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25 WAYS TO ENJOY WONDERFUL WINTER IN BALLARAT

Festivals
The always popular Ballarat Winter Festival pop-up ice rink.

5 THINGS TO DO AT THE BALLARAT WINTER FESTIVAL

Rug up and embrace the cold as the beloved Ballarat Winter Festival returns. There’s plenty of winter-themed events, activities, and entertainment to warm you heart, soul, and belly.

  1. Get your skates on in the heart of the city at the pop-up ice rink. Featuring child-friendly, sensory, and the always popular disco-themed sessions. Book your tickets now.
    24 June – 16 July
  2. The iconic Christmas in July spectacle Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill is back with a shimmering light show, falling snow, mulled wine, delicious gingerbread treats, pantomimes, and theatre shows, arts and crafts and more.
    24 June – 16 July
  3. Feats of magic and wonder await at Kryal Castle’s Knights of Fire, along with spectacular jousts, flaming swords, magical potions, sword fighting and axe throwing lessons, live performances plus so much more.
    24 June – 9 July
  4. Support small businesses at The Design Exchange Market. Wander and shop the curated selection of amazing independent designers, artists and creators and discover artisan food and producers to the sounds of talented musicians.
    1 & 2 July
  5. Celebrate winter and embrace the moody darkness at Beyond Dark. Warm up by the open fire and shake off the cold on the dancefloor to this eruption of art, music, and performance.
    1 July
Hunting for black gold at Black Cat Truffles.

5 WAYS TO FILL YOUR BELLY

Get comfortable with these winter warmers – thing gooey melted cheese, piping hot soups and perfect pies, warming red wine and spirited cocktails.

  1. Heat up your mid-week with Winter Wednesdays at Mr Jones. For $45 per person, you’ll get a warming soup or broth, a flavour packed stir fry and a comforting curry.
  2. Hunt for a different kind of gold at Black Cat Truffles by Liam Downes then enjoy a six-course menu by the award-winning chef. You’ll also get tips on how to get the best of your truffles.
  3. Soon you’ll be able to head inside a 19th-century grain house and discover Ballarat’s new speakeasy bar, Grainery Lane. Here you’ll find great tapas, an original saloon bar (the only one of its kind in Australia), and a drinks menu that offers traditional cocktails as well as handcrafted gin distilled on-site.
  4. What’s better in winter than indulging in flaky, buttery pastry filled with piping hot goodness? How about 20 different varieties… Take the challenge this August and taste some of the region’s most delicious pies in Ballarat’s Best Pie Competition. Keep an eye out for some unique flavours you won’t want to miss.
  5. Bring a taste of The Shared Table home with Burger Fridays. Choose your burger, order online, collect and enjoy! Each tasty burger comes with a potato cake, onion rings and house slaw. Consider your Friday night dinner sorted.
In the Company of Morris at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

5 WAYS TO GET YOUR CREATIVITY FIX

Explore galleries, see celebrities like you’ve never have before, be immersed in the city’s emerging music scene and so much more.

  1. Australia’s oldest regional gallery, the Art Gallery of Ballarat, delivers in spades this winter. Highlights include the international exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings & Watercolours plus its companion In the Company of Morris and Archibald prize winner Del Kathryn Barton’s Inside Another Land and short film Red.
  2. The 10th edition of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale packs a punch with globally-acclaimed portrait photographer Platon headlining with is show People Power – Platon. Think the likes of Gaddafi, Vivienne Westwood, Yoko Ono, Prince, Michelle Obama, Adele, Cate Blanchette, Kevin Rudd, and Pussy Riot.
    26 August – 22 October
  3. Get hands-on during a one-of-a-kind workshop. Learn to make gnocchi the traditional way at Carboni’s Italian Kitchen, create a dilly bag with Wadawurrung fibre artist Tammy Gilson at the Centre for Rare Arts and Forgotten Trades, or sign up to make your own piece of jewellery with Claire McArdle.
  4. Be Hear Now Festival is again celebrating music, arts, and place by presenting a huge program of Ballarat artists and performers in unique curated collaborations, different venues, and unused spaces.
    30 June – 2 July
  5. Take a peek at Perridak Arts, the city’s newest gallery dedicated to showcasing the works of local First Nations artists. Perridak means ‘platypus’ in Wadawurrung language and the gallery is an initiative of the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative.
Warming up at Johnny Alloo.

5 COZY FIREPLACES TO WARM UP BESIDE

After your winter adventures, find a spot beside one of many roaring fireplaces around town and indulge in Ballarat’s world-class eat and drink scene.

  1. Head inside the historic warehouse now home to Hydrant Food Hall and discover a cosy wood fire taking centre stage and a seasonal menu just as impressive.
  2. The award-winning Mitchell Harris Wine Bar turned 10 this year and is still a firm favourite among locals and visitors alike. Think delicious local wine in one hand, warming snacks in the other and the crackling fire right in front of you.
  3. Head just out of town and you can sip on a glass of red while you take in the aroma of maturing wines at the Michael Unwin Wines cellar door, all while you soak up the views of the surrounding vineyard.
  4. Named after Australia’s first Chinese restauranteur, all-day eatery Johnny Alloo serves delicious specialty coffee, thoughtfully-selected wines and hearty yet refined eats. Our pick? The eggs benedict featuring local Salt Kitchen jamon.
  5. Pop by brewpub Aunty Jacks for a casual pot and some warming comfort food by the fire. While you’re there, sign up for Beer School. An hour of tasting and learning is a mighty fine way to enjoy an afternoon.
Take the self-guided Road to Red trail through the Pyrenees.

5 WAYS TO EXPOLRE BEYOND BALLARAT

Venture a little further afield and experience the quirky and quaint villages that surround our city.

  1. The historic Buninyong Town Hall plays host to the seasonal Buninyong Village Market. Wander the village, stopping at local stores and cafes before exploring more than 50 stalls selling handcrafted items, plants, and food.
    22 July
  2. If you are a certified red wine lover, take the Road to Red which is a self-guided trial through the Pyrenees, taking in well-known cellar doors including Blue Pyrenees, Taltarni Vineyards, Summerfield Winery, Wayward Winery and Sally’s Paddock, just to name a few.
  3. Take the short drive to Smeaton where you’ll find Tuki Trout Farm and Retreat. Head to the ponds and try your luck at catching a trout which the team will prepare and cook for you. Or, experience a slice of textile history at the Creswick Woollen Mills.
  4. For wine and cheese platters, you can’t go past St Anne’s Winery in Myrniong. If beer is more your thing, then you’ll love The Local Taproom in Bacchus Marsh. Get closer to nature and stay right under the stars at The Garden of St Erth.
  5. Golden Plains is renowned for its iconic festivals and open spaces. Once here, you can’t beat a ride along the 53km-long Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail on which you’ll pass paddocks and eucalypt forests, native grasslands and bush alive with birds and wildflowers.

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23 Jun 2023

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Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.

These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.

We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.

As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.

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