While it might feel tempting to stay indoors and lay low during the winter months, there's only so many nights in one can have without beginning to get a little stir crazy. And that’s where we come in.
So, to help you live your best winter life, we’ve partnered with Visit Ballarat to serve up some of the best things to eat, see and do this season. From new cocktail bars, to baby golden wombats and intimate truffle experiences — there’s plenty of new and exciting things happening in Ballarat. Here’s what you need to add to your winter bucket list.
Spend A Weekend At Battista
There’s new accommodation on offer in Ballarat and we can safely say it will be like nowhere you’ve ever stayed before. Battista is a fully restored church that has recently been transformed into a one-bedroom apartment and is flanked by the grand windows and heritage-protected walls. The apartment is flooded with natural light with huge windows and vaulted ceilings. Make sure to set aside some pampering time to take full advantage of the luxurious walk-in shower and free-standing bath.
Boogie And Booze At Renard
Renard is Ballarat’s newest cocktail bar and social club that serves up delicious bevvies alongside small dishes amidst a pumping disco atmosphere until late. Labelling themselves as a bistro-esque discotheque, you just know this place is going to have a huge vibe. Snack on delights like Meredith’s goat’s cheese doughnuts and truffled honey, oysters with green mignonette and fried Jerusalem artichoke with miso cream, sip on cocktails and boogie down.
Sink A Brew At Bankhouse Brewery
Located a short 20-minute drive from Ballarat on the side of the main thoroughfare through Dean, Bankhouse might just be Australia’s smallest brewery. This microbrewery specialises in craft session ale and ginger beer all made with local ingredients handcrafted in what was once the old Dean bank house. Definitely worth a visit for a cold, crisp afternoon beer.
Brunch At Clothesline Cafe
If you’re wondering what could have inspired the name of Ballarat’s newest café? It is quite literally because of the iconic, old school Hills Hoist in the outdoor section of the cafe. Sitting pretty in a beautifully renovated heritage home, the team behind Clothesline Cafe have perfectly married excellent hospitality with a bang-on renovation. We love the ham hock with romesco, poached egg, native dukkah, coriander, sourdough and charred onion. Simply delicious.
Meet Honey Bun, The Golden Wombat
The newest addition to the Ballarat Wildlife Park’s wombat colony is an extremely rare golden joey. Adorably named “Honey Bun”, she is the result of a rare gene in southern hairy-nosed wombats. Born at Ballarat Wildlife Park to mum Nulai and dad Willy, Honey Bun is earning lots of attention, and rightly so — so make sure to witness her adorable beauty for yourself.
TREAT YOURSELF TO SOME LUSH NEW GREENERY
If like us, you have an unhealthy obsession with plants, then you'll need to make sure to plan a visit to The Green House. Housed in a historic warehouse in Ballarat, this place is stocked floor to ceiling with quality indoor plants, pots and homewares. They also offer workshops hosted by talented Ballarat locals including Kokedama making, ceramics, macrame, terrariums and indoor plan care workshops.
Epic Events & Festivals
A Taste Of Truffles
Perhaps one of the best parts about winter is the fact that it’s truffle season. If you’re truffle-obsessed just as much as we are, you can find out more about this earthy delicacy on a ‘Truffle Hunt and Tasting’ experience at Black Cat Truffles. On this two-hour truffle hunt you’ll learn about the fascinating science, art and magic of truffle farming, hunt in their truffiere with their canine friends to find and harvest truffles and then return for a glass of bubbles or local wine and a selection of truffle-infused small tasting dishes (all loaded with shavings of truffles). Tickets are $140 per person and can be secured here.
Fire And Stars With Peter Ford
Celebrate the prelude to the Winter Solstice with an evening of delicious food cooked over an open fire and served under the stars at the historic Ballarat Observatory. Fire And Stars will be filled with mulled wine, forest walks, bouillabaisse served from a cauldron, eel and Western Plains porchetta off the grill, and a chance to see the moon through a century-old telescope at the Ballarat Observatory. End the night with sweet dumplings from the fire and stories by award-winning writer Richard Cornish. Click here to register for the waitlist.
Sovereign Hill’s iconic Winter Wonderlights festival is returning from 25 June and it’s set to be bigger and better than ever before. As the sun sets, Sovereign Hill will transform into a winter wonderland with dazzling projections lighting up the buildings on Main Street and snow falling overhead. Make sure to snap a pic in the gardens illuminated by kilometres of fairy lights or, take a seat by the fire and enjoy soul-warming food on The Diggings.
Ballarat Winter Festival
Winter in Ballarat just keeps getting better with the Ballarat Winter Festival set to kick off from 26 June until 18 July. Rug up and hype up for an ice skating rink and epic performances from Knights of Fire at Kryal Castle, where you can witness a fiery clash of flaming lances. There will also be a design exchange market filled to the brim with independent designers, artists and creators as well as the Red Series which puts Western Victoria’s finest wines on show from one very convenient (and warm) location in the heart of Ballarat. Whatever you fancy, you’re sure to be entertained.
Ballarat International Foto Biennale
From 28 August until 24 October the world's leading photographers and photo media artists will be on show at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, headlined by world-class photographic genius—Linda McCartney—whose work will be exclusively based at the gallery itself. The Retrospective exhibition will line the walls of the gallery including images of the McCartney family, the 1960s music scene, and a series of prints from the McCartney’s time in Australia between 1975 and 1993 that have never been shown before. Known for her portraits of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, among many others, she was the first female photographer whose work was featured as the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1968, with a portrait of Eric Clapton. Secure your tickets to this incredible exhibition, here.
Image Credit: Linda McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, London 1967
We told you there’s plenty of new and exciting things happening in Ballarat — so don’t miss out on your chance to experience the best of Ballarat in winter. To discover more about Ballarat or to start planning your getaway, click here.
Please make sure to adhere to current Victoria COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Visit Ballarat and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.