Heritage, Culture and Culinary Delights
Situated just an hours drive from Melbourne, Ballarat is a former goldmining town that is rich in history, heritage, culture and culinary delights.
Discover fabulous restaurants, great galleries, museums and beautiful parks and gardens. Ballarat is Victoria's largest inland city and is a vibrant destination with treats for the visitor any time of year.
During the 1800s, Ballarat stood at the epicentre of Victoria's bustling goldfields, home to miners from all over the globe. Some struck it rich, some chose to stay, and remnants of those golden times may be glimpsed in the beautiful heritage architecture along the wide tree-lined streets.
No visit to Ballarat is complete without a trip to the open-air museum, Sovereign Hill.
This fascinating destination is the place to learn about Victoria's gold-rush days and you can still pan for gold today. Sovereign Hill is more than just a museum – it is the recreation of a village from a past era, complete with shops, schools, and steam-driven machinery!
One of Ballarat's best-known events was the Eureka Stockade, an infamous 19th century miners' rebellion. The original rebellion flag is now located in the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Australia's premier regional gallery, it also features a wonderful permanent collection and interesting calendar of rotating exhibitions.
While in town you might also take in a show at Her Majesty's Theatre. This historic theatre is one of Australia's oldest, and one of Victoria's busiest with over 300 performances every year. The Theatre is home to a 1937 Compton Theatre Organ and several historic artefacts. The Long Room Bar overlooks Lydiard Street and is an ideal spot for a pre or post-dinner drink.
Ballarat features a wide variety of vibrant cafés and fine-dining restaurants. The town is also situated within a cool climate wine region – sample a drop over dinner, or take a tour to some of the best known wineries in the area. Pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wines are specialties not to be missed.
Discover the beauty and tranquillity of Ballarat's Botanic Gardens, located on the shores of Lake Wendouree. There are over forty hectares of shady gardens, towering trees and stunning flowering bushes.
One popular way to explore Ballarat is via a self-guided heritage walk, which will escort you past beautiful churches, lovely parks, unique modern sculptures and plenty of shopping.
Discover interesting boutiques, local handicrafts, books, jewellery, antiques and more. There are also three shopping centres to visit including Central Square which houses some major retail outlets as well as smaller specialty shops, cafés and a food court.
Ballarat is a major destination so there are plenty of accommodation options.
Stay in a character-infused bed and breakfast, historic guesthouse or contemporary motel. You might like to hire a holiday house or apartment, or for a more unusual experience, why not travel a little outside town and discover the joys of a farm stay or even visit a health and yoga retreat in the beautiful rural region of Victoria's goldfields?