So I (Bell) am originally from a town called Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. It’s a 1 and 1/2 hour drive outside Melbourne. When we’re back in Australia visiting, I enjoy going back and bringing Alex along to do things I enjoyed as a child. One might ask what is there to do in Ballarat, my teenage self would have said NOTHING, but that isn’t entirely true. There is the Ballarat Wildlife Park which is pretty cool for checking out native Australian wildlife. And while I haven’t been in decades there is Sovereign Hill, where you can experience the history of the gold rush. I often found myself hanging out around Lake Wendouree as a teenager, and as I child I thought the Ballarat Botanical gardens were where fairies lived.
On our recent trip to Australia, we went back to Ballarat and Alex, myself and my mum all enjoyed walking around the Botanical gardens. To be honest I hadn’t been there in a long time, and quite enjoyed smelling all the plants in the sensory garden, which has things like mint, rosemary and lavender. Actually, all of us enjoyed this part of the garden quite a lot.
If you find yourself in Ballarat, I do recommend a walk around the Botanical gardens. They aren’t as spectacular as some other gardens, but if it is a sunny day it is a lovely place to visit beside lovely Lake Wendouree. Three years ago the lake was sadly empty due to drought and I was happy to recently see it return to its former self, as a lake rather than a dust bowl.
On a more personal note, my teenage self may have loathed living in a smaller town, but it is part of who I am no matter where I go. And no trip for me is complete without a visit to see my father in Ballarat, may he rest in peace.