BALLARAT is a city renowned Australia-wide as a cycling hotspot, with the FedUni Cycling RoadNats held here every January. Here's how we think you should spend your RoadNats visit.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 4
Morning: Breakfast at Fika
Enjoy a seasonal breakfast accompanied by a cup of Sensory Lab coffee at this Scandinavian-inspired café that oozes all the hygge feels.
Morning ride: The cityscape
Ride up and down Ballarat’s main thoroughfare Sturt Street and admire the historic architecture and tree-lined boulevards. Make your way to the iconic Arch of Victory before heading back into the city.
Afternoon: The Art Gallery of Ballarat
Ballarat is known for its major attractions, and The Art Gallery of Ballarat is one of the city’s most-loved. Ride along the historic Lydiard Street where you'll reach your destination before satisfying the culture vulture inside you at the oldest and largest regional art gallery.
Evening: Dinner at The Pub with Two Names
Settle in for a contemporary pub meal at this newly-opened Bromley space. Surround yourself with artistic wonders from the Bromley and Co. catalogue, and indulge in an equally wonderful dinner straight from the grill.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 5
Morning: Buninyong ride
Set out to the township of Buninyong, where cycling tracks and wonderments abound. Test your endurance on the Mount Buninyong circuit as part of the MS National Gran Fondo, or venture along your own cycle along the hills and streetscapes of this historic village.
Afternoon: Explore Buninyong
The Road Races give you the perfect opportunity to explore this township. Settled before Ballarat, Buninyong's main street has some great examples of goldfields architecture which you can discover along the Buninyong Heritage Walk – with stops including the Town Hall, the Old Library and Mechanics’ Institute, and the Police Court House. The village also boasts several bakeries and cafes, as well as the beautiful Buninyong Botanic Gardens – the perfect place to savour the weekend, coffee in-hand.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 6
- Road Races: U23 Women; Elite Women; Elite Men
Morning: Ride the lake
Take a few laps around the iconic 6-kilometre Lake Wendouree, and admire the natural surrounds and native fauna along the way.
Breakfast: Europa Café
Before you head into Buninyong for the day's races, hit up one of the lakeside cafes or find your table at Europa Café in the CBD (a local favourite amongst cyclists) and fuel up with a wholesome breakfast and coffee to kick start your day.
Afternoon: Wallaby Track
If you've still got some energy left in the day, tackle a portion or two of the Goldfields Track's Wallaby Track. The 25 kilometre segment between Ballarat and Creswick includes gentle gradients and lung busting climbs as you head into the Dividing Range. With long sections of singletrack through open native forest – it’s great riding with a few climbs to test the legs.
Dinner: Mitchell Harris Wine Bar
Enjoy some seasonal fare accompanied by a glass of the region's top drops at this award-winning wine bar. You've earned it.