Ballarat Winter Festival helping the hip-pocket these school holidays

Mayor Cr Des Hudson standing in a dark room lit by candles alongside people dressed in dark capes, vintage clothing, a baby kangaroo and food.

Ballarat Mayor Cr Des Hudson alongside representatives from some of the upcoming Ballarat Winter Festival activities.

It’s time to dust off the winter coat, pull on the beanie and embrace the cold – the Ballarat Winter Festival is coming.

This year the Ballarat Winter Festival will celebrate a special milestone, give a boost to local businesses, and offer discounted entertainment for people during tough economic times.

By simply collecting a discount code from any Ballarat hospitality or tourism business when you spend $25 or more, you will receive 15 per cent off your ice-skating ticket.

This year will be the 10th anniversary of the ice-skating rink, which has become a staple of the festival program.

The ice-skating rink will be open for the entire three-week festival, spanning from Saturday 29 June to Sunday 21 July. Located in Armstrong Street South, the winter icon will bring thousands of visitors and locals into the heart of Ballarat.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson said the Ballarat Winter Festival was the perfect festival for families during the winter school holidays.

“We are very aware of the impact that high cost of living is having at the moment, that’s why we’ve tried to keep the cost of ice-skating to a minimum, while also helping our hospitality businesses,” he said.

“After a very successful Heritage Festival and White Night, we look forward to delivering another event to Ballarat and welcoming even more visitors to our city.

“The weather might be cold, but the Winter Festival makes Ballarat a true winter destination.”

In addition to the ice-skating rink special offer, there will be a range of Winter Festival favourites back once again, plus a few new delights on offer.

Like the ice-skating, Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlights will celebrate its 10th birthday, while Frozen Kingdom at Kryal Castle will take you on an enchanting journey.

The Ballarat Mining Exchange will feature a series of events during the Ballarat Winter Festival. Beer lovers will have the chance to raise a glass at the inaugural Obsidian Dark Beer Festival, while the Design Exchange will take place the following weekend on 6-7 July.

And for those keen to indulge in some dramatic live music by candlelight, the Mining Exchange will also come alive with a tribute to Queen on Saturday 13 July.

View the full program at


Ballarat Ice Skating Rink

Brace yourself for a magical experience at the always popular Ballarat Winter Festival ice-rink, located in the heart of the city next to the Town Hall. The rink will offer child-friendly, sensory and disco skating sessions, providing fun for the whole family.

  • When: 29 June – 21 July
  • Times: Sunday – Thursday 9am to 8.30pm; Friday and Saturday 9am to 10pm
  • Where: Ballarat CBD (next to the Ballarat Town Hall)
  • Tickets: $9 - $18 | Book at
Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill

Prepare to be dazzled and mesmerised as Winter Wonderlights celebrates 10 years. Featuring a spectacular blend of sound, lights and wintry delights, this immersive experience includes a shimmering light show; a full theatre program; delectable treats; falling snow; hands-on kids' activities; and much more, delivering a unique Christmas in July experience unlike anywhere else.

  • When: 28 June – 21 July
  • Time: 10am to 7pm
  • Where: Sovereign Hill – Bradshaw Street, Golden Point (Ballarat)
  • Tickets: $36-$68 | Book at

Frozen Kingdom at Kryal Castle

Embark on an enchanting journey into the heart of the Frozen Kingdom at Kryal Castle where guests will become part of an immersive story, set in a world of magic and mystery. Participants will aid Princess Neva in her quest to reunite with her companions and choose the champion who will vanquish the darkness.

  • When: 29 June – 14 July
  • Time: 10am to 4pm
  • Where: Kryal Castle – 121 Forbes Road, Leigh Creek (Ballarat)
  • Tickets: $26.50 - $39.50 | Book at

Obsidian Dark Beer Festival

Raise a glass at the inaugural Obsidian Dark Beer Festival, featuring a rich assortment of stout, porter and dark ale selections from local and regional breweries, accompanied by live music and comforting food. Taste more than 28 darks beers from 14 independent breweries including Aunty Jacks, Cubby Haus, Red Duck, Holgate, Shedshaker and Bells Beach.

  • When: 29 June
  • Times: Two sessions; 11am–3pm and 4pm–8pm
  • Where: Ballarat Mining Exchange – 16 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat Central
  • Tickets: $72 - $85 | Book at

The Design Exchange

Discover the talents of Ballarat's independent designers, artists, and creators at the Design Exchange, a showcase event celebrating artistry and craftsmanship.

  • When: 6-7 July
  • Times: Saturday 3pm to 9pm; Sunday 10am to 3pm
  • Where: Ballarat Mining Exchange – 16 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat Central
  • Tickets: $5 per person with kids under 13 free

Candlelight Concerts

Candlelight Concerts will bring the magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations like never seen before in Ballarat. Audiences will be enchanted by performances of ‘Best of Hans Zimmer’ and ‘Tribute to Queen’ in an intimate candlelit setting.

  • When: 13 July
  • Times: 6pm - ‘Best of Hans Zimmer and more’; 8pm – ‘Tribute to Queen’
  • Where: Ballarat Mining Exchange – 16 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat Central
  • Tickets: $26 - $66 | Book at