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Top 10 Things to Do in Ballarat with Kids

sovereign hill

Ballarat is one of Victoria’s major regional centres in the centre of the Goldfields region. The 1.5 hour drive from Melbourne means its doable in a day but with so many things to do and places to eat it’s worthwhile enjoying a longer stay.

Here are our family-friendly tips for a weekend away to Ballarat.


  1. The Miners Church, Buninyong

We chose to visit Ballarat on a particularly busy weekend (Clunes Booktown Festival) so we decided to base ourselves in the outskirts of Ballarat in Buninyong, about a 20 minute drive.  Thanks to a reader tip we stayed in The Miners Church. I was such a wonderfully quirky place and so kid-friendly that we can’t wait to return.

miner's church

Our 3 bedroom cottage was $200 a night. This included a substantial cook-your-own breakfast with freshly laid eggs, bacon, homemade bread, cereal, and muffins.  The owners provided a portacot and high chair at no extra charge. Best of all, kids had a ball, with gardens to explore, trees to climb and a whole separate games room in a replica schoolhouse. READ THE REVIEW.


2. Forge Pizzeria – the best pizza in town with a separate children’s area to play. READ THE REVIEW.

mallow hotel

3. The Mallow – relaxed pub with a courtyard, colouring-in and kids menu. READ THE REVEW.

L'Espresso Ballarat

4. L’Espresso – the best coffee in Ballarat (so I’m told) and the food was pretty good but the venue can be too squashy and dark with young children who want to move around!

L'Espresso Ballarat

5. Saltbush Kitchen – simple cafe fare using native Australian ingredients located at M.A.D.E. READ THE REVIEW.

saltbush kitchen

6. Other reader tips included :


7. Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground – huge playground suitable for all ages by beautiful Lake Wendouree. READ THE REVIEW.

Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground, Windmill Drive, Ballarat

8. Eureka Gardens playground at M.A.D.E – Eureka stockade themed playground at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka. READ THE REVIEW.

eureka playground ballarat

9. Sovereign Hill – the biggest tourist attraction in town and worth visiting with either under 5s (who are free) or older children who will appreciate the history on display. READ THE REVIEW.

sovereign hill

10. Other reader tips include:

For more tourist information for Ballarat and surrounds go to Visit Ballarat.

What are your favourite tips for family-friendly Ballarat?



Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned entrepreneur. She combines her love for kids, food, travel and bikes into several passion projects.

She owns an online bike store; develops and produces bike-related creative experiences for families via; and writes another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne with (non-kid related) reviews about things to do and places to go in Melbourne.

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

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