Skip to main content

Ballarat and Surrounds

I realise it's a little generic to title this post so vaguely, but my visit to Ballarat a few weekends ago has been my only experience of the place. It's just a 1.5 hour drive from Melbourne and it had been a toss-up whether to go there, or to Bendigo. (They're very near each other and both start with 'B'... it seemed like much of a muchness to the uninitiated.)



It was a good decision. I was surprised at how genteel - and hilly - Ballarat is. There is some gorgeous historic architecture, which makes sense, when you consider the town's role in Australia's Gold Rush, and, with its wide streets and the central Lake Wendouree, it's quite pretty. Here are a few snaps from the weekend.

I loved how some buildings were clearly built in the Art Deco period.



There were several rotundas down the main street.



There were also lots of statues... of whom, I couldn't necessarily say. But this dude is pretty self-explanatory:



Gorgeous old industrial buildings:



Another great facade:



The accommodation we stayed at, Ballarat Premier Apartments, was beautifully decorated in its recent renovations, and featured a chandelier in our room (and many of the others, apparently):



I loved that this was even an option:



The lake on a winter's day.



Early evening at Lake Wendouree:



On the way back to Melbourne, we took the scenic route and found this great little pub in Dunnstown:



It had a picturesque pool room, complete with firewood:



There was lots of naturally occurring wattle growing alongside the road on the way back to Melbourne.



And beautiful country roads, like this one:



Who could say no to that?



http://visitballarat.com.au/

Popular posts from this blog

Spice Temple

Spice Temple  Neil Perry's Fine Dining Chinese Restaurant at Crown, Southbank, Melbourne
It's considered an institution in Melbourne, and with a chef to its name like Neil Perry, a location like Southbank, and an existence of six years in the Melbourne restaurant scene (when staying power is notoriously elusive), it's no wonder. Spice Temple's name is a pretty accurate description of the restaurant: food heavy in spices and spiciness; a dim space with a sort of hushed reverence.



The quiet tone of Spice Temple (Shop 7, Crown Complex, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank) could well be due to its design. With lots of dark wood and more traditional red and gold carpet, one might be forgiven for thinking it's a little dated. What keeps it current is the symmetrical and perpendicular fittings, creating neat squared-off eating nooks, and the dark, felt-like soundproofing material spaced out overhead, muffling any white noise.



Walking into the restaurant's reception area, yo…

Mr. Miyagi

It's the place that was made infamous by the 'chopsticks incident' last December, where a young Richmond Tigers AFL player drunkenly threatened to attack a woman dining nearby with his chopsticks. But of course, Mr. Miyagi had already developed a cult following well before that.



Opening in October 2013 on the ever-so-hip Windsor portion of Chapel Street, and tickling nostalgic fancies with its reference to 1984 classic The Karate Kid, the restaurant has enjoyed a steady stream of customers since. I remember stopping by with a friend one Thursday night mid last year to enquire about a table, and we were told it would be a two-hour wait. Well! Either this place is really good, I thought, or really good at hype.



I made a calculated plan with friends to score a table there on a Friday night recently. I rocked up nice and early, 6:45pm-ish, and put my name down for a table. They advised the wait would be approximately an hour, probably less, noted down my mobile number and enco…

Saint Crispin

When Smith Street had just become a local area for me, I used to walk past Cavallero and think about how I 'must try that place soon'. But as everyone knows, Smith Street (and surrounds) is not short of venues, and I must have been busy checking out all the others first, because before I knew it, Cavallero had closed and I had missed my chance. Apparently it had been struggling. Who then, would dare to take on the site, and what would they make of it? Smith Street is a prime location, but it's also full of competition. This would have to be good.



Enter Scott Pickett (Estelle Bistro) and Joe Grbac (The Press Club). Two chefs who used to work together at London's fancy-pants The Square (which boasts not one, but two Michelin stars), they joined forces to open a brand new venue as both business partners and co-head chefs. The result: Saint Crispin (300 Smith Street, Collingwood).

Named for the patron saint of shoemakers, Saint Crispin acknowledges its site's origins a…