Ballarat Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights Festival – things to do with kids!

We were invited to visit the Ballarat Winter Wonderlights and found a magical winter wonderland to delight every family!

Bathurst Winter Festival

Winter is usually the time to batten down the hatches and stay indoors, but the Ballarat Winter Festival is the perfect excuse to take a weekend or winter school holidays trip away, and banish those Melbourne winter blues!

No time to read? Watch our 2019 Ballarat Winter Festival YouTube video

This family-friendly festival offers a whole bunch of wintery fun to enjoy together. Ballarat is an easy two hour’s drive from the Melbourne CBD, so it makes for the perfect winter escape.

There are a range of fun activities and attractions on offer, plus plenty of excellent family accommodation options available. The whole city of Ballarat gets into the spirit of the festival. There are special interactive art murals (viewable with a special app downloaded to your phone) to be found down charming paved laneways. A huge range of fabulous family-friendly restaurants are scattered around the city too, featuring delicious, and sometimes quite unusual, menu options – such as these rainbow pancakes!

Ballarat rainbow pancakes

The Ballarat Winter Festival certainly has a great line-up of stand-out attractions. Let’s take a closer look at some must-see events and locations to visit during your visit…

The Ballarat Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights Festival

No time to read? Watch our Ballarat Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights YouTube video

First up of course is the big-guns of the Ballarat Winter Festival – the famous Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights. Sovereign Hill is a simply brilliant family attraction at any time of the year, but in Winter it comes alive with a magical paintbox of projected colours and animations.

During the day you can visit this wonderfully recreated historical village as normal. There are period shops and buildings to explore, underground mine train tours, creek gold panning, horse and coach rides and so much more. When evening falls, the entire village is transformed into a magically-lit wonderland. Take a walk through long fairy light tunnels lining the lake. Enjoy free craft activities for the kids, and yummy seasonal fare inside the heated pavilion.

Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights Festival

On main street, gasp in wonder as flames erupt from the big chimney stack. Your kids will be enchanted by – and perhaps even dance in – the faux “snow” which drifts down around them. Fun, colourful animations light up the buildings in a fantastical display of wonderous proportions, unique to this popular tourist destination. This is a whole new dimension to Sovereign Hill you’ve never seen before – and it will have your whole family wanting to return to, year after year.

The Ballarat Winter Festival Ice Rink

Ballarat Winter Festival ice skating

What is winter without going for an ice skate, and in Ballarat you’ll find a great ice skating installation right in the middle of the city! Rug up in your most stylish winter-woollies and hit the The Ballarat Winter Festival Ice Rink for a fun morning or afternoon skate. There are several skating sessions each day of the festival. In addition to standard ice skate hire there are super-cute sliding penguins for the beginners or little kids. There are special strap-on skates available too for even the tiniest of toddlers and pre-schoolers to make it a great fun experience for everyone.

Ballarat Winter Festival 2019 Winteractive Arcade

Ballarat Winter Festival Winteractive

One of the really fun and unusual Ballarat attractions during the 2019 Winter Festival would have to be the Winteractive Arcade. This high-tech interactive event was open on two weekends during the Winter Festival, and had us entertained for an entire afternoon. Located in the grand old Mining Exchange building, interactive art animates in fascinating ways thanks to a downloadable free app. There’s also interactive fashion you, virtual reality (VR) stations – it’s all awesome fun!

If you have a gamer in your family then they are going to love taking part in playing in the five-player competitions on the big screen, plus there are smaller gaming stations too. A café onsite takes care of anyone wanting a break, or simply waiting for their kids to become bored (here’s a tip – never happens!). Definitely don’t miss this one!

More things to do in Ballarat with kids!


Ballarat Art Gallery

Visit the Art Gallery of Ballarat


Ballarat Wildlife Park

Visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park


Ballarat Lake Wendouree

Take a walk around Lake Wendouree

Ballarat Winter Festival useful info

Ballarat Winter Festival 2019 event dates:
June 29-July 21
2019 Winteractive Arcade dates:
29–30 June and 13–14 July 2019.
11am– 5pm
2019 Winteractive Arcade Ticket prices:
Adults: $10
6–16 yrs: $5
Under 6: Free

Go to website to find out more!

The Let’s Go Mum family were paid guests of Visit Ballarat tourism board. As always, all opinions are strictly our own.

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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at!