To get all the feels of winter, the Ballarat Winter Festival may be the place to hang out over 25 June to 17 July 2022 from 9am to 7pm each day, as it sets to transform into a winter wonderland. Accompanied by a program of unique events, activities and offerings, it is set to dazzle and amaze again this year with an impressive lineup of returning favourites plus new experiences. Rug up and get amongst it as a plethora of experiences awaits you to warm your heart, soul and belly. Find out more here.
With a dazzling light show, full theatre program, hands-on kids' activities and more, this popular tourist attraction will again deliver a Christmas in July like no other. New to the festival this year is an event skyward bound. Skywhales: Every Heart Sings speaks about monumental hot air balloon sculptures created by renowned Australian artist Patricia Piccinini. Skywhale was created in 2013 and joined by Skywhalepapa, a companion balloon created in 2020, who also carries 9 baby skywhales in the shelter of his giant flippers. Its launch at the festival will be accompanied by music written by Canberra musician Jess Green aka Pheno, in collaboration with Piccinini. It's going to be spectacular as Pheno and her band perform for the launch and the moment of lift-off will be accompanied by the ethereal sounds of a 100-strong children's choir. Heavenly.
The festival is not just about the adults, as it takes the winter school holidays into consideration with Kryal Castle's Knights of Fire and Snow Queen Neva. You'll need to book early as it starts on 25 June. There'll be fire jousting, flaming swords, fiery tricks in a festival of flames and more. Can the Snow Queen Neva save the kingdom from eternal darkness? There's a Dragon Labyrinth, a maze, pantomimes, a wizard workshop, a potion-making workshop and the ancient art of archery. Test your skills of combat at Knights Training and you might be the new hero ready to battle the darkest depths of winter's powerful forces.
Another event the kids would love has to be the Pop-up Ice Rink as it returns to the festival. There are child friendly sessions recommended for parents and children up to 12 years of age on the weekdays from 9-10am. Bollywood on Ice sessions with live DJ Bobby M can be experienced on the 16th of July and sensory sessions with no music or flashing lights and restricted numbers is available every Thursdays from 9-10am. However if you do like the flashing lights and disco sessions, just pop in on Fridays and Saturday nights.
Children might also love to experience the sound, lights and wintry delights of Sovereign Hill's Winter Wonderlights. There's full theatre program, a dazzling light show, hands-on kid's activities and more. You might also want to join the Ballarat Wildlife Park as they welcome a new Tiger named Kai to the park, and as part of the festival. To celebrate you'll be able to purchase a bowl of spicy noodles to warm you while meeting the tigers. In between seeing all the other animals in the park, the bushman's hut will have an open fire blazing to keep you warm.
The Design Exchange Winter Market is a great drawcard as who doesn't love to shop and support small businesses, local creatives and handmade goodies. This market is going to be a winter fiesta like none other before. Think fire pits, art, new and innovative creators and designers, big stage, wintery foods and mulled wine, live music and roving performances at the inaugural Beyond Dark at Alfred Deakin Place and Camp Street. There's so much happening in Ballarat, you might just want to grab some accommodation and spend a weekend there or have a short holiday and immerse yourself in the festival. Find out what other events and other attractions there are to enjoy. Get yourself a Ballarat Pass and select from five packages to explore some of the incredible fun-filled activities Ballarat has to offer.