesn’t have to stop there, there’s more to discover just beyond Ballarat.
The City of Ballarat acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land we live and work on, the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung People, and recognises their continuing connection to the land and waterways. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend this to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.