THIS winter, Ballarat is set to transform into a winter wonderland this July, just in time for the school holidays. So if you're still wondering what to do with a house full of children in the blistering cold, wonder no more. Mamma holds the answers!
Here are 5 things you need to do with the crew during your Ballarat Winter Festival visit:
1. Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights: Christmas in July
The award-winning outdoor museum Sovereign Hill will transform into a winter wonderland once again this year as part of its Winter Wonderlights: Christmas in July production. Get set to be mesmerised as traditional Christmas carols fill the air, Christmas trees and decorations line the museum Main Street, and faux snow falls at regular intervals. With hands-on activities for the children, a full theatre program, and delicious treats, you'll be immersed in a traditional festive experience.
When the sun sets, you'll be transported to another world as the sparkling grand-scale images and bright winter wonderlights dance along the building facades. This is a truly magical experience that has to be seen to believed, so if you’re yet to experience the Wonderlights, now is your chance!
When: 1 - 30 July. Open from 10am
Where: Sovereign Hill, Bradshaw Street, Ballarat VIC 3350
Entry: Visit website for full price list
2. Ice Slide, Ice Skating, Snow Globe and Forest at the Winter hub
The city centre is set to become a hub of Antarctic activity for the Winter Festival. Enjoy a day on real ice at the pop-up ice skating rink in the heart of the Ballarat CBD. Afterwards, find your way through the mystical frozen forest, explore the igloo haven and snow globe, or unleash your adventurous side on the giant 20-metre inflatableslide!
When: 9am to 8.30pm, 1 to 16 July
Where: Armstrong Street South, between Town Hall and Myer
Entry: Adult $11, Child $5.50, Family $22 (two adults and two children)
Session times are one hour and skaters are advised to arrive 20 minutes prior to start time.
When: 1 - 30 July
Where: Ballarat CBD
Entry: Giant Slide $5, purchase tickets below. Snow Globe and Forest free entry
Click here for bookings
3. The little penguins
The little penguins will find their way to the Ballarat Wildlife Park just in time for the Winter Festival. Watch as these little darlings swim gracefully through the underwater glass viewing window. After your penguin encounter, take some time to warm up by the fire in the Bushman's Hut, roast some marshmallows in the park's fire pits, and get up-close-and-personal with the native wildlife including kangaroos, koalas, wombats and reptiles.
For more info on this click here
4. Knights of Fire
Kryal Castle is one of the only medieval theme parks in Australia, featuring everything from fairies to wizards, potion workshops to dragons and a massive jousting arena. This winter, you can expect to be enthralled by the Knights of Fire and the Snow Queen and witness the spectacular flaming Joust on the Main Arena as Sir Hector meets the Black Knight in a (literally) fiery clash.
For more info on this click here
5. Winter holiday programs
The Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka and the Art Gallery of Ballarat both have specially-tailored school holiday programs in celebration of the winter season. Give the kids the chance to harness their creative side and produce some take-home masterpieces to remind them of their magical Ballarat visit!
There's plenty more where all this came from, including star-gazing, indoor go-karts, on-stage performances and discounts to major attractions. For a full list of Winter Festival school holiday activities, make sure to check out the official website by visiting ballaratwinterfestival.com.au, and book your accommodation early to avoid disappointment!