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Make Ballarat Your Family Getaway Destination This Winter School Holidays

This winter, Ballarat is coming alive with a host of wonderful events and activities perfect for a family getaway. From Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlights and Kryal Castle’s Knights of Fire and Snow Queen Neva spectacular, to the three-week pop-up ice-skating rink, there’s plenty to see and do in Ballarat this winter.

So rug up, embrace the chill and make Ballarat your destination of choice this winter school holidays (Saturday 25 June – Sunday 17 July). This magnificent regional city is just 75 minutes west of Melbourne, making it the perfect destination for a mini-break.

When are the Victorian Winter School Holidays 2023?

The Winter school holidays 2023 in Victoria are from Saturday 24 June to Sunday 9 July 2023.

BALLARAT WINTER FESTIVAL

Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill's Christmas in July celebration is back! Throughout the day, visitors can wander the streets as ‘snow’ falls and enjoy pantomimes and theatre shows, Christmas-themed arts and crafts, the chance to share a photo with St Nick, and wonderful wintry treats like mulled wine and gingerbread.

As the sun goes down, ever-changing projections will bring Sovereign Hill’s streetscape to life as a spectacular light show illuminates the much-loved living museum.

Book your tickets to Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights.

When: Friday 24 June – Sunday 17 July
Where: Bradshaw Street, Ballarat

Ballarat Winter Festival Ice Rink

Experience the thrill of gliding across the ice rink to great tunes and disco lights in the all-weather marquee this winter!

With the pop up ice skating rink limited three-week season from Saturday 26 June to Sunday 18 July, book your Ballarat ice skating tickets now. Child-friendly, sensory sessions and disco sessions are also available.

When: Saturday 25 June – Sunday 17 July
Where: Armstrong Street South, Ballarat (between the Town Hall and Myer)

Knights of Fire and Snow Queen Neva at Kryal Castle

Ignite your imagination with Knights of Fire and Snow Queen Neva at Kryal Castle these winter school holidays.

Watch the spectacular ‘fire’ joust, be dazzled by flaming swords and fiery tricks in a festival of flames, be enchanted by Snow Queen Neva and journey through the chamber of the Dragon Labyrinth.

Pre-book your tickets to Kryal Castle.

When: 10am-4pm Saturday 25 June – Sunday 10 July
Where: 121 Forbes Road, Leigh Creek

Ballarat Wildlife Park

The Ballarat Wildlife Park will not be hibernating this winter with guests having the chance to see Honey Bun, a rare and special Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat. 

The park will also launch a unique new and thrilling Sumatran tiger encounter this winter with Satu, a critically endangered tiger. Learn how to make a difference toward saving this amazing species and take home a conservation gift bag.    

As part of the 2022 Ballarat winter Festival, Join the Ballarat Wildlife Park as they celebrate the arrival of Kai – Ballarat's newest Tiger. From Sat 25 Jun – Sun 31 Jul guests will be able to warm them up over a bowl of spicy Noodles whilst they enjoy meeting the Tigers.

During this time, there will also be an open fire in the bushman’s hut for all to warm up in between seeing the animals inside the park. Tiger encounters will also be available.

Book your ticket to Ballarat Wildlife Park.

When: 9am-5pm daily
Where: 250 Fussell Street, Ballarat

MORE TO EXPLORE in Ballarat these winter school holidays

Art Bites: Short Holiday Workshops

Art Bites is a short drop-off workshop program introducing kids to some fun ways to engage with art, at the iconic Art Gallery of Ballarat. It's suitable for ages 5 to 12 years.

Book your ticket for Art Bites at Art Gallery of Ballarat.

When: Tuesday 28 June, Thursday 30 June & Tuesday 5 July
Where: 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat 

Creative Art Fest

For two weeks, enjoy free creative fun that will spark your imagination! Enjoy activities such as: ceramic pot painting, sweet treat creations with Muffin Break and painting workshops with Pinot & Picasso.

All sessions are free with workshops for kids big and small. Sensitive sessions are available for children with sensory needs.

When: Mon 27 Jun 2022 – Sun 10 Jul

Where: 330 Gillies Street North, Wendouree

Creative Art Fest

Freeze And It Is Game Over

Get your blood pumping and test out your skills on the track as you enjoy the fast-paced action on the Go Kart track! Invite your friends and family or come by yourself.

Hot Tip: Ask about how you can receive a free beanie

When: Sat 25 Jun – Sun 10 Jul

Where: 502 Howitt Street, Ballarat North

Freeze And It Is Game Over

Tuki Trout Farm 

Tuki Trout Farm is open daily for trout fishing and you can catch your own lunch or experience the licensed restaurant. 

On top of this, for the 2022 Ballarat Winter Festival, each Saturday at twilight over the Winter School holidays, enjoy a short farm tour, some fishing and whatever your catch of the day is, Tuki Trout Farm will prepare it for your unique family dinner.

Book your tickets to Tuki Trout Farm.

When: 11am-5pm daily during school holidays
Where: 60 Stoney Rises Road, Smeaton

Book your tickets to Winter Family Dinner

When: 4 pm – 8pm 25 Jun 2022 – 09 Jul

Where: 60 Stoney Rises Road, Smeaton

Winter Family Dinner

Maze House 

Maze House is set in a beautiful five-acre garden featuring a creek, vegetable garden, orchard, cutting garden and native habitat, and of course the old hedge maze and a milk bar on site.

Get lost in this 28-year-old maze and find all the clues to navigate your way out of the Winter Maze Hunt to win a prize. After, test your skills by playing old-time carnival games dotted throughout the country garden.

Book your tickets to Maze House.

When: 10 am-4:30 pm Sat 25 Jun 2022 – Sun 10 Jul
Where: 3155 Midland Highway, Newlyn North

Ballarat fAMILY-FRIENDLY DINING 

From playgrounds and colouring-ins to crowd-pleasing kids’ meals, dining out in Ballarat with kids is easy.

Hydrant Food Hall Ballarat px
Hydrant Food Hall

From cafes and burger grills to hearty pizza and pasta, browse these fun family dining options

Orchard Café, Lucas

BALLARAT’S TOP ACCOMMODATION DEALS THIS WINTER 

Everybody loves a discount or special offer, especially when it comes to holidays. Browse some of Ballarat’s top family-friendly accommodation options. 

Lascelles Terraces Ballarat

PLAN YOUR ballarat TRIP NOW

Rug up and embrace the cold as Ballarat transforms into a winter playground with a myriad of experiences to warm your heart, soul and belly.     

For further information on events and activities these winter school holidays and beyond, check out visitballarat.com.au  

Lake Wendouree

Finally, as always, please refer to Victorian Government and the Department of Health to deliver regarding current COVID-Safe practices.


This post was published in collaboration with City of Ballarat

cropped Kristyna Hess Lockdown Portraits x

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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