Embrace the cold and head outside this winter for a welcome dose of fresh air, exercise and beautiful scenery.
The Ballarat region is home to a bounty of picturesque lakes, mountains, parks and waterfalls just waiting to be explored.
Mount Buninyong (pictured top) is an extinct volcano and a true landmark of the Ballarat region. If snow is forecast on a cold winter’s day, Mount Buninyong is the ideal place to enjoy the spectacle.
“The fire tower is a very short walk from the carpark and is very easy to do with children. The tower provides amazing views from the top! We also did the crater walk, which was lovely. Again, this walk is easy and quite fine for children.”
– Carrie C (Tripadvisor)
Another inactive volcano, Mount Warrenheip (pictured above) is situated 10 kilometres outside of Ballarat in Dunnstown. At the base of the mountain you’ll find medieval tourist attraction Kryal Castle.
“Views are limited from the top of the mountain due to the trees surrounding the parking area, however there are several roadside parking spots on the way up which offer gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside.”
– Goldfields Guide: Exploring the Victorian Goldfields
Lake Wendouree is undoubtedly the jewel in Ballarat’s crown. Walk, run or cycle the 6km Steve Moneghetti Track whilst making pitstops at the lake’s playgrounds, cafes, the historic Ballarat Botanical Gardens and the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial.
“Lake Wendouree in Ballarat was a lovely place to enjoy a bike ride, stop for lunch at Pipers on the Lake and then stop across at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens for a glimpse of the beautiful begonias!”
– aecleary (Tripadvisor)
Ballarat’s Lake Esmond is named after early gold discoverer and Eureka Stockade leader James Esmond.
“Great place to have a walk with the family. Not as far to go around as Lake Wendouree, so much easier for little legs. Great playground and BBQ area for a nice lunch while you’re out.”
– Vanessa T (Tripadvisor)
Once a mining dam, St George’s Lake at Creswick Regional Park is a short 15-minute drive from Ballarat.
“From the old remains of a pier near the spillway to the ducks and shags on the waters, becoming one with the reflection of the pines and gums surrounding the small lake, it is a pleasant location to visit and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.”
– Martin v (Tripadvisor)
Ballarat’s popular Victoria Park (pictured above) features 130 hectares of parkland, tree-lined avenues, walking trails and sports ovals. The Inclusive Play Space and pump track are the perfect reward after a family walk or cycling expedition.
“The short drive down Cedar Drive through the overhanging cedars is eerie but picturesque. Down Poplar Ave are a couple of lakes with an amazing abundance of birdlife and fishing opportunities. The park is also popular for its off-leash areas.”
– EndlessTravels (Tripadvisor)
Located between the suburbs of Canadian and Mount Clear, Woowookarung Regional Park is Ballarat’s new 641-hectare park. Head there for bushwalking, trail running and cycling, along with the native flora and fauna.
For a slightly longer walk, why not head to Creswick and wander through 100-year-old trees along the La Gerche Forest Walk.
“The lookout provides one of the best views around Ballarat and is a perfect spot to start a walk or ride through the park. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mount Langi Ghiran near Ararat, while at night it’s a fantastic spot for stargazing.”
– Parks Victoria Ranger Team Leader Alex Schipperen (The Courier, 5 August 2019)
Stretch the legs and feed the soul at Lal Lal Falls, situated about 20 minutes from Ballarat. Choose your own adventure with either the quick 200m walk to the viewing platform or the longer walk around the gorge on the Von Guerard View Track.
“Lal Lal Falls has a fascinating history and the sight of the waterfall and gorge really take your breath away.”
– KaLoMc (Tripadvisor)
Trentham Falls boasts the title of being the state’s highest single drop waterfall. It is at its best in winter thanks to seasonal rainfall.
“This waterfall is very photogenic. It falls into a pool inside a rock gorge. The path leads to a viewing point which gives a great view of the falls and the pool.”
– Sussexpete (Tripadvisor)
The 53km Ballarat – Skipton Rail Trail follows the line of the former Ballarat to Skipton railway line, which operated between 1883 and 1985. Watch out for sights and structures from Victoria’s gold mining and rail histories, along with breathtaking farmlands and bushlands.
“The scenery started almost as soon as the trail began and once the Old Western Highway was crossed, we were along the well-formed track out in the bush of green rolling hills and interpretive signage explaining the track diagrams, the population of the settlements encountered, the goods and passengers carried etc.”
– Themikanic (Tripadvisor)