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A Guide to Ballarat’s Autumn Delights

From goldmine escapades to blooming begonias, discover your next family escape only 90 minutes from Melbourne

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Hey there! I am Debashree, a digital content creator. I go by travel in style with debs on Instagram. Are you planning your next holiday? I may be able to help you.

I believe in making the most out of the long weekends and school holidays, to plan getaways and spend quality time with my family. Living in a fast-paced city like Melbourne and hustling with the responsibility of being a mother to a 9-year-old girl, I am always looking for great escapes close to home.

One of our favourite destinations in Victoria is the gold rush-era city of Ballarat. It is always a top choice for my family, as we love to connect to the city’s rich culture, art, and nature. Ballarat is fun place for kids, so it is a great way to get my daughter to disconnect from her iPad. From exploring the past at Sovereign Hill to relaxing with your loved ones at the picturesque Lake Wendouree, this vibrant city has something for everyone.

If you are thinking about your next weekend away, let me share some highlights of this charming city with you.

THE BALLARAT BEGONIA FESTIVAL (11-13 MARCH 2023)

This festival is a must. Colourful installations, floral displays of rare begonias, live markets, and family activities. A floral extravaganza indeed. All the family activities run at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens from 10am to 5pm, during the festival days. This year’s festival includes Bloom! performed by SWAY. It’s a colourful aerial spectacle performed atop bespoke 15-foot sway poles. After the festival, the begonia displays will be continuing in Robert Clark Conservatory at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens until late April.

Ballarat Begonia festival
Source: Supplied

PICK YOUR OWN SUNFLOWERS IN DUNNSTOWN

If you can’t get enough of the floral bliss, why not club your begonia experience with a family adventure in the sunflower fields? The flowers are expected to bloom in March at the Britt family farm in the village of Dunnstown, 15 minutes’ drive from Ballarat. With dates to be announced soon, make sure you book ahead for this popular experience.

SOVEREIGN HILL

Ballarat’s goldfields have been attracting visitors and those seeking their fortune since 1851. Head down into the underground mines and discover what life looked like during the gold rush. Special events and school holiday programs are held throughout the year, as well as AURA, an immersive sound and light experience on Saturday evenings.

BALLARAT WILDLIFE PARK

Get up close and personal with exotic and native animals, hand feed kangaroos and get a glimpse of Kai the Sumatran/Siberian tiger (the tallest tiger in Australia).

LAKE WENDOUREE

One of the highlights of our last trip to Ballarat was the 10km family-friendly bike trail which loops around Lake Wendouree and Victoria Park. This is one of my favourite trails, with lakeside cafes, colourful boat sheds and gardens to explore along the way.

Plan your next adventure in Ballarat

Located just an hour and a half by road from Melbourne CBD (and about the same by V/Line train), Ballarat is a one-stop destination for many adventures. Whether you’re looking for an easy day trip or a longer getaway, there’s plenty of picture-perfect spots to discover.

Source: Supplied

Head to the Visit Ballarat website to create your own itinerary and to explore the calendar of upcoming events.

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