Becoming a tourist – How to holiday from home

Becoming a tourist

Oh, the places you’ll go.” – Dr Seuss

Dr Suess Oh the places you'll go

 

I love being a tourist, travelling, exploring new places, taking photos, making memories.
When I am on holidays I morph into the paparazzi. Anyone around me takes one look and can tell I am a tourist, my Nikon SLR around my neck, my backpack on my back full of all the things I need to make the most of the experience. I have even been known to bring out the tripod trying to catch that perfect sunset, or sunrise.

Unfortunately, though, life gets in the way and we can’t spend all our time on holidays.

When I am not travelling, though I am preparing for my next trip, and that feeling of wanderlust can make the long winters at home feel even colder, the work days longer and the mundane tasks of life feel like a world away from where I want to be.

Can you relate? Do you live with the constant desire to see more, do more, experience more?

But do you know there is a solution? Become a tourist in your own backyard. Take a Journey!

tourist in ballarat Become a tourist in your own backyard

The definition of a journey is

Noun – an act of travelling from one place to another.

Verb – travel somewhere.

Taking a journey doesn’t mean you have to travel a long distance, you just have to travel from one place to another.

Whether it’s ten minutes from home or ten hours you can still make memories, and experience life, become a tourist in your own backyard. Take a holiday from home.

You don’t realize how beautiful the place you live is until you look at it, with fresh eyes. With eyes that are not busy rushing from here to there. You will learn new things about where you live, and some things might surprise you?

Be being a tourist, I learnt that there was a site only twenty minutes from Ballarat that was preserved from the National Trust, the Lal Lal Blast Furnace.

No more sitting around your house wondering what to do. No more wasting money at the shops buying stuff just because you’re bored. Instead, you will be seeing new things, doing new things and experiencing new things.

We spend a lot of time doing day trips in Victoria, our home state. People travel thousands of 1000kms to see the Great Ocean Road, we only need to travel a couple of hours.

We constantly look at Pinterest, to find the top 10 activities in towns around us. There are so many amazing things you can do locally if you just look. Art Galleries, Museums, Bush walks, Playgrounds, Botanical gardens our favourite chocolate mills.

What do you do when you are in between trips? How do you fulfil the feeling of wanderlust?

 

You don't realise how beautiful the place you live is until you look at it, with fresh eyes. With eyes that are not busy rushing from here to there. You will learn new things about where you live, and some things might surprise you?
The Local Tourist, how to be a tourist from home.
When I am not travelling, though I am preparing for my next trip, and that feeling of wanderlust can make the long winters at home feel even colder, the work days longer and the mundane tasks of life feel like a world away from where I want to be.
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Exploring Port Fairy

Port Fairy – More than just beaches.

Port Fairy a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 km west of Warrnambool.

Port Fairy is a very popular spot for holidaymakers over the Summer period. Only 3 and a half hours from Melbourne located at the end of the Great Ocean Road it is teeming with people all through the holiday period. With a population of about 3500 (before holidaymakers) this quaint seaside town streets, shops, and beaches are full of people ready to relax and enjoy summer. There are plenty of great eateries, from restaurants, pubs to great take away places including Chinese, fish and chips and pizza places. There is hardware stores, supermarkets and chemists, but if there is something else you need Warrnambool is only a short drive away.

An Icecream shop called Poco Artisan Ice cream sees people lining up out the door to taste the homemade gelato.

Port Fairy - More than just beaches

The local Surf Lifesaving club at “Eastern Beach” offers a great patrolled place to swim. It is Patrolled between 10 am – 6 pm Monday to Friday and 10 am – 5 pm on the weekends. It also has a fully licensed restaurant/cafe at the Surf life-saving club called Charlie’s on East that is open for breakfast/lunch and snacks. We spent our days wandering the beautiful clear beaches.

Port Fairy - Eastern Beach

We ended many walks along the beach at Charlie’s getting an icy pole on the way home.

It also has a great Golf Course situated right on the dunes, on Woodbine Road. Where else can you play whilst viewing the spectacular Southern Ocean? Some might say A ‘magical’ experience, befitting the name. The Port Fairy Golf course is an 18 hole natural links golf course that is listed in the top 100 golf courses in Australia.

If you are after bike riding, it is home to the Port Fairy to Koroit to Warrnambool Rail trail. A 37km flat rail trail that ranges from Dirt, gravel and sealed sections.

Port Fairy - Bike ride

 

There is great walking tracks to explore at Griffith Island, home of the Historic lighthouse, and 15 minutes out of town at Towerhill, as well as some great coastal walk, the Mahogany Ship walk, Yambuk Lake walk, Peterborough walking track. So if history and heritage is more your style there are great walks around the Town to showcase the historic features and buildings of the town.

Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve is a great place to see local wildlife. Just be careful the emu’s try to steal your food. Our attempt at eating fish and chips became quite comical when two emus came charging up and began stealing food straight from our table. We quickly had to leave our food and find comfort in our car to eat the remaining untouched chips.

If adventure is more your style then only fifteen minutes away is the 33m slide at Yambuk located on the sand dunes. Yambuk is also a very popular spot for fishing or a BBQ.

Port Fairy is A ‘magical destination’ well worth a visit.

 

 

Port Fairy, If you are after bike riding, it is home to the Port Fairy to Koroit to Warrnambool Rail trail. A 37km flat rail trail that ranges from Dirt, gravel and sealed sections.
Take a slide down the giant 33 metre slide Just out of Port Fairy, at the end of the Great Ocean Road
Take a slide down the giant 33 metre slide Just out of Port Fairy, at the end of the Great Ocean Road
Port Fairy, More than just beaches, a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 kms west of Warrnambool. A very popular spot for holiday makers over the Summer period.
Port Fairy, More than just beaches, a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 kms west of Warrnambool. A very popular spot for holiday makers over the Summer period.
Port Fairy, More than just beaches, a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 kms west of Warrnambool. A very popular spot for holiday makers over the Summer period.
Port Fairy, More than just beaches, a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 kms west of Warrnambool. A very popular spot for holiday makers over the Summer period.
Port Fairy, More than just beaches, a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 kms west of Warrnambool. A very popular spot for holiday makers over the Summer period.

 

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The Beauty of Point Lonsdale

Take a journey to Point Lonsdale

Point Lonsdale, a beautiful coastal town on the Bellarine Peninsula, just over 5 minutes from Queenscliff.

I spent a gorgeous weekend there with some friends, enjoying lunch down at the Dunes Cafe in Ocean Grove (a short drive away), waking up early each morning to take a stroll down to the boardwalk. Sitting outside listening to the waves crash on the shore.

Whilst it has a great relaxed atmosphere, it also has all the important things you need on the small main strip, with a grocery store, cafes, a few cute boutiques, chemist, restaurants even an OP shop whilst still keeping its lovely relaxed feel. A great little playground across from the beach, there are three caravan parks in Point Lonsdale, so whether you are after a powered site, unpowered site, or a caravan park with its own spa.

It is a gorgeous spot to visit, it is the location of one of the Heads (Otherwise known as the Rip), that make up the entrance to Port Phillip Bay.

The heads are the triangular area water between Point Lonsdale, neighbouring Queenscliff and Point Nepean. All shipping heading into Melbourne’s port must make it through the Heads. It is quite a site to be walking along the beach and watch the large Freight boats as they navigate the channel. The same channel that during May through October you can often see gorgeous whales.

Point Lonsdale has a gorgeous walking track that runs from Queenscliff to Point Lonsdale, it is 5.5km of mostly flat terrain. The distance markers run every 500 metres.

The Walk ends up at Point Lonsdale Lighthouse, this lighthouse was built back in 1902, and although the light became automated in 1999, it is still manned as it is also the Point Lonsdale signal station, that controls the movements of commercial shipping within designated areas both outside and inside Port Phillip Heads.

Point Lonsdale

Point Lonsdale

Point Lonsdale

Point Lonsdale

Point Lonsdale

Point Lonsdale

Point Lonsdale

Point Lonsdale is well worth a visit only just over an hour from the start of the Great Ocean Road. With so many great places to visit along the Great Ocean Road, like the Cape Otway Lighthouse, Towerhill Nature reserve, Sheoak Falls and Swallow Cave, to Port Fairy, it’s well worth a visit.

 

Take a journey to Point Lonsdale Point Lonsdale, a beautiful coastal town on the Bellarine Peninsula, just over 5 minutes
Take a journey to Point Lonsdale Point Lonsdale, a beautiful coastal town on the Bellarine Peninsula, just over 5 minutes
Take a journey to Point Lonsdale Point Lonsdale, a beautiful coastal town on the Bellarine Peninsula, just over 5 minutes
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The Larder Ballarat – Macarthur Street Larder.

Macarthur Street Larder.

Affectionately known as ‘The Larder Ballarat’ down on the corner of Macarthur Street and Doveton Street North is the Macarthur street Larder. Like many cafes in the Ballarat area, this cafe is made in a converted house. However, the way they have opened up the front area means it has less of a rabbit warren feel than other converted houses. They have removed many of the walls, and the kitchen is set up in the back of the building in a reasonably open feel. Meaning as you sit and relax the smell of the food wafts around.

macarthur street larder macarthur street larder

The menu is varied, focusing on modern fresh Middle eastern inspired food. This is not the place you are going to go if you are after a Parma and Chips. This is the place you go to eat Salads, Lamb Boreks, flatbreads and Pastries. Even in the Children’s menu, there is not a nugget and chip in sight. Instead, children get a choice of toasted sandwiches, Banana Bread, Granola, Bacon and eggs. However, there is Ice-cream for dessert.

macarthur street larder menu

Following on the children’s theme, the Macarthur Street Larder is the perfect place to come with your children with one of the old rooms at the back of the building has been converted to a little playroom, with a huge variety of toys. This room opens up to another large seating area, however, the only drawback is the room outside only has two tables both reasonable size though, so you need to plan ahead and bring some colouring in, in case the tables are already in use.

macarthur street larder macarthur street lardermacarthur street larder macarthur street larder

However, if you are going without children, the front area is large and away from the Children’s room at the back, meaning you can easily sit in the front and relax drinking your coffee.

There is also a great outdoor area perfect for Ballarat Spring and Summertime.

We went for Breakfast and also had an Iced Chocolate and the flavour of the Iced Chocolate was lovely, it was not too sweet but had a beautiful flavour to it, most places you go the iced chocolates end up tasting like plain milk. It was presented lovely too.

macarthur street larder, a perfect place to have an Iced Chocolate.

Breakfast was the bacon, a great mix of fried eggs, bacon, spinach, tomatoes on Turkish Bread. We will definitely be going back to try more of their Lunch menu, I have heard the Lamb Borek is well worth ordering so can’t wait to go back and try it for myself.

macarthur street larder, The Bacon, a great mix of Bacon, eggs, spinach and turkish bread.

The Macarther street Larder Ballarat Menu

Macarthur street larder, The Larder Ballarat Menumacarthur street larder

The Larder also sells a variety of homemade Biscuits and slices at the front counter, as well as Take away coffee is available.

It has a little shop as well with a selection of bags and other handmade items for sale.

Address

451 Doveton St N, Soldiers Hill VIC 3350

Opening Hours

Macarthur Street Larder is only open during the week.

Monday – 8:30am – 3pm
Tuesday – 8:30am – 3pm
Wednesday – 8:30am – 3pm
Thursday – 8:30am – 3pm
Friday – 8:30am – 3pm
Saturday – CLOSED
Sunday – CLOSED

Payment methods

Cash, Visa and Mastercard

 

So next time you are in Ballarat make sure you head into the Macarthur Street Larder for a meal.

 

Check out our other Ballarat restaurants, Lakeview Hotel, Sporting Globe Ballarat.

 

Macarthur Street Larder. Affectionately known as ‘The Larder Ballarat’ down on the corner of Macarthur Street and Doveton Street North
Macarthur Street Larder. Affectionately known as ‘The Larder Ballarat’ down on the corner of Macarthur Street and Doveton Street North
Macarthur Street Larder. Affectionately known as ‘The Larder Ballarat’ down on the corner of Macarthur Street and Doveton Street North

 

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Towerhill Nature reserve

Journey into a Volcanic Crater at Towerhill

Just out of Port Fairy on your way back to Warrnambool is the magical, picturesque Towerhill. There is something magical about driving down the road into the crater of a dormant volcano. Driving past ash deposits, large hills, and vibrant flora and fauna.

Towerhill Nature reserve is only 14kms from Warrnambool, right on the main road. The crater itself is 4kms across and 80 metres high, and when you are inside it, you are immersed in a beautiful vibrant wetland reserve.

Back in 1892 it became Victoria’s first National Park, and later in 1961 was declared a state Game reserve.

This nature reserve is a must have stop on your trip down the great ocean Road. It is full of wildlife from Koalas, Emus, Kangaroos and other waterbirds, just watch out for the Emu’s if you decide to pack a lunch as we learnt first hand that they love to steal your lunch. Our children watched in shock as an emu made a beeline for our table and decided that our Lunch would make a tasty treat. The ensuring panic as four children made a very hasty exit with the remaining untouched food would have been very comical to all those watching.

Towerhill reserve

Whilst emu’s are not supposed to be that violent, we where not willing to risk it, and we sat eating the rest of our lunch in the safety of the car.

The Nature reserve is the Centre of the Tower hill Maar volcano crater, inside this large crater there is also a visitor centre that is run by the Worn Gundidj Aboriginal Cooperative. The visitor centre was commissioned back in 1962 to be designed by Robin Boyd. Finishing 7 years later in 1969. Robin Boyd simple circular structure made from Stone with a sloping roof is reminisce of the Towerhill’s volcanic island hilltops that surround it.

The visitor Centre is a great place to grab a refreshing drink, whilst looking at a range of cultural displays and local aboriginal art and craft, that you can purchase, as a lovely keepsake. The visitor centre is open from 10am – 4pm daily.

Whilst camping in Camper vans, Tents and Caravans is prohibited, the area itself is open 24 hours.

Their are Electric BBQ’s, picnic tables and toilet facilities, but be prepared with plenty of water and to take all your rubbish home with you, as their are no Rubbish bins, or drinking taps.

Walks around the reserve.

Towerhill Nature reserve is so much more than a fun place to enjoy Lunch. It is also a great place to enjoy some walks in the area. Many people don’t realise until they start driving down the The Great Ocean Road that is a fantastic place to get active with great walks like the Sheoak Falls and Swallow Cave walks all around the area. The Towerhill reserve is no exception. From long walks to shorter walks perfect for all ages.

TowerhillTowerhill

Explore some of the amazing walks around the reserve. Parks Victoria have some great links to walks in the reserve. There are some self guided walks, as well as guided interactive walks led by experienced guides, both during the day and night. The nighttime walk opens your eye up to the huge range of nocturnal animals in the reserve.

TowerhillTowerhill nature reserveTowerhill nature reserve

If you manage to head into the Visitors centre you will see it features a great range of cultural displays and local aboriginal art. Whilst the reserve has access at all times, the visitor centre is open from 10am – 4pm daily.

Towerhill Nature reserve Just out of Port Fairy on your way back to Warrnambool is the magical, picturesque Towerhill. There is something magical about driving down the road into the crater of a dormant volcano. Driving past ash deposits, large hills, and vibrant flora and fauna.
Towerhill Nature reserve Just out of Port Fairy on your way back to Warrnambool is the magical, picturesque Towerhill. There is something magical about driving down the road into the crater of a dormant volcano. Driving past ash deposits, large hills, and vibrant flora and fauna.
Towerhill Nature reserve Just out of Port Fairy on your way back to Warrnambool is the magical, picturesque Towerhill. There is something magical about driving down the road into the crater of a dormant volcano. Driving past ash deposits, large hills, and vibrant flora and fauna.
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Waiting for a rare super blue blood moon.

A Super Blue Blood Moon in Ballarat.

We sat shivering outside waiting in anticipation for a glimpse of the Rare Super Blue Blood moon.

Our tripod set we stood with our camera ready to take a photo of the magical appearance.

It began at 9:51 pm, was at its peak at 12:29 pm and had ended by 3:08 pm.

Ballarat is famous for its cold weather and midnight was no exception, we sat shivering in the cold Ballarat summer air wondering why last week the temperature was warm and the clouds were clear, but the night of the super Blue Blood Moon the air was cold and the clouds were thick.

We needed patience if we wanted to catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse. Patience to watch the slow transformation, patience to wait in between cloud cover.

There were times we stood for ten-fifteen minutes with nothing to see, no stars, no moon just clouds, but when the cloud dissipated it was well worth the wait.

We waited, we watched and took many photos over a three hour period. It was mesmerising watching the large moon changing shape over a period of time, and then watching the moon turn blood red.

Just before midnight

Super blue blood moon

Did you see the Super blue blood moon?

 

We sat shivering outside waiting in anticipation for a glimpse of the Rare Super Blue Blood moon. Our tripod set we stood with our camera ready to take a photo of the magical appearance. It began at 9:51 pm, was at its peak at 12:29 pm and had ended by 3:
We sat shivering outside waiting in anticipation for a glimpse of the Rare Super Blue Blood moon. Our tripod set we stood with our camera ready to take a photo of the magical appearance. It began at 9:51 pm, was at its peak at 12:29 pm and had ended by 3:
We sat shivering outside waiting in anticipation for a glimpse of the Rare Super Blue Blood moon. Our tripod set we stood with our camera ready to take a photo of the magical appearance. It began at 9:51 pm, was at its peak at 12:29 pm and had ended by 3:
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Lal Lal Falls

Lal Lal Falls

Lal Lal Falls

Just north of Lal Lal, a small town in the Moorabool Shire is the Scenic Lal Lal Falls.

Only 20kms out of Ballarat. Lal Lal was originally a sheep run. However back in the mid to late 1800’s became the spot of the Lal Lal iron Mining company. It was also the home of the Lal Lal Blast furnace. The Blast furnace still holds significance, as it is the only Blast furnace from the 19th century still standing in all the Southern Hemisphere.

Lal Lal Reserve is located on Lal Lal Falls road. But just twenty minutes out of Ballarat and it is the perfect spot for a Picnic or Barbeque.

Lal Lal reserve is a great little spot, with a couple of barbeques. There are plenty of tables, most are out in the elements. However, a few are under the shade of the rotunda. There are toilets, water fountains and bins available.

Young children will love the quaint little playground with a couple of swings, (one infant, one older style) and two other activities to play with.

As we sat eating our lunch we listened to the sound of the waterfall in the distance, almost calling us to go look. Our food was rushed, as the real reason we came here was not for the playground, the large grass areas, not for lunch. But to see the magnificent Lal Lal Falls. We couldn’t wait to see them as they cascaded off the top of the cliff into the waiting creek below. I have to admit I was a little disappointed to see that they have closed off the path down to the base of the Falls, however, a short 5-minute walk will get you to the viewing point, and it’s well worth a look.

Find out more

Check out some more great posts on places in the Ballarat region

Lal Lal Falls, Just north of Lal Lal, a small town in the Moorabool Shire is the Scenic Lal Lal Falls.
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The Sporting Globe Ballarat

When the Sporting Globe Ballarat was initially slated to open in Ballarat the local media was excited. The newspapers around Ballarat told us that it was going to be one of the largest sport orientated bars in Australia. With a capacity of 450 people, it doesn’t disappoint. Located on the corner of Mair and Lydiard Street (previously Jackson’s and Co) it opened in August 2016, and since then there is always a steady stream of people enjoying the food and ambience for lunch, dinner and drinks.

There is no mistaking its focus with screens located everywhere playing a variety of sports, and 13 individual booths all with their own touchscreen TV’s that can show from 1 to 4 different channels at once. Perfect for watching multiple games of AFL, Basketball, NRL, Cricket, Golf, UFC or whatever sport takes your fancy.

But downstairs is only a portion of The Sporting Globe, upstairs is a function room and heritage balcony perfect for a party or work function, and the third level is a cocktail bar. Every Sunday from 3 – 8 pm the cocktail bar comes alive with Live music, drink specials a perfect way to finish the weekend.

Now when it comes to food in a Sports bar there are a few items on the menu that I would think as standard. Ribs, Wings and Steak and The Sporting Globe doesn’t disappoint, we ordered both the Pork and Beef ribs and they were delicious.

The Sporting Globe Ballarat

They were sticky covered in heaps of sauce. You can choose from Hickory smoked BBQ, Buffalo and Honey Soy.  Served with a side of Apple Slaw and thick cut battered chips, the day we ate them they were delicious.

In need of refreshment then you can choose from 8 beers on tap, 9 Beers in the Bottle, 3 Craft beers. Or if Ciders, Spirits or cocktails are your drink of choice there are plenty to choose from.

There is also a huge range of Non- Alcoholic drinks and Mocktails on offer, the Pineberry Mocktail a favourite of ours.

The Sporting Globe Ballarat

The sporting globe is so much more than a sports bar, during the day it is also a popular spot for lunch with families after they have finished at the movies only a couple of doors down. They have a great selection of kids meal and on Mondays and Tuesday’s kids eat free with a purchase of any main meal. Kids can choose from a Kid’s Parma, Brownlow burger, Calamari or nuggets. These are served with either shoestring fries and sauce or broccoli.

The Sporting Globe Ballarat

The Sporting Globe Ballarat The Sporting Globe Ballarat The Sporting Globe Ballarat The Sporting Globe BallaratThe Sporting Globe Ballarat

Each day they have a different special, called the 7-day Lineup. Our favourite is Fridays when you get 2 desserts for the price of one.

On their website, it has their full menu, opening hours and a way to book a table. If you are wanting to head in on a Friday or Saturday night it is well worth booking ahead as it gets very busy especially when sports events are on.

 

sporting globe 7 day line up

The Sporting Globe Ballarat The Sporting Globe Ballarat

So if you are in Ballarat the Sporting Globe is well worth a visit.

To see some of the other amazing restaurants and attractions in Ballarat check out our Ballarat destination guide

If you are interested in other great places to eat we have a great variety including Character dining at Disney.

 

Have you been to the Sporting Globe before?

What are the essentials for you in a Sports bar, the food, ambience, the sports on offer? Tell us in the comments.

When the Sporting Globe was initially slated to open in Ballarat, local media was excited. newspapers around Ballarat told us it was going to be one of the largest sports bars in Australia With a capacity of 450 people. Located on the corner of Mair and Lydiard Street (previously Jackson's and Co) it doesn't ...
When the Sporting Globe was initially slated to open in Ballarat, local media was excited. newspapers around Ballarat told us it was going to be one of the largest sports bars in Australia With a capacity of 450 people. Located on the corner of Mair and Lydiard Street (previously Jackson's and Co) it doesn't ...
When the Sporting Globe was initially slated to open in Ballarat, local media was excited. newspapers around Ballarat told us it was going to be one of the largest sports bars in Australia With a capacity of 450 people. Located on the corner of Mair and Lydiard Street (previously Jackson's and Co) it doesn't ...
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Top Ten activities to do in Ballarat.

Top ten Must see attractions in Ballarat

Top ten activites to do in Ballarat
Are you looking for fun things to do in Ballarat? We have compiled our list of the Top Ten activities to do in Ballarat.

1- Sovereign Hill.

I would hazard to guess when people think of Ballarat the first thing that comes to mind is Sovereign Hill. Sovereign Hill is the iconic Ballarat Open-air museum which depicts the early days of the gold rush in Ballarat.

The 25-hectare site has over 60 historically recreated buildings, all staff (and volunteers) are costumed. There is gold panning, where you might be lucky to find real gold. This whole area is set up with tents and buildings recreating the early gold rush era. There are blacksmith stables, candle dipping, lolly shop, bowling, bakery, post office, grocer and so much more.

You can watch how the traditional tradesmen worked in the coachbuilding shed, or tin and blacksmith area.

One of the most popular places is the four schools on site, where local schools, dress in period costumes and get to attend classes as if they were a child of the 1800’s.

For a small fee, you can take a coach ride around Sovereign Hill. Adults – $5.50 Children – $4.00 Family (2A & 4C) – $17.00

The other great attraction within Sovereign Hill is the Mine tours. The red hill mine tour is free self-guided and tells the story of the iconic welcome nugget. The other tour is the Sovereign Quartz MIne (a 40 minute guided tour).This also has an additional charge.

Cost –

Adult – $55.50
Concession – $44.40
Child 5-15 – $25
Child under 5 – Free
Family (2A & 4C) – $140
Single Family (1A & 3C) – $100

Opening hours

10am – 5pm daily
(10am – 5:30pm with daylight savings)

Address –

39 Magpie Street, Ballarat VIC 3350

 Special mention.

  • When you book your ticket to sovereign Hill you also get access to the Gold Museum (Number 9 on our list)
  • Your ticket allows you to get two consecutive days for the price of one. (Just get your ticket validated at either the Gold Museum, Blood on the southern cross booking desk, Sovereign Hill Post office or the entrance ticket booth.
  • You can book a photo in beautiful Victorian costumes with the Red Hill Photographic rooms. (Located on site)
  • You can also buy a VIP Pass that includes a lot of extras.

2 – Botanical Gardens

Ballarat Botanical Gardens Ballarat Botanical GardensBallarat Botanical Gardens

Ballarat’s botanical gardens cover over 40 hectares and are located on the western side of Lake Wendouree. The Gardens are 160 years old and feature a lovely conservatory,  a large greenhouse, A War memorial. Located all around the main area of the Botanical gardens (Central area) is twelve white marble statues donated by Thomas Stoddard in 1884.

There is the famous Prime Minister Avenue, that locates all the Australian Prime Ministers (as of early 2018 up to Tony Abbott). These started when the first twelve were donated by Richard Crouch (He also left a large bequest to add further Bronze busts). These funds are all now used and the Ballarat City council lobbied the Federal government to pay for Tony Abbott’s statue.

Just across the road on Lake Wendouree is the restaurant “Pipers by the lake”. A great spot to eat lunch, after strolling along the paths of the botanical gardens. Pipers also have a little takeaway area where you can grab a coffee, ice cream or a cold bottle of water.

Cost –

Free

Opening hours

7:30 am – 9 pm (October through April)
7:30 am – 6 pm (May through September)

Conservatory open – 9am – 4:30pm

Address –

Wendouree Parade, Lake Wendouree

Special mention.

  • Begonia Festival runs in March each year over the Labour Day Long weekend
  • Every 2nd and 4th Saturday, Wendouree Parade just across from the Botanical gardens comes alive with Ballarat Farmer’s market.
  • There are some great large hollow trees that are great to take photos in.

Ballarat Botanical Gardens

3 – Wildlife Park

One of Ballarat’s other great attractions is the privately owned Wildlife park that is located only 5 minutes from the centre of Ballarat. Ballarat Wildlife Park is a great place to see some iconic Australian animals. The wildlife park has over 80 free roaming kangaroos. Just pick up some kangaroo feed and you can spend ages feeding them. Patting them and seeing them up close.

The Ballarat wildlife park has a great relaxed feel as you wander around the Park you can see a great variety of other Australian animals, Koalas, Emus, wombats, eagles, echidnas, Tasmanian devils, crocodiles, penguins and reptiles.

Ballarat Wildlife park

Grab a timetable at the front entrance so you can see some of the animal shows.

  • Snake
  • Wombats
  • Alligator
  • Crocodile
  • Eagle

Also, you can watch

  • Tasmanian Devil feed and
  • Spotted-Tail Quolls Feed.

Cost –

Adult – $35
Concession – $29
Child 5-15 – $19.50
Child under 5 – Free
Family (2A & 4C) – $95

Opening hours

9 am – 5 pm (Closed Christmas Day)

Address –

Cnr of York & Fussell Streets
Ballarat East, 3350
Victoria, Australia

Other points to mention.

  • Yearly Membership is available (Terms and Conditions apply)$170 Family Yearly Membership (2 adults and up to 4 children)
    $120 Sole Parent Yearly Membership
    $65 Individual Adult Yearly Membership
  • You get a 10% discount if you book your tickets online.
  • Animal experiences available
  • VIP tours available
  • They do Kid’s parties as well

4 – Kryal Castle

Kryal Castle - Top ten activities to do in Ballarat

Welcome to the Land of Medieval adventures. Kryal Castle is a medieval castle located only 8kms from Ballarat. The Castle was first opened in 1974 and features a moat, drawbridge, towers, stocks, maze and an armoury.

Closed for Renovation in 2012, and reopened a year later it now has four-star Castle suites so you can stay on site, function, wedding and conference facilities.

There is now sound and light attractions, medieval sport of jousting on display as well as a fun playground for the younger children.

Kryal Castle - Top ten activities to do in BallaratKryal Castle - Top ten activities to do in BallaratKryal Castle - Top ten activities to do in Ballarat

Cost –

(Gives you access to Castle grounds, All shows and attractions.)

Adult – $35
Concession – $28
Child 4-16 – $22
Child 3 and under – Free
Family (2A & 4C) – $99
Single Family (1A & 3C) – $79

Opening hours

10 am – 4 pm (Saturday and Sunday)

Also, open Public holidays and Victorian School holidays (except Christmas Day)

Address –

Kryal Castle
121 Forbes Rd,
Leigh Creek,  Victoria, Australia

Other points to mention.

  • Noble Pass Tickets available (Gives you access to Castle grounds, All shows and attractions, unlimited archery, Face painting and Craft (return pass for one day valid for 6 months) Noble Adult – $70, Concession – $55, Child 4-16 – $44, Family (2A & 4C) – $199, Single Family (1A & 3C) – $159
  • Yearly membership also available
  • Over 16, Book in for a Murder mystery night, including a 3-course meal and a glass of mead on arrival.
  • They also run Kids birthday parties.

5 – Lake Wendouree

Situated in the centre of Ballarat is the picturesque Lake Wendouree. This beautiful lake was not only home to the rowing in the 1956 Olympics but continues to be used for many recreational and competitive events.

The Lake has a circumference of 6kms and is home to the Steve Moneghetti walking and running track and every day come rain, hail or shine you will see people walking, running and cycling around. If you are lucky you might even see Steve running his namesake.

There are multiple playgrounds, toilets, BBQ facilities located all around. As well as a variety of cafes, hotels and restaurants. Pipers by the Lake, Boat Shed, Lakeview hotel, Ballarat Yacht Club and Racer’s Bar and Cafe. A perfect place to sit and grab a cold drink after walking the Lake.

Famously back in 2006 the Lake dried up and stayed dry until 2010-2011 when a mixture of stormwater, wetland works and better than expected rainfall saw it reach capacity once again.

Around Lake Wendouree, there are so many other great things that have also made our top ten list, the Botanical Gardens (No 2) and the Tramway museum (No 10)

 Lake wendouree

Cost –

Free

Opening hours

All hours

Address –

Wendouree Parade, Lake Wendouree

Special mention.

  • Springfest runs in November each year
  • Farmers Market runs Every 2nd and 4th Saturday on the western side of Lake Wendouree.

6 – Ballarat Art Gallery

The Ballarat Art Gallery is the oldest and Largest Regional Art Gallery and was established in 1884. It has a large collection of art permanently on display as well special exhibitions that tour the gallery. In 2016 it was the exclusive Victorian site of the Archibald Prize. The Archibald prize is undoubtedly the most well-known art award in Australia.

The Art Gallery also has a great Cafe and gift shop.

Cost –

Free

Opening hours

10 am – 5 pm

Address –

40 Lydiard Street North
Ballarat, 3350
Victoria, Australia

Other points to mention.

  • The Ballarat Art Gallery runs school holiday program
  • It’s a not for profit Company.

7 – Victoria Park – Playground (Livvi’s Place Playground)

Victoria Park playground

Victoria Park is home to the fantastic inclusive playground. Home to a water play area, multiple large play spaces that provide activities for all abilities. Large Sandpit, swings, areas to climb, balance, slides, rope ladders.

Beside one of the play spaces there a great collection of musical instruments, drums, xylophones, cymbals and bells.

In the centre of all the play spaces is a great large grass area, perfect to set up a picnic rug. Or if you prefer to grab one of the tables and cook yourself a meal on one of the BBQ’s

Near the entrance, there are also toilets, that include a nappy change bench.

Probably one of the reasons this playground is so popular is the whole area is fenced off with only one entry point, a large very heavy double set of doors.

Victoria Park playground

Cost –

Free

Address –

Oak Avenue, Victoria Park, Ballarat

 

8 –MADE Ballarat

MADE Ballarat. Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.

Be inspired and uncover the history of Australian Democracy at the site of the 1854 Eureka Stockade. Now home to Ballarat‘s Interactive MADE Museum.  The Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka is a fantastic museum for children and adults alike. It tells the story of the Eureka Stockade and how that pivotal moment in history shaped democracy as we see it in Australia.

MADE is the home of the original Eureka flag (on loan from Ballarat Art Gallery)

But the MADE museum is more than that it also showcases other pivotal moments in our world history, from Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King junior. To learning about book censorship.

Home to a delightful cafe and gift shop it’s well worth a visit.

Cost –

Locals – Free (Need ID with local postcode)
Adults $12
Concession $8
Children (Under 5) – Free
6-15 $8
15-18 (students) $8 (But must show student card).
Family Pass Min 1A, 2C but max 5 Persons $35

Opening hours

10 am – 5 pm (Daily)
Excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Address –

120 Stawell Street S
Ballarat Central VIC 3350

Other points to mention.

  • They also hosted Optus night under the stars – open-air cinema in December 2017
  • Located next door to Eureka playground and Eureka Aquatic Centre

9 – Gold Museum

Sitting on a mine, across the road from Sovereign Hill is the also not to be missed Gold Museum. Showcasing more than just gold it also continues on the story of the Gold mining times. The Gold Museum opened in 1978 and has been wowing locals and tourist for forty years.

Whilst you can discover the beauty of Gold through stunning displays and items for purchase. There is also so much more to see from costumes, textiles, items related to mining, the military there are over 150,000 items on display.

Cost –

Free with your Sovereign Hill ticket.

Adults $13.20
Concession $10.60
Children (Under 5) – Free
5-15 $7
Family Pass 2A 4C Persons $34.80

Opening hours

9:30 am – 5:30 pm (Daily)
(Last entry 5:20)
Excluding Christmas Day

Address –

Bradshaw Street
Ballarat VIC 3350

Ballarat Gold Museum Ballarat Gold museum, Top ten Activities to do in Ballarat

10 – Ballarat Tramway Museum

 

The tram depot at the Southern End of the Lake is home to the Ballarat Tramway Museum.
The Tram Museum is full of collections, photographs, interactive displays. The museum is free to enter and manned by volunteers.

The Tramway museum runs through school holidays and most weekends and is the home to over twenty trams (not all on display). Some of the trams are over 100 years old and it’s a great opportunity to get your photo in the front seat of the tram. Wander through the displays and learn some of Ballarat’s rich history.

Cost –

Free (But donations are welcomed)

Opening hours

Some days in the School holidays and most weekends (depends on the volunteers)

Address –

100 GIllies street North
Ballarat, 3350
Victoria, Australia

 

Ballarat Tramway museum

Ballarat Tramway museum

Ballarat Tramway museum

 

Have you travelled to Ballarat? What would be your Top ten Must see attractions in Ballarat?

Are there any other places that would make your Top Ten activities list?

Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Find out about the time we saw a super rare blue blood moon in Ballarat

Are you looking for fun things to do in Ballarat? We have compiled our list of the Top Ten activities to do in Ballarat.
Are you looking for fun things to do in Ballarat? We have compiled our list of the Top Ten activities to do in Ballarat.
Are you looking for fun things to do in Ballarat? We have compiled our list of the Top Ten activities to do in Ballarat.
Are you looking for fun things to do in Ballarat? We have compiled our list of the Top Ten activities to do in Ballarat.
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MADE Ballarat – The Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.

Be Inspired at MADE Ballarat.

MADE Ballarat. Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.

 

Uncover the history of Australian Democracy at the site of the 1854 Eureka Stockade in Ballarat‘s Interactive MADE Museum.

Home to the original Eureka Flag, a flag rich in tradition with an amazing legacy and story.

MADE Ballarat helps you explore how the Eureka Stockade has had an important role in shaping democracy in Australia, but the museum is more than that.

The museum is engaging for Children and Adults alike, and It allows you to explore the concept of Democracy. It tells the stories of the men and women all around the world that fought for freedoms we take for granted today. People like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jnr, Mary Fisher. As well as more local stories commemorating the men and women who fought for democratic freedom at the Eureka Stockade.

MADE Ballarat has a great colouring in station for the children where they can design their own flag and attach it to the wall for all to see. It has a range of static displays as well as interactive digital displays.

My favourite display showcased a variety of famous speeches and I have included a few snippets in my video below.

But the most iconic display is “the flag on the southern cross” on loan from the Art Gallery of Ballarat. When you sit in the darkened room looking over the flag you are blown away by the magnitude of its size, and all that it stands for.

The Flag on the Southern Cross is 4m long X 2.6m high

Admission

Locals – Free (Need ID with local postcode)

Adults $12

Concession $8

Children (Under 5) – Free

6-15 $8

15-18 (students) $8 (But must show student card.

Family Pass Min 1A, 2C but max 5 Persons $35

Hours of Operation

10 am – 5 pm (Daily)

Excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

MADE Cafe

Open – Monday – Friday 10am – 3:30pm, Weekends 9:30am – 4pm

Made Cafe stock a great variety of Cafe foods. It is a lovely space with large windows and artwork adorning the room. The perfect place to grab a coffee after wandering through the Museum. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or a quick snack. When we went we were really impressed by the friendly staff who served us. Our food and drinks arrived quickly.

They offered free activity packs for the children which allowed us to relax whilst the children had a great time colouring in, doing dot to dot and other puzzles.

MADE Ballarat Giftshop

A visit to a museum wouldn’t be complete without a browse through a gift shop and MADE Ballarat doesn’t disappoint. With a huge range of things to chose from.

Have you been to MADE Ballarat before?

What are some of your favourite museums? We also love Scienceworks and try and take our kids every year.

Tell us in the comments below.

 

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