The best way to start a cold Ballarat day, in my book, is with a warm hearty breakfast. We popped into the Pancake Parlour early Saturday morning with hungry children who were eager to get their hands on some pancakes. I adore the Pancake Parlour, it’s not a place l visit regularly but when we do go we make sure we order a load of pancakes for the table, along with a few large glasses of frothy milkshakes. The Pancake Parlour offers a fantastic kids menu and with dishes like Alice’s Wonderland Surprise and the Mad Hatter’s Special it's sure to make any child excited about the most important meal of the day. The kid’s meals also come with colouring sheets and crayons which is an added bonus. I found the service to be warm and friendly and the restaurant has a rustic yet cosy vibe to it. The Pancake Parlour is set over 4 levels so it’s not wise to bring the pram or wait for a last minute toilet dash. They are situated right on the top level as Mr 2 and l discovered. And, be warned, the serving sizes are huge. Not ideal for those who are counting calories!
After a fulfilling breakfast it was time to throw the kids into the car and head out to the Creswick Tangled Maze which is about a half hour drive from the main town of Ballarat. We were a little disappointed the day we visited the maze as it was raining quite heavily so we didn’t get to take advantage of the beautiful grounds. We did however take a walk around the maze, luckily we’d brought our gumboots as there were lots of puddles to jump in, much to the children’s delight. Also the maze offers an onsite mini golf course for older children and a life size chess board for the thinkers. On a sunny day this would be the perfect spot to hang out for a few hours with the family.
So what do you do when it’s pouring rain in Ballarat? You go look for a spot to have lunch! After a busy morning the kids were hungry – again, so we popped into The Forge Pizzeria for a quick and easy meal. I do love visiting country restaurants, there is always an open fire on offer and service is friendly. The kids were especially excited as there was a dedicated kids’ corner for them to amuse themselves. Mr Bambini was also excited as Forge Pizzeria offer a fantastic gourmet beer list to choose from. The pizzas were amazing, in fact l’d go as far to say they’re the best in Ballarat. The wood fired pizzas are topped with quality local ingredients, there is not a slice of plastic processed ham or chunk of tinned pineapple in sight. Their menu is fresh and has loads of options for all including gluten free and vegetarian. Our personal favourites were the Margheritta pizza topped with fresh stringy bocconcini and the scrumptious Wild Rocket Salad with Wood Fired Pumpkin. It would have been lovely to stay inside all day grazing on food and gourmet beer but the kids need to be entertained.
The next activity l had planned to do was to swing past the Ballarat Wildlife Park, which is a well-known family run Ballarat attraction. Again we were greeted with rain but we pushed on knowing the kids would get a stack of enjoyment from this visit. We arrived just in time to see a Koala show, complete with a mini cuddle and pat! The boys loved feeding the friendly resident wallaby, peering into the Tassie devil enclosure, chasing emus and checking out the reptile enclosure. l think we went into the enclosure 3 times!. It’s not a huge park but it’s very clean, well-managed and it's an excellent spot to let the kids have a run. I think the wildlife park was the highlight for the boys, that and ice-cream for breakfast at the Pancake Parlour.
To cap off a busy day we decided to pop up to the lake for a tram ride and a spot of dinner. The kids enjoyed exploring the tram museum and l enjoyed learning a bit of history about the Ballarat trams and why they don’t operate around town anymore, daggy but true! We had a ride on the tram which is short 20 minute trip around a small part of Lake Wendouree. Mr 4 even got to see how a whole vintage tram seat is pulled apart thanks to his clumsy ways. He was so excited about looking out the window of the tram that he dropped his wallet between the seat and the wall of the tram, which had to be removed by our conductor, a friendly local gent and a helpful Japanese tourist. You just can’t take us anywhere! After a few red faces and apologies the Lightening McQueen wallet and its contents of $4.25 were safely retrieved.
After the tram drama we stopped into The Boat Shed for a well-deserved glass of vino and some eats. The kids selected a few meals from the kids menu while Mr Bambini and l re-hashed the busy day over a few share plates of nibbles. All in all, we had a fabulous day and even though the rain dampened the ground and our coats it didn’t dampen our experience, Ballarat had put on another fantastic day for us and our family.
Pancake Parlour - 2 Grenville Street South Ballarat
High Chairs - Kids Menu - Colouring Pages - Crayons
The Tangled Maze - 2301 Midland Highway Springmount
The Forge Pizzeria - 14 Armstrong St Ballarat
High Chairs - Kids Eats - Change Table - Kids Corner - Crayons - Blackboard
Ballarat Wildlife Park - Corner York & Fussell Streets - Ballarat East
Ballarat Tram Museum - Wendouree Parade - Ballarat
The Boat Shed Restaurant - 27a Lake Wendouree Foreshore Ballarat
High Chairs - Kids Menu
**We were guests of Ballarat Tourism. This post reflects my experience of Ballarat and this story is my very own, to have and to hold!**