48 hours in Ballarat

Victoria's mist-shrouded Ballarat is using the winter chill as its time to shine. 48 hours in Ballarat
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48 Hours in Ballarat

Victoria's mist-shrouded Ballarat is using the winter chill as its time to shine. 


If you’re visiting Melbourne this winter, make a weekend trip to Ballarat to explore the heart of Victoria’s goldfields, meet Patrick – the world’s oldest known common wombat, and drink locally made red wine by the fire.

DAY ONE 

One of Ballarat’s most defining aspects is its association with gold. The heart of Australia’s goldfields, the city was a bustling and thriving heart of activity in the 19th century and has maintained its historic appeal ever since.  

Morning

Take a wander on one of several heritage walking tours where you can admire the iconic Ballarat buildings and monuments from the 19th century and learn all about the city’s rich goldfields history. If guided tours aren’t your thing, simply download the Ballarat Revealed App and go on a self-guided tour of the city using your smart phone. The geo location based historical storytelling app uses historical images and videos to provide you with an experience of the cityscape as it was in past centuries. Ballarat Revealed also features a Ghost Signs tour where you can look up to Ballarat’s faded advertising history, discovering the people, places and industries that made Ballarat what it is today. 

Head on to 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. After your gallery visit, pop into the adjoining Kittelty’s café and grab yourself some morning tea. The café menu sources local ingredients and the coffee is locally-made. 

Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, Victoria

Afternoon

Visit Australia’s number one outdoor museum Sovereign Hill. This living museum will give you a glimpse into 19th century life living through costumed characters and over 40 horses. Set on 25 acres of an original mining site, Sovereign Hill allows you to pan for gold, explore the underground mines and stroll down Main Street to watch everything from horseshoes to boiled lollies being hand made.

Continue your historic journey at one of the city’s historic eateries where you can dine in heritage while enjoying some gourmet, locally-sourced and produced fare. Restaurants such as Craig’s Royal HotelSuttons House of Music and The George Hotel or cafes and bars including Mitchell Harris Wines and The Unicorn are housed in historic locales with fascinating stories to tell.

Ballarat Wildlife Park, Ballarat, Victoria

DAY TWO

Morning

Spend the morning getting to know the local animals at Ballarat Wildlife Park. The sanctuary is home to Australia’s oldest-known common wombat Patrick, as well as free-roaming kangaroos. Visitors can get up close and personal with  koalas, meet the beautiful Alpine dingoes, roast marshmallows in the fire pits, join the staff for a damper cooking session and warm up by the fire in the Bushman’s Hut. There are daily tours that operate in the park.

Mitchell Harris winery, Ballarat, Victoria

Afternoon

Get comfortable at Mitchell Harris Wines because you’ll be here for the next couple of hours. Cosy up by the fire and order yourself a locally-produced gourmet dinner accompanied by a glass of red. If you want to extend your winery experience, the vineyards around Ballarat are famous for subtly-fragrant pinot noir, chardonnay and elegant sparkling wines because of the low temperatures. Golden Nugget run winery tours of the Pyrenees wineries that leave from Ballarat and include Ballarat's Mitchell Harris Wine Bar. On the tour you'll get to try the boutique wines of the French Bordeaux variety that this region is famous for, like fragrant Shiraz and complex Cabernet Sauvignon. 

We recommend planning your Ballarat trip to coincide with a show at Her Majesty’s Theatre. The historic theatre is located in one of the city’s most iconic thoroughfares and stages a range of local and national performances. If theatre isn’t your cup of tea, hit up one of several live music venues which will play host to some stellar performers during Winterlude.

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