The Miner’s Church is a unique family-friendly accommodation in picturesque Buninyong, a small township close to Ballarat in the Goldfields Region.
The 3 bedroom self-contained cottage is the former family home of the hosts, Doug and Julie Brady. The Wesleyan church dates back to the 1850s when Buningyong was bustling with the gold rush and was built by the Cornish miners who lived and worked in the area area. It was converted to a family home around 30 years ago by the couple.
You can still see elements of the church now, with the high vaulted ceilings, the tall curved windows and small stained glass features. The ceiling and floor are Baltic pine and the walls are made from locally fired brick and are one and a half bricks thick. Given there are three fireplaces and two climate control units in the house I imagine it still becomes freezing in winter and steaming in summer!
The church includes three bedrooms, a bathroom and a shower room, an open living area with a kitchen and a TV room. There’s a double bedroom in the front, a queen size bedroom with cot in the back upstairs and another bedroom upstairs with two single beds squished in. They can also provide another portacot if you want to sleep the baby elsewhere, as well as a high chair and a foam change mat.
Not to mention HEAPS of toys! Doug and Julie are grandparents so have a fantastic collection of vintage and current toys and books to enjoy.
We could have happily stayed inside the church for our whole stay – we didn’t even go into the mezzanine floor or venture into the sunken den with the TV and DVD player – but it’s worth heading out into the property to appreciate some of the other features.
Families will love the fact that there is a separate games room. It’s a replica building built on the site of the actual local school and inside there are MORE toys to explore, as well as a table tennis table and billiards table.
If your kids are old enough you could just leave them in the schoolroom and relax back at the church!
The outside grounds also boast an old pine tree to climb with a rickety wooden platform to sit on, a sandpit with toys, a swing set, chooks to feed, gardens to roam (and leaves to play in during autumn), an old railway carriage (used as long term accommodation) and a Ballarat tram shelter with more bric-a-brac inside.
You will have so much fun just rambling around the garden, seeing what you can discover. As Doug said ‘you don’t need to take the kids to the park, because we have a park here!’
Julie said that if they spent the day in the garden they’d often fire up the pizza oven and put in scones for morning tea, pizza for lunch and a roast for dinner.
Our hosts were incredibly welcoming – they had the fire going when we arrived and helped stoke the fire when we went out in the evening. In the kitchen was a freshly baked loaf of bread, home made muffins, a fridge stocked with Julie’s home made plum jam plus bacon, farm eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes for a fry up breakfast. The pantry was well-stocked too, with a large collection of cereals and tea/coffee to choose from.
When I expressed an interest in their veggie patch they even gave me some apples, rhubarb and Egyptian onions that they were growing.
We stayed for just one night and we loved our experience. Lady AB loved it so much she kept pleading for us to go back to ‘our holiday home’ for days afterwards.
One night’s stay at The Miner’s Church cost $200 (they didn’t charge for the children) which was not significantly more expensive than some other two-bedroom accommodation options we investigated in and around Ballarat, without all the family-friendly benefits and lovely home-cooked food. The Miner’s Church was a really special mini-break as a family and we can’t wait to return (they offer 10% off for returning guests).
- A great place to stay if you want a quiet and relaxing holiday with kids;
- Complete breakfast provisions;
- Property is fully fenced so you can let the kids roam free without worry;
- toys and books, games room, swing set, sandpit, tree house, pizza oven;
- cot, high chair, change mat and pram available;
- You can ask Doug to take you on a ride on his tractor!;
- Doug is a former history teacher and has written children’s books on Australian history, on sale for $10 at the church; and
- 12 minutes from Sovereign Hill and 17 minutes to Ballarat CBD.
The Miner’s Church, 224 Scotchmans Lead Rd. Buninyong 03 53 413 954