Ballarat is a grand provincial city that grew out of the wealth of Victoria’s historic goldfields. Learn about Ballarat’s captivating heritage and the mesmerizing glimmer of gold that drew thousands to the area in the mid 19th century. Grand architecture, spacious parks and historic public monuments tell the story of the gold rush and the infamous Eureka Stockade that followed. With its pretty surrounding countryside and native bushland, Ballarat is also a regional highlight for farm-to-table cuisine and wildlife experiences.
Take a stroll down Ballarat’s historic main streets to see the richly decorated architecture of the mid 1800s. Admire the pretty cast-iron lace on beautifully preserved awnings and façades. Notable examples include Her Majesty’s Theatre, the Ballarat Centenary Hotel and the Ballarat Railway Station. Stop by one of the city’s cafés or take a seat at a restaurant to experience modern Australian fare. Ballarat has acclaimed regional produce, which can be purchased directly at the local farmers markets.
Discover the story of the gold rush at Sovereign Hill, an open-air museum and historical village. Pan for gold and explore the village with tour guides dressed in period clothing and check out the informative exhibits at the Gold Museum. The Blood on the Southern Cross display and the Eureka Stockade Centre and Museum of Australian Democracy tell the story of the Eureka Uprising, which took place in Ballarat in 1854.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat showcases some of Australia’s leading artists from colonial days to the present. Visit Kryal Castle to experience a medieval-themed resort and fun park. Experience a green getaway in Ballarat’s beautiful Botanical Gardens or check out Ballarat Wildlife Park to hand-feed the friendly kangaroos. Lake Wendouree is a popular spot for birdwatching and has a network of picturesque walking and cycling trails. Visit in spring for the SpringFest Market Weekend and the Ballarat Cabaret Festival.
Reach Ballarat within a 1.5-hour drive northwest from Melbourne. Regional trains and shuttle buses make the city easily accessible from Melbourne’s city center and the city’s international airport. Ballarat has a wide range of heritage hotels and vacation cottages. For a rich experience of goldfields history, be sure to visit Ballarat.