Feel like a getaway to Victoria’s finest? Forget the buzz of Melbourne, the history- and gold-rich city of Ballarat is where it’s at. Start by exploring the Ballarat Tramway Museum to learn about the city’s love affair with trams, then head to the Eureka Centre to watch the dramatic sound and light show ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’, which depicts the famous Eureka Rebellion from the late 19th century.
If you’re keen on scenery, grab a bike and take the Ballarat to Buninyong Loop to venture around town and all the way up to Buninyong. Prefer to take your scenery sitting down? Grab a picnic and sit on the grass at Creswick Regional Park. Just watch out for those koalas! BALLARAT’S TOP 10
|10. Her Majesty’s Theatre This stunning theatre first opened in 1875 and is the perfect place to indulge in some opera or theatre. Very posh, daahling.||5. Gold Museum Walk through the bursting exhibits filled with everything from gold coins to gold nuggets.|
|9. Bird World Keen on birds? Hit up this place for some exotic species and plenty of natives.||4. Ballarat Ghost Tour This may not be for everyone (i.e. scaredy cats), but it is awesome! Experience the city’s history with a side of spook.|
|8. Adam Lindsay Gordon Cottage Visit this cute cottage for a huge array of unique, high-quality crafts made by some of the best artisans in town.||3. Wendouree This quaint country town is simply charming. Peruse the local boutiques and have a quick bite at a café or a picnic by the lake.|
|7. James Egan Gallery Discover the amazing collection of artwork by this iconic Aussie artist.||2. Kryal Castle This place is perfect for a fun medieval experience in Australia! The museums, galleries, re-enactments and live shows make for great family entertainment.|
|6. Ballarat Aviation Museum A unique collection of fighter jets and other wartime relics, vintage aircraft from the 1920s and cool stuff from today.||1. Sovereign Hill Set on an old goldmining site, this open-air museum is a total treat. Try your hand at striking gold and stuff yourself silly at the sweet shop.|
Check out the beautiful blooms and pick up some quality gardening tips at the famous Ballarat Begonia Festival, held every March.
The Lake Bolac Eel Festival has an odd name, but it makes for a great time! Held in March, this mammoth event hosts cultural shows by local indigenous tribes and, of course, a big tank of eels!
Being one of the most historic areas in Victoria, it’s no surprise that Ballarat hosts an annual Heritage Weekend in May.
September’s Taste Ballarat Food and Wine Expo is a fab event that shows off the awesomeness of Ballarat’s food, wine and rich culture.
WHEN TO GO
- Ballarat experiences hot, dry summers. Expect temperatures to average around 27°C (81°F).
- Ballarat winters are chilly and wet. Temperatures usually stick around the 6°C (43°F) mark, with some nights even heading below zero. Brrr!
- If you want to bypass the rainiest time of the year, avoid a trip in August.
- The Davis Bus Service has over 17 routes and is one of the best ways to get around the urban areas of Ballarat.
- Driving yourself is one of the best ways to explore, especially if you like to work to your own schedule.
- Taxis are the best way to get home if you’re up and around during the wee hours. They can also be used for historic tours and winery hopping.
Just over 100 km northwest of Melbourne, the unique city of Ballarat provides visitors with ample reasons to head inland from the Victoria coast of Australia. Once a prosperous gold rush settlement in the mid-19th century, Ballarat was later outdone in size and economic importance by Melbourne. The city of some 90,000 people however, is of major tourist interest today, most notably for a collection of peerless heritage landmarks, monuments and gardens.
Sturt Street, the chief thoroughfare of Ballarat, is the ideal place to start a tour of the city. Home to Sturt Street Gardens and many fine Victorian Heritage Register sites, the landmark-laden boulevard is a gem. Other significant points of interest include the Avenue of Honour, Arch of Victory, Reid's Coffee Palace and open air museum at Sovereign Hill. Ballarat Botanical Gardens Reserve is by all accounts, one of the best in Australia, and offers superb views of Lake Wendouree.
ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES
RESTAURANT & NIGHTLIFE
Ballarat has a temperate climate, with four distinct seasons.
- Summer (November to February) 8-25°C
- Fall (March to May) 6-22°C
- Winter (June to August) 3-11°C
- Spring (September to October) 5-17°C
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