This year there is a huge push in Australia to #holidayherethisyear. Tourism Australia are urging all us Australians to try and spend our holidays this year, in our tourist towns that have been greatly affected not only by the bushfires, but also due to the decreased numbers in tourists arriving.
One of the great ways to support local towns is to head off and see our own backyard on the weekend to a town with an empty fridge in the Caravan, an empty cupboard and buy from the locals in the area.
We decided to have a look at some of the great places we could hitch up our caravan and head to within a couple of hours of Ballarat.
What we found was that within an easy two – three hour drive from Ballarat, you can find a huge variety of things to do. From Bike riding, wineries, day spas, hiking, beaches.
No matter what the weather there is a weekend escape to suit you and your caravan.
Located 150kms west of Ballarat is the spectacular Grampians National Park. Grampians is renowned for its amazing hiking, as well as a great place to see native Australian animals.
The town of Halls Gap is a very popular tourist spot for Caravanners
Lorne / Apollo Bay (Great Ocean Road)
140 kms south of Ballarat is the beautiful seaside towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay located on the iconic Great Ocean Road
Whether you are after a relaxing holiday, want to see amazing waterfalls, or just want to laze at the beach. Lorne has it all.
A popular camping / caravanning spot is the Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park, where you can relax and unwind on the foreshore.
Our favourite thing to do whilst at Lorne is to drive to the local waterfalls, Sheoak Falls and head up amongst the beautiful fernery to take it all in.
If you are after a relaxing weekend then Daylesford should be high on the list. Popular due to it having Australia’s largest concentration of natural mineral springs, it is the perfect place to unwind and relax. Located only 45kms from Ballarat. It’s the perfect place to go with your van and enjoy a weekend break.
Leave the Caravan behind, and take the fifteen minute drive to the Chocolate Mill located in Mount Franklin.
Book in for a massage, or spa at Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa.
Dine in one of the amazing world class restaurants.
180 kms and just over 2 hours away from Ballarat is the gorgeous Lake Nagambie, this artificial lake created back in 1891 is a very popular spot for boating enthusiasts.
Nagambie is also getting a real reputation within the wine industry, it gives its name to the Nagambie Lakes wine region, with its two most notable wines, Mitchelton and Tahbilk.
Mitchelton winery is also a very popular spots for weddings, and engagements. With an amazing view from Mitchelton’s observation tower.
Take a wander through town and see the statue of Black Cavier, born in Nagambie, she remained undefeated her whole career.
Also located along the Great ocean road, about 170km from Ballarat is Warrnambool.
Warrnambool is the perfect place between June and October to do a spot of Whale watching, especially on Logan’s Beach.
Warrnambool also has hot springs, sheltered beaches, scenic lighthouses that are still in use today.
History buffs will love learning all about Maritime history, at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime museum.
One of our favourite weekend locations is also located on the Great Ocean Road, Port Fairy is about 200 kms away from Ballarat, 28 km west of Warrnambool.
Port Fairy name has an interesting history. Originally back in the early 19th Century, whalers and seal hunters used the area, and named the area Port Fairy reportably after the sealing ship, The Fairy.
However later in 1835 John Griffiths established a whaling station in the area, and James Atkinson a solicitor from Sydney purchased land in the area and created a Harbour and renamed the area Belfast after his hometown in Ireland.
By the mid to later 19th century Belfast had become one of Australia’s largest ports, and in an Act of Parliment in 1887 renamed the town. Port Fairy. Which it has stayed.
Port Fairy is steeped in History, with over 50 buildings protected by the National Trust of Australia. The town runs a very successful Folk festival every year. It is a popular spot amongst Golfers, as well as Surfers, and bike riders.
Also located along the Great Ocean Road (Are you also sensing a pattern here) is the amazing Yambuk Giant Slide, located on the sand dunes this 33m long slide is a favourite for Adults and Children alike.
Where are some of your favourite places to visit near Ballarat.