THERE'S a lot you can do at this year’s Ballarat Begonia Festival and here’s our recommendations to make a weekend of it.
Head into the CBD to fuel yourself up for your big day ahead. Think smoothie bowls, eggs benedict, smashed avocado on toast, big breakfasts, waffles, pancakes and more! Start your day at Little Bird for a retro vibe, Hydrant Food Hall for brunch in a warehouse with a fun children’s play area or family-friendly Europa Cafe.
Now that you’re ready to go, head to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens for the 67th annual Ballarat Begonia Festival. Explore the gardens, wander around Lake Wendouree, enjoy the entertainment and many festival favourites such as the gardeners' market, fish hatchery tours, tram rides, and the Floral Carousel by Floral Art Group. Enjoy performances and talks from special guests dirtgirl, Costa Georgiadis and Paul West.
Need to recharge? The festival will have plenty of food and drink options ranging from international eats, sweet treats, specialty coffee, craft beer and loads more. Experience a local favourite eatery at the Begonia Courtyard with The Forge Pizzeria.
Flower enthusiast or not, we highly recommend you visit the Robert Clark Conservatory. This is where all of the festival glory lives. As you enter the conservatory, you'll be immersed in the beauty and colour of the festival centrepiece — the begonia display. Specially curated by the City of Ballarat, the display features more than 600 begonias from the garden's tuberous and non-tuberous collections. There will also be a tranquil water display landscaped with ferns from the City of Ballarat’s nursery.
Then head back to the Begonia Festival and enjoy the free children’s activities and entertainment, including the Circus Drop Zone and Comedy Cafe, obstacle course, Pot-A-Plant with BotaniKIDS, the Super Sandpit, the Garden Trail Competition and much more!
Love craft? Make a beeline for the spinning and weaving demonstrations, the Ballarat Woodworkers Guild Exhibition and the Creative Designer’s Market.
This year, the festival has moved towards a more sustainable focus and a highlight will be a five-metre giant turtle which visitors will fill with single-use plastic bottles to create a visual representation of the burden of plastic waste.
All day brunch? Yes please! Soak up the sunshine at Webster's Market and Cafe, a vibrant foodie spot on Webster street.
Next up, immerse yourself in the festivities at the renowned Begonia Festival Parade, with local businesses, schools and community groups uniting to celebrate the city's diversity and community spirit. Beginning at 11am, the showcase will be held along Wendouree Parade.
Still up for more adventure? Ballarat has many must-do attractions to immerse yourself in including family-favourite Sovereign Hill, the Ballarat Wildlife Park, Kryal Castle, the Art Gallery of Ballarat, and the Eureka Centre.