Spring in Ballarat is all about those precious rays of sunshine, blooming fields of colour and fresh produce.
So, grab your sunhat and explore the great outdoors, wander the region’s farmer’s markers, or pack a picnic basket full of delicious local treats and reunite with friends and family in the beautiful surrounds of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.
For those looking to tempt their tastebuds long into the evening, now’s the time to get your friends together for a night of delicious dining inspired by the region’s freshest spring produce.
Here are some of our favourite things to do in Ballarat during spring.
Get closer to the source by visiting a local farmers market. The Ballarat Farmers’ Market takes place on the shores of Lake Wendouree on the second and fourth Saturday of every month, while the Bridge Mall Farmers and Makers’ Market takes place on the first Saturday of each month.
With more than 550 market stalls serving up delicious food and handcrafted pieces from local makes, every November the Springfest Market attracts thousands of visitors.
You can also meet local beekeepers and take home a jar of Ballaarat Wild Bush Honey from the The Honey Locker Urban Farmgate, or venture a little further out to Enbom Honeys for their natural bees wax products.
You’ll find it hard to squeeze Ballarat into a day, so stay a while and make a meal of regional produce and seasonal menus.
Sit down for a plate piled high with fresh flavours straight from the source. You’ll find Istra chorizo and Meredith Dairy Goat Cheese at Webster’s Market and Café, and at Underbar, the chef’s tasting menu is entirely inspired by the season and surrounds. Meanwhile, at Lola the eggs benedict features 1816 Bakehouse sourdough and Country Style Smallgoods ham and pairs perfectly with a freshly squeeze orange juice from Wilson’s Fruit and Vegetables.
Pack a picnic and catch up with friends and family by Lake Wendouree. It’s cygnet season, so have the camera close by because these fluffy baby swans are too cute to ignore.
If you’d prefer someone else organise the picnic, then why not sign up for a mystery picnic with AmazingCo. The journey will take you to local artisan producers where you’ll collect delicious picnic ingredients before ending at a stunning picnic spot somewhere in Ballarat.
Or take a short drive and snap a photo of cascading water at Lal Lal Falls. A popular picnic spot for locals over the last 130 years, the 34-metre gorge is also one of Victoria’s most significant cultural sites. Situated on the traditional Wadawurrung/Wathaurung country, Lal Lal Falls is believed to be the earthly home of Bunjil (the All Father or creator to most Victorian Aboriginal tribes) and its name is thought to be Aboriginal for “dashing of waters”.
Wander the city’s laneways and discover colourful street art, or time your visit for the bi-annual photography festival – Ballarat International Foto Biennale – and check out their outdoor program.
Check out the beautiful cherry blossoms in Sturt Street, or wander further afield and discover roadside canola fields of yellow.
The Ballarat Botanical Gardens also comes alive with colour every spring, and at Lake Wendouree the picnic areas are carpeted by wildflowers.
Taste organic drops at Captains Creek Organic Wines, while flavours of the nearby wine region are on display at Mitchell Harris Wine Bar.
You can also fill your own bottle at Michael Unwin Wines, or take a tour of a working winery at Eastern Peake and join one of their local winemakers for a tasting in the barrel room.
Check into the historic The Provincial where beautiful floral-inspired bedheads take centre stage in every room, cosy-up in a renovated miner’s cottage or opt for something a little more quirky – how does a vintage Gypsy van, old train carriage or tiny off-the-grid cabin sound?