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Winter Fun at the Ballarat Winter Festival

We returned to beautiful Ballarat this weekend for the annual Ballarat Winter Festival and the Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill.

I first heard about this incredible festival last year from Kylie Fraser and as soon as we arrived last year I knew it was going to become an annual tradition.

This year we took along my nephew Ollie, my sister Sophie and her husband Symon and my Mum and Dad too to witness the winter magic!

After checking into our apartment at Quest Ballarat our first stop was Sovereign Hill for the #winterwonderlights.

Winter Wonderlights

Each year the entire village at Sovereign Hill is transformed into a snowy winter wonderland. As the sun sets, snowflakes fall down Main Street and a magical light show begins.

While we waited for the Winter Wonderlights to turn on, the Redcoat Soldiers were marching down Main Street; we enjoyed craft activities in the Marquee and the kids panned for gold. Alex was convinced that a rock that he found was a piece of gold!

By 5.15pm the fairy lights were on and Ollie loved exploring the village and the thousands of twinkling lights.

The photo above is of my Mum and Dad with Ava and Alex and my nephew Ollie.

Pictured above is my brother-in-law Symon who took lots of the photos featured in this blog post. Thanks Sym!

Waiting for the light show to begin!

At 5.50pm the lightshow began and it was every bit as magical as last year. Thousands of people lined up down Main Street to watch the stunning display.

Winter Wonderlights is running at Sovereign Hill until 21 July and you can find out all the details and book tickets at


Our next stop was dinner at The Pub With Two Names. This incredible art pub is a joint venture between David and Yuge Bromley and Donatello Pietrantuono and Iain Gunn's Ballarat hospitality group (the latter of whom also owns Carboni’s Italian Restaurant).

The eclectic venue is packed with original artworks - check out the stunning David Bromley pieces which were right at our table!

However, it isn’t just about the art – The Pub With Two Names takes its food and wine just as seriously and our meals were all sensational.

The Pub with Two Names is at 331 Mair St, Ballarat.


The next morning we enjoyed Breakfast at Hydrant Food Hall, a former Fire Hydrant warehouse that has been transformed into a funky café and food hall. Hydrant Food Hall is tucked off a laneway and even has a Cubbyhouse inside for the kids to play. The food and coffee was fabulous - Pete’s Hydrant breakfast board (see below) was one of the highlight dishes! There was a fantastic kids menu too.

Hydrant Food Hall is located at 3 McKenzie Street, Ballarat.

Our kids loved exploring the cubby house at Hydrant Food Hall. They even came and took our coffee orders from the cubby!

Ballarat Wildlife Park

The final stop on our Ballarat mini break was a visit to Ballarat Wildlife Park.

This animal sanctuary and wildlife park features an enormous kangaroo park and you get to feed the roaming kangaroos and emus. Once again the kangaroos proved to be Ava & Alex's favourite animals and they loved finding the joeys and making sure they were getting enough to eat!

They also loved seeing the wombats and koalas, meerkats, the giant tortoises and the alpacas too.

For more information about the Ballarat Wildlife Park, visit

It really was the most perfect wintry getaway and a huge thank you to Visit Ballarat for hosting our family for the Ballarat Winter Festival! Thank you also to Sovereign Hill and Tamara at Esencia Communications for hosting us at Sovereign Hill. For further information about The Ballarat Winter Festival, visit

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