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Ballarat for FREE

22 December 2016

Ballarat for Free

A fun family day in Ballarat doesn’t need to be expensive.  We have compiled a selection of free activities you may wish to explore.

 

Gardens, Reserves and Places of Historical Significance

Eureka Stockade, 102 Stawell St South, Ballarat

The Museum of Australian Democracy or M.A.D.E is located on the site of the infamous Eureka Stockade rebellion.  There is a fee to enter the museum but you can walk around the park and a memorial to the Stockade has been erected to the right of the car park with information on the rebellion.  Alternatively, download the Eureka Trails guide and take a walk around the points of significance to the battle of 3rd December 1854 which is widely held to be the starting point of Australian democracy  Eureka Trails

Botanical Gardens, Wendouree Parade, Ballarat

In 1858 a decision was made to convert the Ballarat Police Horse Paddock into a Botanical Garden and now today, over 150 years later we have what is considered one of Australia’s most significant cool climate gardens.  The Botanical Gardens encompass 40 hectares of gardens, avenues and art.  Free tours take place in Autumn and Spring at 11am on Sundays or free walking guides can be downloaded at http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/lae/gardens/ballarat-botanical-gardens.aspx

Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial, Wendouree Parade, Ballarat

Local sculpture Peter Blizzard has created a monument to the memory of more than 35,000 Australians held prisoner during the Boer War, First and Second World War and the Korean War.

The Avenue of Honour and Arch of Victory, Ballarat to Burrumbeet Road

The Avenue of Honour began in May 1917 when Mrs Tillie Thomson began implementing the idea that trees should be planted in honour of the brave servicemen and women from Ballarat who lost their lives in the First World War.  The first planting took place on 3rd June 1917 and comprised of 1000 trees with the final planting taking place 2 years later in August 1919.  A total of 3,771 trees now extend over a distance of 22 kilometres with the Arch of Victory being added as a suitably grand entry point in 1920.  For further information  Arch of Victory

 

Children’s Playgrounds

Travelling with young children and looking to wear of some energy before heading back to your room, these are 4 of our favourites all within a short drive of the hotel:

Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground, Windmill Drive, Lake Wendouree. 

A wonderful wooden structure which evokes dreams of knights, castles, dragons and fairy tales.  Accessible swing, toilets and BBQs are all close by along with ample parking and ducks or swans to feed.

Indigenous Playground, Windmill Drive, Lake Wendouree. 

Just a short walk from the Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground but a totally different feel and atmosphere. Mosaic animals line the path, eagles soar high above and giant wooden platypus hide down below along with a little sandpit and storyboards telling traditional tales. 

Eureka Playground, corner Stawell St South & Eureka St, Ballarat East (beside M.A.D.E)

Another large wooden playground with a Eureka Stockade theme, think wooden troops standing guard and climbing walls to breach defences, marching drums to announce your arrival and tunnels to hide in.  Lots of fun for young and old.

Victoria Park All Inclusive Playspace, Winter St, Ballarat

Brand new and hugely exciting, this play space is accessible for all children and comes with flying foxes, all weather water play, multiple swings, slides and carousel.

 

Cycling

Ballarat is essentially flat and hence, perfect for getting around on 2 wheels.  Either bring your own cycle or pop down to reception and arrange hire of the bikes we have on-site.  Children’s bikes can be arranged with prior notice.

Skipton Rail Trail is 56km and runs between Ballarat and Skipton through native grasslands, past historical gold mining sites and over an impressive trestle bridge near Newtown.  The trail starts at Wendouree Station and follows a former railway opened in the 1890’s. Rail Trails
Yarrowee River Trail travels along the Yarrowee River from the Gong Gong Reservoir Park and the hamlet of Magpie.  It passes forests, wetlands, paddocks and native plantings and finishes in Ballarat.   It is 16km long and starts/finishes at Ballarat Railway Station.  Yarrowee River Trail
Lake Wendouree itself is situated just a few minutes’ drive from the hotel.  It is a man-made lake, and former host of the rowing and canoeing for the 1956 Olympics.  There is a 6km path around the lake which is suitable for bikes, pushchairs or walking. 

 

Transport

City Circle  Free city circle bus

Operating between 8am and 6pm daily, the free hop-on hop-off service in the CBD has 10 convenient stops and departs approximately every 10 minutes.  The City Circle travels between Ballarat hospitals, shops and cafes along Sturt Street between Bridge Mall and Drummond St. 

Prior to starting any explorations of Ballarat, you might want to pop into the Ballarat Regional Tourism office located in the Town Hall, 225 Sturt St, Ballarat or visit their website at Visit Ballarat