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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Melbourne’s Myer Christmas Windows.

Each year we journey into Melbourne to Bourke Street to see Melbourne’s Myer Christmas Windows.

Myer Christmas Windows

Telling a different story each year, they are an Australian Christmas tradition, that sees over 1 million visitors each year, running since 1956 when the Myer’s merchandiser Fred Asmussen created a lovely window celebrating Santa and the Olympics. In celebration of the 1956 Olympics.

Perfect to go visit, but not so great to photograph as the light of the sun reflects off the glass as you try to take photos. Meaning they are best visited in person.

This year the story is “The Completely and utterly Perfect Christmas” by H C Floren. It is the story of an Elf, and his journey to find the perfect Christmas.

The book was made for the Myer windows and is available for purchase from inside Myer, as well as a stuffed toy elf. Great marketing from Myer.

The book is lovely teaching children to appreciate what they have even if it is not perfect.

There is normally a line to see the Windows but it is well worth lining up, the crowds move through quickly, as the windows are well spaced out and have a small amount of writing allowing reasonably quick movement from one window to the other.

Myer Christmas Windows opening hours

7.30am to 1 am daily.

Location

Bourke Street Mall

Melbourne really comes alive at Christmas with so many more amazing things to see and do.

Federation square has an amazing 16 metre high Christmas tree, that lights up from 9 pm each evening. Also in Federation Square is the enchanting six-metre high bauble that glitters during the day and twinkles at night.

Whilst you are in the city make sure you head over to Crown Casino to see the Atrium’s great music and light show. Also over at Crown is the fantastic Christmas ArtVo exhibition an interactive 3D art installation.

Make the most of Melbourne’s free tram zone.

This runs within the borders of Spring Street, Flinders Street and La Trobe Street. Also, the tram routes that run along Victoria Street, William Street and Elizabeth Street surrounding Victoria Market are included as well as the Docklands area.

What are some of your Family traditions each year? Do you head into Melbourne? Tell us below in the comments?

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Crown Casino – Christmas ArtVo Exhibition

Christmas comes alive at Crown Casino this year with an amazing Christmas ArtVo Exhibition.

But what is ArtVo?

ArtVo is an amazing way to experience art, it’s an immersive 3D art exhibition where you can really immerse yourself in art. Unlike normal art galleries that you need to stand and watch from a distance. ArtVo is a totally new interactive exhibit that allows you to be in the artwork.

The main ArtVo gallery is located in Harbour Town and was created by 14 artists in just 60 days. There are over 100 3D reality artworks themed in 11 different zones.

  • Jungle Safari
  • Aquatic Adventure
  • Australiana
  • World Tour
  • Fantasia
  • Enchanted Garden
  • Dimensional Dreams
  • Pharaohs treasures
  • Aussie Pride
  • Imagine
  • Classic Crescent

You just have to search the #artvo on Instagram and you will see the amazing art installation. It is well worth a visit, For adults and Children alike.

ArtVo Opening hours

Friday – Saturday 10am – 11:30pm

Sunday – Thursday 10am – 6pm

Ticket Prices

Adult $28

Children (5-15 Yrs) $18

Student / Senior $25

Family packages

A- 1 Adult & 2 Children – $55

B- 2 Adult & 1 Children – $65

C- 2 Adults & 2 Children – $78 (each additional children $15)

How can you Experience ArtVo for free?

Over the Christmas period, Crown Casino has partnered with ArtVo to bring Christmas alive with some fantastic Christmas inspired artwork, located in Crown.

There are 8 Christmas inspired works available over on Level 1 starting near the Village cinemas, heading towards the lifts near the food court.

This is a great way to experience ArtVo paintings to see how much fun they are. After you experience them you will want to head into the Gallery to see the whole exhibit.

Children and adults alike were enjoying photographing themselves in the pictures.

 

Crown really is a great place to come this Christmas, with the great ArtVo exhibit, the atrium decorated in bright lights, with an amazing musical display every thirty minutes. Also, only a quick twenty minute walk away from the famous Myer windows.

 

What are some of your favourite things to do in Melbourne this Christmas? Scienceworks? Myer windows? Great Ocean Road?

Let us know below in the comments?

 

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Cape Otway Lighthouse – The beacon of hope

The Fog was heavy as we stood at the top of Cape Otway Lighthouse, but as it cleared we were meet with a majestic view of Victoria’s glorious coast.

We were on our last day of a glorious weekend along the Great Ocean Road we spent previous days walking Sheoak Falls and Swallow Cave. Spending the morning roaming the grounds of Mainland Australia’s oldest surviving lighthouse seemed to be the fitting end.

We were concerned about how much we would be able to see from the top of the lighthouse that sits 90m above the clear blue waters of Bass Strait. But Cape Otway light station did not disappoint. As the fog cleared, the smell of the salt water infused the air, we knew we had made the right choice.

Cape Otway Lighthouse is affectionately called the “Beacon of Hope” and when you begin to understand how many hundreds of lives were lost along this stretch of ocean, that is known as “Shipwreck Coast”. You can understand why.

Cape Otway Lighthouse

Built in 1848, it stood as a beacon for all those 19th-century migrants who had spent months travelling by sea from places like Europe, Asia, North America. It stood tall on the point where the Southern Ocean crashes into the Bass Strait. Whilst it still stands tall, it was decommissioned back in 1994, and replaced by a low solar powered light, situated right in front of the lighthouse. However, the history of the lighthouse lives on.

Eight vessels were still lost whilst the Lighthouse was operational, The Marie(1851), the Sacramento(1853), Schomberg (1855), The Loch Ard (1878), the Joseph H. Scammell (May 1891), Fiji (September 1891) and the Casino in 1932. The first American vessel sunk during World War II, the A class “SS City of Rayville” SS was also sunk off the Cape by a German mine in 1940. However, many more would have run into trouble without the bright Light guiding them safely through.

The Cape Otway light station was the longest running continuous light on Australia’s mainland, but it was also so much more. It was the location of the telegraph station that ran between Tasmania and Victoria in 1859. (Unfortunately only for 6 months as the underground submarine cable only lasted that long). Then became the Lloyds signal station, allowing people in Melbourne to be made aware of all the vessels passing by.

It was the location of the top-secret World War II radar bunker, and I found the history of it fascinating. I never realised how many mines were laid just off the coast of Melbourne, Mines that would sink Allied ships. I never realised 268 lives were lost when a hospital ship the AHS Centaur was hit by a torpedo on May 14, 1943.

I learnt about the Yokosuka E147 float plane,  a plane assembled on the deck of the Japanese 1-25 submarine, that surfaced just off the coast of Cape Wickham lighthouse. This float plane would be launched from the submarine in February of 1942 and fly over Cape Otway lighthouse, Point Lonsdale lighthouse, Portarlington, Laverton RAAF base, Melbourne, Dromana, Cape Schank Lighthouse and land back in the Bass Strait to be collected by the Japanese submarine. This all happened a few months before the radar station was operational.

It is also home to some fascinating history of our indigenous culture.

It is also the perfect location to visit between May and October when 25 different species of whales, migrate past the lighthouse shadow.

We walked the grounds looking at the dinosaur museum, with the hundred other tourists but the grounds are big enough that you still felt like you had room to explore, room to move around.

We sat at the quaint little cafe eating our Devonshire tea as we watched the fog roll past the lighthouse, then watched it clear just to roll through again.

We marvelled on how lucky we where to see a Koala clamber across the road on our way to the lighthouse.

We decided that the Cape Otway lighthouse was definitely somewhere we would come back to, the next time we wandered down the Great Ocean Road.

 

Important Information about the Cape Otway Lightstation

The Cape Otway Lightstation encompasses the Cape Otway Lighthouse, the Keepers Quarters and Workshop, the 1859 Telegraph Station,
Aboriginal Talking Hut, WWII Radar Bunker, Whale Interpretation Site and Lightkeeper’s Cafe and Souvenir Shop.

General Admission prices

Child: $7.50 / Adult $19.50 / Family: (2 Adults 4 children) $49.50 / Concession: $17.50

Pre-school Children: FREE

Hours of Operation

9am – 5pm (entry closes 4:30pm)

CLOSED CHRISTMAS DAY

Extended hours – 26th December – 14th Jan

9am – 6pm (entry closes 5:30pm)

Talks included

Daily History Talks at 11.00am, 2.00pm and 4.00pm
Daily Bush Tucker Talks at 12noon and 3.00pm

 

Have you been to the Cape Otway lighthouse? Where are some of your favourites places to visit on the Great Ocean Road?

 

 

Also, make sure you check out some of the other great locations along the Great Ocean Road

Sheoak Falls and Swallow Caves

Timelapse video of the Great Ocean Road.

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Sheoak Falls and Swallow Cave -Lorne

Just fifteen minutes out of Lorne on your way to Apollo Bay, along the magnificent Great Ocean Road is a great walk within the Otway National Park.

There are five walks available from the Sheoak Falls carpark.

  1. Sheoak Falls (600m – Oneway)
  2. Swallow Cave – via Sheoak Falls (about 1km – Oneway) if you go to the base of Sheoak Falls, about 800m without Sheoak Falls
  3. Sheoak Picnic Area, via Sheoak Falls, Swallow Cave, Castle Rock (7kms – Oneway)
  4. Cumberland River circuit, via Sheoak Falls, Swallow Cave, Castle Rock (11.5kms – return)
  5. Cumberland falls via the Cumberland River circuit, via Sheoak Falls, Swallow Cave, Castle Rock (13.5kms – return)

Sheoak Falls

The first walk to Sheoak Falls is about fifteen to twenty minutes along the path on a mostly uphill section. The path is a mixture of gradual inclines, very steep steps, shorter steps and long windy straight sections.

As you arrive close to the Falls you have a choice head down to the Right to the base of the Gorge to see the falls from the bottom, or head right up the stairs to see Swallow Cave first.

We headed down to the base of Sheoak falls and it was worth the view.
After watching the water cascading over the 15 m cascading Falls, we ventured up towards Swallow Cave, it is almost all uphill from there, and some of the steps are almost twice the height of normal steps, so keep in mind if you have small children or back issues.  But it is worth the walk.

There are two vantage point of the fall, the first lookout point allows you to see the falls, but the second part lets you really experience it.

After the first lookout, you continue your journey uphill until you get to a small river crossing (this should only be attempted if the water is not high, and covering the stones that you cross with). This is the perfect place to sit on the rocks and put your feet in the water after your climb.

But the best is still to come just 100m down the hill is the bottom lookout of Swallow Cave. From there you can see the little birds fly in and out of the caves. (Birds are normally there between spring and autumn.)

Have you been to the Great Ocean Road before? Have you seen the Beacon of Hope, Cape Otway Lighthouse? Walked the Sheoak Falls, Swallow Cave.

What are some of your favourite places to stop along the way?

Let us know in the comments below

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Lakeview Hotel Ballarat

The Lakeview hotel situated on the glorious Lake Wendouree in Ballarat is a great casual family-friendly restaurant in Ballarat. A great place to sit an relax after you finish your 6km walk around the Lake.

Lakeview Hotel Ballarat

We love heading there for breakfast as they make great fresh orange juice. The oranges are kept in the fridge so the juice comes out nice and cold.

Lakeview Hotel

The Lakeview hotel is very family friendly with a good variety of food on the children’s menu and have complimentary colouring in, which we have found a rare commodity in a lot of restaurants nowadays. Most places you have to buy an overpriced colouring-in pack that they finish before the meal comes out. The pictures are a great variety from superheroes, Disney characters, animals on plain white paper.

Lakeview Hotel

The wait staff are friendly and come round quickly after you arrive to make sure you order you can order your drinks even if you are still waiting on others in your party.

Lakeview hotel

It nice to sit and eat your breakfast or lunch watching everyone as the walk Lake Wendouree. Or to reward yourself after a nice walk with a nice cold drink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find out more about Ballarat

To see some more great Restaurants click here.

 

Where are some of your favourite places to eat out?

 

 

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Spirit of Tasmania, Day or Night sail?

So you have decided to visit the Apple Isle? You have decided when you want to go? You have made the decision Do I fly or Do I sail? If you have chosen the Spirit of Tasmania.

Now to make the next decision. Do I choose a day sail or a night sail? Who knew there were so many options.

We have done both and thought we would write a list of the pro’s and con’s of both. Ultimately it comes down to who is travelling with you, and where your priorities lie.

Spirit of Tasmania

Length of trip

Day –  9 hours

Night – 11 hours (Whilst it is longer you spend majority of it asleep)

Cost  (Depends on age of Children) 

Day sail is cheaper but……

Day – you can get away without a cabin, Especially if your children are older. However if you have preschool aged children (or younger) I would suggest getting a cabin anyway for day sleeps, space away from people.

Night – Realistically you need a cabin or a recliner (Recliners are not as comfortable and there is nowhere to store your belongings.)

View

Day – Have a great view of Melbourne as you are leaving port, some people have told of seeing dolphin pods on the way across.

Night – Great view of sunset as you travel, or pre-daylight savings great view of Melbourne lights, however once you pass through the Heads, not much to see until you arrive in Devonport

Keeping entertained.

Entertainment depends on the age of the travellers.

No general internet/phone service about thirty minutes after you leave port. However, you can purchase Satellite WiFi in lounge areas for $18. This WiFi is very patchy and you cannot use it for streaming services, ie videos, also not available for some games that require a fast internet connection.

Small playground – great for preschool age, however, will not keep them entertained for hours.

Day sails – face painting, circus performers, trivia, and disco bingo.

Small arcade – very busy and normally unless you get in early more time waiting than playing.

Cinema – extra cost Adults $10, pensioners $7.50 Kids $5

(Limited seats)

two kids movies (day sail) one kid’s movie (Night sail) aimed more at school age plus

Two Adult movies (day and night sail)

You can find out screening times here.

Gaming lounge – Open until midnight on night Sails

Reading room
Realistically there are benefits of both the day or night sail, and you need to look at who is travelling?

4 bed cabin spirit of tasmania

Cabin Spirit of Tasmania

Availability of day sails

Day sails are not always available. Through the winter months there are no day sails, and through spring and autumn, they are once (maybe twice a week). In summer day sails are 3-4 times a week. So if you have a set day you want to sail, you need to keep that in mind.

Head across to the Spirit of Tasmania site to check out their Sailing schedule

My thoughts

I hope this has helped you make an informed decision about taking a day or night sail on the Spirit of Tasmania

Previously when our youngest were toddlers we always headed across on a night sail, booked a four berth inside cabin (fits two portacots) and they slept almost the whole way. Now they are older there are no cabins that fit us all. So if we have the choice for our next trip we will probably head across on a day sail. We will still book a cabin so we have space to relax.

 

To find out more about the Spirit of Tasmania.

To find out more about Tasmania.

 

 

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Lal Lal Blast Furnace

Have you heard about the Lal Lal Blast furnace?

Did you know that it is just twenty minutes out of Ballarat? It is a site which has been classified to be preserved from the National Trust. Yet most people who live in Ballarat would not know its significance.

It is a site of such significance in our early industrial history yet was only operational for four years.

This site is the Lal Lal Blast furnace. The Furnace was built in 1880 by the Lal Lal Iron company. And operated until 1884. Located within the Lal Lal-Bungal Historic Area, just a short drive away from the Beautiful Lal Lal Falls.

There is a free campsite and picnic ground at the Blast furnace, that is provided by Parks Victoria and includes flushing toilets.

The 17-metre ruins of the Blast Furnace and ruins of the iron Mine are found on Iron Mine road at Lal Lal. Once you get to the carpark the signage is not very clear, and the path is a little overgrown but if you can find your way its well worth a walk to see the furnace. There are a great variety of signs explaining all about its history.

Nearby is a great view of the Bungal Dams spillway.

Have you visited Lal Lal Blast furnace before?

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

 

Fairy Park Anakie
Fairy Park Anakie
Farmers Market Ballarat
Farmers Market Ballarat
Lal Lal Blast Furnace. id you know that it is just twenty minutes out of Ballarat? It is a site which has been classified to be preserved from the National Trust. Yet most people who live in Ballarat would not know its significance.  It is a site of such significance in our early industrial history yet was only operational for four years.
Lal Lal Blast Furnace. id you know that it is just twenty minutes out of Ballarat? It is a site which has been classified to be preserved from the National Trust. Yet most people who live in Ballarat would not know its significance.  It is a site of such significance in our early industrial history yet was only operational for four years.
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Ballarat Farmers Market

Ballarat Farmers Market

Every 2nd and 4th Saturday, Wendouree Parade comes alive with Ballarat Farmer’s market. The market stalls are located between Windmill Drive and Pipers by the Lake near Lake Wendouree. The Farmers market is opposite Ballarat’s botanical gardens.

A great opportunity for you to do your shopping fresh from the farmers and makers.

We took a visit down to the farmers market and enjoyed a great selection of fresh bread, fresh fruit, dried fruit.

Each week there is a different amount of stalls about 50 on peak days, the produce is varied from fresh jams, teas, vegan-friendly snacks, organic fruit and vegetables, mushrooms, fresh lamb, spices, herbs, nuts, dried fruit, cheeses.

The Ballarat Farmers market also has a great selection of food trucks, for coffee, Indian food, brownies and other snacks, sausage sizzle and even an amazing Burger truck.

It’s well worth a visit, especially on a beautiful Spring Ballarat Day.

Ballarat Farmers Market

Ballarat Farmers Market

Ballarat Farmers Market

Ballarat Farmers Market

 

Ballarat Farmers Market

 

If you want to find out more check out Ballarat Farmers Market Facebook page.

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