For 15 of the last 18 years, Australian cyclists have been drawn to Ballarat to witness daring breakaways and cheer for their heroes on the now iconic circuit. The KOM on Mount Buninyong is a firmly-established pilgrimage for Australian cycling fans and a centrepiece of the Summer of Cycling.
Situated roughly 110km west-north-west of Melbourne, Ballarat enjoys a cooler climate and a more tranquil pace of life than the state capital, without forgoing any of the amenities of a major city.
Laid out on an orderly grid, Ballarat is distinguished by its wide boulevards and its beautifully preserved Victorian architecture. Stretching into the city, the leafy Avenue of Honour pays tribute to those lost in the Great War; elsewhere, the city is dotted with lush reserves and recreational spaces such as Lake Wendouree and the Botanic Gardens.
So whilst the Summer of Cycling is Ballarat’s moment in the spotlight, there’s plenty to entice riders to the region year-round. With a welcoming environment and all the creature comforts cyclists love, set amongst rolling hills and country landscapes, is it any wonder that Ballarat holds a special place in any Aussie cyclist’s heart?
The 2019 FedUni RoadNats will be held this year from the 4-8 Jan, with a packed schedule of events across youth, para and elite categories. Newly added this year is the Fixed Gear Nationals, held on Friday 4 Jan. The elite mens and womens road races are to be held on Sunday, January 6. For more information on the region and the 2019 RoadNats, check out the full article over at CyclingTips.
The 2019 FedUni RoadNats will be held this year from the 4-8 Jan, with a packed schedule of events across youth, para and elite categories. Newly added this year is the Fixed Gear Nationals, held on Friday 4 Jan. The elite mens and womens road races are to be held on Sunday January 6. You can ride the circuit year-round – it’s even helpfully signposted! – but arguably the best way to tackle it is as a participant in the MS National Road Championships Gran Fondo, held on Saturday January 5.
There’s a wide variety of accommodation options to suit any budget in Ballarat and the surrounding region. Special mention, however, must go to RACV Goldfields resort, ten minute drives north of Ballarat towards Creswick (if only for the reason that they’ve built an MTB track on premises!).
Ballarat has a wealth of excellent hospitality venues that belies its size. Some cyclist-friendly recommendations include: The Western Hotel, Sturt St, Racer’s or The Lake View Hotel, on the shores of Lake Wendouree, L’Espresso, Europa Cafe, and FIKA. Buninyong also has a number of bakeries and cafes along the main street, and Creswick’s Le Peche Gourmand boulangerie/patisserie is a popular stop and turning point for riders heading north of Ballarat.
Ballarat has plenty to offer visitors, on the bike and off, making it an appealing destination for riders, families and holiday-makers alike. Take a walk back in time and pan for gold at the renowned Sovereign Hill. On the eastern outskirts of the city, the replica medieval castle Kryal Castle is a popular attraction. Ballarat Wildlife Park is home to a variety of Australian native animals (plus some meerkats!). If you want to explore the region on two wheels, the Buninyong national circuit is a must-do. Should your tastes lean more towards dirt, the Goldfields Track is a fantastic and challenging mountain bike trail that can be undertaken in segments or as a multi-day adventure.
This content is brought to you in partnership with Visit Victoria, Imagery courtesy of TBS Photography
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