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Ballarat Winter Festival

All images © Tony Evans Photography

A three-day Ballarat family itinerary

Ballarat, Victoria

If you’re looking for a jam-packed three-day getaway for the whole family this winter, look no further. Featuring art, culture, activity, coffee and delicious food, Ballarat will come to life this July as part of the Ballarat Winter Festival. Located only 90-minutes west of Melbourne, the city is known for its award-winning attractions, family-friendly dining options, and beautiful history. Here’s how we think you should spend your winter getaway.

DAY ONE

Immersed in art

Head on into the Art Gallery of Ballarat – Australia’s oldest regional art gallery. Located in one of the city’s most iconic thoroughfares Lydiard Street, the gallery will provide you with a decent dose of history. Take your time as you walk through the permanent collection of historic fine art as well as the indigenous and contemporary art. Many of the works are accompanied by questions for the children so they too can immerse themselves in the stunning art. The gallery will host exclusive works from the Musee de la Chartreuse in northern France during winter as part of its Into Light exhibition, so make sure to check it out.

Café brilliance

Take up a table at the Hydrant Café and have the children squeal in delight at the sight of their rainbow pancakes and babycinos. This food hall also boasts a play nook, complete with cubby house, blackboard and nifty toys, so you can dine in peace while the little ones play. Serving up Seven Seeds coffee, it’s your one-stop-coffee-shop.

Ballarat Winter Festival

Stay in luxury

It’s safe to say that Ballarat is one of the only places in Australia where accommodation options range from a caravan to a castle! Whatever your budget, you’re sure to find somewhere that exudes comfort and style. Lake Wendouree Luxury Apartments is a great option for families. With one- and two- bedroom self-contained apartments located in the heart of Ballarat, these units provide an ideal home base.

A night under the stars

Discover the rich history of the Ballarat Municipal Observatory and Museum before experiencing the universe for yourself. The observatory buildings and telescopes are classified by the National Trust and have been added to the Historic Buildings Register. Take a look at the historic Baker Great Equatorial Telescope, view the evening skies, planets and stars, and explore all-things space with 3D movies.

Ballarat Winter Festival

DAY TWO

Take to real ice

The pop-up ice-skating rink will provide the whole clan with an adventure. Slide on your skates and take to real ice, as you glide or stagger your way around the rink.

Explore the magic of the 1800s

Drive to the award-winning tourist attraction Sovereign Hill where you’ll spend most of your day. Australia’s number one outdoor museum, the tourist attraction provides you with a detailed glimpse into 19th century life. Try your luck gold-panning, stroll down the Main Street, take a mine tour, watch live performances or indulge in a bag of iconic Raspberry Drops. When night falls, immerse the family in the magical Winter Wonderlights display as the Victorian buildings light up in spectacular style with grand projections. Relish in the smell of Christmas spices, delight in the faux snow and be mesmerised by the sound, light and music.

Dining for all

Get comfortable at one of Ballarat’s family-friendly restaurants for a generous dinner. The CBD is filled with perfect dining options, but for a local fave, find your place at The Forge Pizzeria and have the kids unleash their creative side before being served up the finest wood-fired pizzas you’ve ever tasted.

Ballarat Winter Festival

DAY THREE

Admire Australia’s fauna

Take a drive to the Ballarat Wildlife Park and get up-close-and-personal with some cuddly koalas, cute kangaroos and (not-so-cute) reptiles. The outdoor sanctuary also houses darling little penguins, meerkats, Alpine Dingoes and the five-metre-long crocodile Crunch, an attraction in his own right.

Picnic by the lakeside

Finish off your Ballarat getaway with a picnic at Lake Wendouree, just make sure to rug up! Watch the swans glide by the glistening waters as you experience a relaxing afternoon. Across the road, you’ll find Ballarat’s iconic Botanical Gardens, which will round off the holiday just perfectly.

Ballarat Winter Festival

This post was produced in partnership with Visit Ballarat. For more winter holiday inspiration, head to ballaratwinterfestival.com.au.

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