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The autumn leaves have all but fallen, the air is crisp and a family day trip to Ballarat in winter isn't always going to be everyone's cup of tea, though, if you're like us and don't mind keeping active to stay warm, then you may enjoy some of these cheap and free family friendly activities as much as we did.
First up was a visit to the Ballarat Rotary market, which in it's peak times has 400 stalls comprising of everything from trash and treasure, food stalls, plants, kids jumping castle, fruit and vegetables, art and crafts and homemade goods. I found more than a few things that reminded me of my childhood, take the Tupperware pictured below for example. We also managed to squeeze in a big bag of potatoes into the already packed car and a few native plants (might I say, the potatoes are the best we've had) .The market is held every Sunday at the Ballarat showgrounds from 8am-1pm. For more information click here.
A quick bite for lunch at the family friendly Beechworth bakery seemed like the place to be. It was full of locals, kids sporting teams and a few day trippers like ourselves. We chose the cheese toasties with thick white bread oozing with melted tasty cheese, perfect winter comfort food in my books and at a very reasonable $3.50 each, they certainly come in under budget. Hot pies and sausage rolls were flying out the door and everything behind the glass display cabinets looked tasty and fresh.For more info and a menu click here.
A short drive from the centre of Ballarat over to Lake Wendouree brought us to the Ballarat Tram Museum and historical tram ride. With a little train buff amongst the family we generally look for places to go that can incorporate a train/tram ride for him to enjoy but admittedly I think we all found it enjoyable. Although the track is only 1.3km long now, it still took 15-20min with a few stops to talk about the history of the Ballarat tramway and for the kids to take turns standing near the tram driver to see how the tram operated. Tickets cost $4 adults, $2 children and the museum entry is free and worth a look. For more info click here.
From the tram we decided the best way to see Lake Wendouree at it's best was to stroll around the entire lake along the 5.9km Steve Moneghetti track with the kids on their scooters. This gave us the opportunity to mix with the locals on their afternoon walk/run, stop and look at the swans and the ducks on the lake, play in the fallen leaves and admire the beautiful houses around the lake before the winter sunshine started to fade.
Last but not least, the Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground. Possibly the reason the kids made it around the lake without too much fuss in the first place as this was our start/finish point. This playground is fantastic and on a warmer day you could spend a long time here having a picnic, playing ball sports and off course playing on the playground equipment. There are many swings, slides, climbing frames, obstacles, a flying fox and much more. You can read about the playground in more detail here.
If hunger strikes you will be happy to know that behind the playground is Pipers by the Lake, a restaurant in a peaceful setting with lovely views over the lake. Unfortunately we didn't get the chance to dine there on this occasion due to time restrictions and a long drive home with the children but I look forward to returning and also visiting the Ballart Botanical Gardens which are located on the opposite side of the road from the restaurant and playground.
All in all we had a fantastic time in Ballarat and I hope this article helps to give you a few family friendly ideas for an affordable day trip to Ballarat. If you would like to share your knowledge or make a suggestion of family friendly things to do in Ballarat, then please leave a message.