It’s called Ballarat’s Wine and Beer Weekend. Even so, straight away you know this is anything but a bar crawl because you’ve just checked in to the Heritage on Lydiard. Think architectural masterpiece, with stylishly modern influences, on an historically significant street that’s close to everything.
What is this? Step outside and look above you. Then follow those red and white umbrellas, complete with festoon lighting, all the way to Hop Temple, for over 220 craft beers and ciders, along with an impressive wine list. The space is actually a converted stable, with loads of character. This included my favourite spot by the wood fire where I wined before dining at Lola in the iconic Provincial Hotel. The restaurant being named after a risqué dancer from the Gold Rush.
Not another smashed avo breakfast and no it wasn’t. Instead I filled up on a lemon and mint spiced Meredith feta, draped with a dukkah, pomegranate and tomato medley, served on sourdough toast with a poached egg. Thank you Fika Coffee Brewers. With all that under my belt I was ready for some serious exploring.
Off the beaten track in Coghills Creek to Eastern Peake, a winery that grows cool climate Pinot Noir. Perch yourself at the bar inside this picturesque Cellar Door. Owned by Owen Latta, awarded as the 2018 Young Winemaker of the Year, who better to guide you through a tasting?
Lunch at Café Sidra was accompanied by a cider tasting. Or was it the other way around? The Art Gallery of Ballarat beckons with a bit of culture. Followed by Saturday night on the town and dinner at Mitchell Harris Wines.
Ballarat’s laneways give Melbourne a run for its money, leading me to Hydrant Food Hall, a heritage warehouse in the CBD. Don’t miss their twist on eggs benny, served with waffles and blackforest hotcakes. The Seven Seeds Coffee also goes down a treat.
Start the last day with a leisurely walk around Lake Wendouree. Come noon you’re at Redduck Bewery for a distillery tour and tasting. Then it’s on to the rustic charm of Forge Pizzeria, recipient of Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2015-2019.
Around about this time you’ll be thinking of when you can return to Ballarat for another day, or two, or three. Hopefully sooner, rather than later.