We’re thrilled to report that our entire weekend was amazing! Yes, we experienced some amazing family friendly activities but what really made it special was the super friendly ‘Ballaratians’ who call this magic part of the world home. Their welcoming smiles and customer service (wherever we went) couldn’t be faulted. They made our stay so memorable and because of that we hope to make this an annual pilgrimage!
We collected our hire car from Melbourne Airport at at 1pm and took the 1hr 20min drive to Ballarat. We loved driving through the town and admiring all the old buildings, it really felt like we were travelling back in time!
Our first activity was visiting the ‘Winter Hub’ situated next to the Old Town Hall. We loved wandering through the magical Frozen Forest before we ventured across the road to the GIANT Slide! This slide was a great way to burn off some of that energy they’d stored on the flight and drive! You can check out some video footage of us on the slide below…and yes, Jen and I had a few slides too! You can pre-book some slide tickets here.
It was then time to hit the ice for some Ice Skating, this activity was full of laughter and giggles as we attempted to glide along the ice. It was fantastic to see so many families enjoying quality time together on the ice. You can find all the booking details for Ice Skating here.
Here’s a little video we filmed from this adventure!
We were all well and truly exhausted and HUNGRY after all that activity and headed out for a bite to eat at The Forge Pizzeria. If you’re visiting Ballarat this restaurant is a MUST! The atmosphere was amazing, the customer service was amazing and the food…you guessed it, also AMAZING. They also have a fab kids corner which makes it a great choice for families too. Find their website here.
After filling up on a hearty breakfast at Billy’s Bistro (at Ballarat Mercure) we were excited to start our full-day adventures in Ballarat.
First on the list was the Ballarat Wildlife Park. We were first greeted by a Cassowary before we were welcomed into the park by a very friendly and helpful staff member (seems to be the trend in Ballarat) we couldn’t believe how quickly we were emerged into the park, kangaroos were literally waiting for us to arrive and hand feed them! We filmed the below Facebook LIVE video in the first 5 minutes of entering, you can hear the excitement in our voices!
We then took a tour of the park and were surprised by the number of diverse animals, especially in their reptile area! We were also lucky to be amongst some of the first people to welcome some new additions to the Wildlife Park, some cute Little Penguins! Their newly built enclosure has some great viewing spaces, especially for small kids!
What made our visit even more special was our special animal encounter with their resident Tree Kangaroo named Salsa! What an incredible animal, this experience will be something we will all remember for a long time to come! You can watch the LIVE Facebook video we shot of this experience below and book your own special encounter here.
The weather suddenly turned bad & we took shelter in their warm and cosy cafe, a great excuse for an early lunch with homemade Pumpkin Soup enjoyed by the fire.
Lastly we headed out to the Bushman’s Hut to toast some giant Marshmallows by the fire. A lovely end to an amazing morning at The Ballarat Wildlife Park.
You can watch some of the highlights in this video.
Now it was time to visit the place we were most curious about…Sovereign Hill! This part of our time in Ballarat was the most memorable, we even decided to make a return visit the next morning! We’ve written a second blog post covering all our adventures in Soverign Hill. You can read all about it here. And check out the incredible nigh time Winter Wonderlights Festival in the Facebook LIVE video below.
Lastly, we would like to thank the Mercure Hotel and Convention centre for providing us our warm and cosy accommodation. We felt so welcomed and our rooms were so comfortable and warm. We all enjoyed sitting by the fire in the main foyer talking about our favourite parts of the day. It’s a wonderful location and is just across the way from Sovereign Hill if you’re looking for some accommodation close the the attraction. Click this link for all their details and booking availability.
We hope you get the opportunity to visit Ballarat for their Winter Festival, we have created so many treasured memories with our kids on this trip. As I mentioned earlier we really hope to make this an annual trip!
Lou & Jen xx
Thank you to Visit Ballarat for hosting our recent adventures in your beautiful town.