Ballarat and surrounds is full of beautiful hidden gems, swimming holes and stunning parklands to discover.
And with the long summer days, it's the perfect time to explore all the natural wonders of the region.
Here are our top picks:
Located in Buninyong, this delightful bush reserve provides accessible walks for all ages. Take the Long Loop Walk which crosses over gullies and meanders along ridge tops. You'll be in awe.
Located about half an hour outside of Ballarat, this swimming lagoon and surrounding parkland is tucked away in the little hamlet of Rokewood. There's not a whole lot of people who know about this spot, so consider yourself one of the chosen few!
A beautiful streamside reserve 35 minutes from Ballarat, this space is perfect for the whole family. Take the kids and enjoy a couple of days camping and bring your doggies along too! Just make sure they're on a lead.
This reserve has spectacular basalt columns, dramatic cliff lines and the resident Peregrine Falcon may even be sighted! It is only 30 minutes from Ballarat, along the Pitfield-Scarsdale road.
A popular spot for all ages, St Georges Lake was once a mining dam but today serves as a great summer base for water activities. If you're not in the mood to make a splash, take a hike around the lake's edge and surround yourself in nature's embrace before having a serene picnic or BBQ.
A popular spot with locals and visitors alike, the walks at the Enfield State Park offer a rich diversity of wildflowers including stunning native orchids. Try your hand at fossicking, just ensure you have your licence and check the map for the permitted areas. Other great activities include horse riding, cycling and picnicking in the park.
One of Victoria’s best preserved gold mining sites, this area is a great place to explore local gold mining history. Relics include old cyanide vats, mullock heaps, ruins and water races. While having a picnic, imagine this now quiet place packed with people trying to find their luck on the goldfields.
Fancy a dip to shake off the summer heat? Lake Esmond was originally a quarry for Eureka Tile Works until 1982 until its official opening as a lake in 1988. Named after the discovery of gold and Eureka Stockade leader, James Esmond, it has developed into an invaluable source of passive recreation for nature lovers and bird observers, as well as a great location to enjoy a swim or a picnic.
Situated right in Ballarat, this park offers great walks, views, wildflowers, birds and the chance to even spot a koala! Serenity doesn't get much better.
Another great Creswick swim spot, Calembeen Lake and its tranquil surrounds are a firm local favourite. With a picturesque walking track, this space provides the chance to take part in a whole range of summer recreational activities including fishing, swimming or bushwalking. But don't be get too excited by the jumping towers, which can't be used any more for safety reasons!