Home to the famous Eureka Stockade, this historic gold rush city has fascinating museums, fresh local produce, wildlife parks and a tribute to Australian democracy.
Visit Ballarat to experience the story of Victoria’s historic goldfields and see where the famous Eureka Stockade miners’ revolt took place. The city’s history as a gold rush town is woven into its architecture, museums, parks and public monuments. Go to Lake Wendouree, Victoria Park and nearby wildlife parks to see some of Australia’s fascinating native animals.
Explore historic downtown Ballarat and take a stroll down the wide streets. See lavish buildings from the mid-19th century gold rush era, complete with cast-iron lace verandas and ornate façades. Highlights include the Ballarat Railway Station, the Ballarat Centenary Hotel and Her Majesty’s Theatre.
The open-air museum at Sovereign Hill recreates a historic gold mining village. You can speak with informative tour guides in period dress and pan for gold. Admission to Sovereign Hill includes entry to the Gold Museum and the sound-and-light show, Blood on the Southern Cross. Learn about the Eureka Stockade and its historical significance at the Museum of Australian Democracy, located on the site where the miners’ rally against licence fees took place in 1854.
Some of Australia’s finest artwork, from colonial to contemporary, is on display at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. For a trip back to medieval times, head to Kryal Castle, a theme park and resort.
At Ballarat Wildlife Park, hand feed kangaroos or see native waterfowl come in to roost at Lake Wendouree. Stroll or cycle along the lake’s trails or visit the sprawling Botanical Gardens.
Take advantage of Ballarat’s great dining scene, with casual cafés, upscale restaurants and a string of local wineries and breweries. Sample regional produce in local restaurants or purchase direct from the city’s fresh produce markets.
Ballarat is accessible by regional train or shuttle bus from Melbourne International Airport at Tullamarine. Melbourne city is a 1.5-hour drive from Ballarat. Visit during one of the city’s exciting festivals, such as the Ballarat Cabaret Festival or the SpringFest Market Weekend.