Don’t let the rumours of Ballarat’s weather stop you from planning the perfect outdoor escape. It doesn’t matter the weather, there’s boundless fun to be had in the great outdoors.
Check out Ballarat’s cool wall murals
History is everywhere in Ballarat – often serving for the perfect backdrop. Just like the old Ballarat Bitter mural in Lyon Street South.
There’s also so much modern street art to uncover around Ballarat like the Cax One beauty which is located on the side of the city’s only niche perfumery in Armstrong Street.
On the side of Webster’s Market and Café you’ll also find a very cool Travis Price mural. It’s one of four murals created by this Ballarat artist around the city, you’ll find his others down Hop Lane, at the end of the Main Road and in McKenzie Street.
Lake Wendouree and Ballarat Botanical Gardens
When it comes to the perfect picnic spot, it doesn’t get much better than Lake Wendouree. Watch the swans as you devour handmade croissants and pies from 1816 Bakehouse, or find some shade under the 100-year-old trees at the Botanical Gardens and enjoy delicious treats from Ballarat sweet icon Vegas and Rose.
Take a leisurely stroll along the lake’s 6km track while taking in the stunning views. There’s one thing we love about Lake Wendouree, and that is that no matter the time of year, you’re guaranteed an Insta-worthy shot. Go at your own pace, you’ll find plenty of places to take a break along the way. Or opt to take in the views from the inside of a vintage tram.
Hire a bike and explore the city
Whether you prefer getting off-road and taking in the scenery, or you’re after a challenge and in for the long haul, there’s a smorgasbord of cycling trails awaiting your discovery in the Ballarat region.
Hire a bike (or the electric version) for the day and discover Ballarat at your own pace.
Visit one of our outdoor attractions
One of Australia’s favourite outdoor museum, Sovereign Hill recreates Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold in 1851, when thousands of international adventurers rushed to the Australian goldfields in search of fortune.
It’s just like stepping back in time — from the excitement of the diggings where you can pan for real gold or travel through an underground mine, to the hustle and bustle of Main Street where you can catch a coach ride, shop for sweet boiled lollies and make your own candles.
Return at night to watch the chaos of the Eureka Rebellion at Sovereign Hill’s spectacular light show, Aura.
Get up close and feed the free-roaming kangaroos and admire koalas, wombats, little penguins and other Australian native animals at the Ballarat Wildlife Park.
Around the park you will also see cheeky meerkats, dingoes and emus, as well as the park’s most popular inhabitants, Crunch the five- metre crocodile and Satu, the Sumatran tiger.
Soak up the fresh air during a short hike
Surrounded by extinct volcanos, old forests and picturesque views that seem to extend for days, you’ll definitely find a hike to get your heart pumping, including Mount Buninyong, Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail, Goldfields Track, La Gerche Forest Walk or Mount Cole in the Pyrenees.
ADD IT TO THE CALENDAR: Every March, the Britt family open the gates to their Dunnstown farm for their annual Pick Your Own Sunflower weekends
Pond and paddock to plate experiences
A traditional grazing property, Tuki Trout Farm pursues organic and sustainable principles in rearing its rainbow trout and pasture-fed beef and lamb.
Indulge in a pond to plate experience by hooking yourself a rainbow trout from the farm’s fully stocked pond.
You can then have it cooked fresh in the restaurant, or cleaned and packaged ready to take home.
Come winter and truffles are hot property. The Ballarat region is perfectly suited for growing truffles thanks to its cold, frosty winters and warm summers – all requirements to kick off the fruiting bodies and maturation process in the truffle.
Book online for Black Cat Truffles, which is situated just 20 minutes outside of Ballarat in Wattle Flat.
You can also join truffle-dog Sally at Oakhill Truffles for a private tour of the Gordon truffleier. Nestled on the grounds of the original Gordon Presbytery and Convent, these local truffles have been compared with the very best that France can produce.
Join a ghost tour by night
Discover the mystery and stories of the gold rush era with Eerie Tours’ Ballarat Ghost Tour. This tour travels through underground buildings, back alleyways and through the remains of the old Ballarat Gaol, the site of the highest number of executions in regional Victoria.
Talk to local producers at the Lake Wendouree, Brown Hill or Bridge Mall Farmers’ Markets
Source local and seasonal ingredients and gourmet wonders at some of the region’s most popular farmers’ markets. Stock up on regional produce and pantry items, source a bottle of award-winning vino, and indulge in some homemade delights.
Check out the region’s best cellar doors
Take a short 20-minute scenic drive out to Coghill’s Creek and you’ll discover Eastern Peake Winery. Visit the cellar to enjoy top drops, including some of the best Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah in the state. You’ll instantly understand why Owen Latta has been awarded Australia’s Young Winemaker of the Year.
Situated just off Ballarat’s beautiful Avenue of Honour, the Michael Unwin Wines cellar door has become a popular weekend destination for local wine lovers. Processed and bottled onsite, you’ll likely find yourself right in the middle of the wine making process when you arrive.
Ballarat’s Historic Streetscapes Walking Tour
Discover the grand architectural links to Ballarat’s dramatic past with this self-guided walking tour. Access the tour online or pick up a hard copy from the Ballarat Information Centre at the Town Hall.