The Ultimate Guide On What To Do In Ballarat
Ballarat, Australia is Victoria’s third largest city, and is known for its stunning architecture dating back to the Gold Rush. Ballarat is the best place to visit in Victoria if you’re a history buff looking to explore Victoria. If you’re curious about what to do in Ballarat, read on for the ultimate guide to the city. Be sure to also check out our accommodation guide to complete your trip to Ballarat.
History of Ballarat
The Ballarat Gold Rush happened in 1851, after news broke that Ballarat housed the richest alluvial gold field in the world. To see what life was like during the Gold Rush Victoria experienced, visit Sovereign Hill Ballarat, a recreation of a township that would have surrounded a Gold mine. Ballarat is also known for the Eureka Stockade, a rebellion of miners calling for the rights of all miners working in a Ballarat gold mine.
Where is Ballarat?
Ballarat is located in Victoria’s central highlands. It takes almost seven hours to drive from Adelaide to Ballarat, and an Adelaide to Ballarat bus takes almost 10 hours. The trip from Melbourne to Ballarat is only an hour and a half, and the drive from Ballarat to Geelong is even shorter, at just over an hour. If you happen to be in Bacchus Marsh, it’s worth it to take a day trip to Ballarat — the drive from Bacchus Marsh to Ballarat takes only 40 minutes.
If you’re flying in, you can take an Airport shuttle Ballarat airport offers. Whether you drive, take a city bus or take an airport shuttle bus, Ballarat has plenty of options — check the Ballarat bus timetable to plan your trip.
There are so many things to do in Ballarat, you won’t know where to start. Read on for a list of the best attractions in Ballarat that you won’t want to miss.
Ballarat is known for its beautiful old buildings and historic sights. From the Art Gallery of Ballarat to the Avenue of honour, Ballarat shows pieces of history everywhere you look.
If you’re in town on a hot day, cool off at the Aquatic Centre Ballarat or the Ballarat water park, and enjoy a bite to eat at Sails on the Lake Ballarat yacht club. For things to do with the kids, look into Cinemas in Ballarat, Ballarat bowling or an indoor playground. Ballarat is the perfect place to visit on a family trip. And if you need to relax after a long day, a Ballarat day spa will welcome you with open arms.
Attractions in Ballarat
There is no shortage of things to do in Ballarat. Whether you’re travelling alone, as a couple or with a family, you are sure to find plenty to fill your days in Ballarat.
If you’re wondering what to see in Ballarat, Sovereign Hill is top of the list. Sovereign Hill is one of the best tourist attractions Melbourne has to offer — it was named Australia’s best major tourist attraction four times.
Sovereign Hill offers a real-life recreation of life during Australia’s 1850s gold rushes. Explore an underground gold mine, interact with costumed characters and watch a $150,000 gold pour. For an interactive experience, real-life Sovereign Hill gold panning is not to be missed. While you’re there, make sure to visit Brown’s Confectionary to pick up some one-of-a-kind Sovereign Hill lollies.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, look into Sovereign Hill accommodation at the newly refurbished Sovereign Hill Hotel.
Sovereign Hill Christmas in July is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Victorian buildings are lit up with fairy lights and Christmas decorations, warming up the chilly Sovereign Hill weather. Sovereign Hill winter wonderland is the perfect way to spend a day with the whole family. Don’t miss the Sovereign Hill light show while you’re there!
Sovereign Hill tickets can be booked online ahead of time. Sovereign Hill prices can be seen on the website for adult and children. Sovereign Hill discount tickets are also available for a family of up to four children. Sovereign Hill opening hours are from 10 am to 5 pm.
If you’re short on time and want to take the ease out of travelling from Melbourne by car, you can also secure yourself a spot on a full day tour to Sovereign Hill.
Eureka Stockade Ballarat
If you’re a history buff, don’t miss a trip to the Eureka Centre, the site of the Eureka Stockade rebellion. What happened at Sovereign Hill Eureka Stockade? The Eureka Stockade was the site of a rebellion in 1854, in which gold miners revolted against the colonial forces of Australia and demanded civil rights.
The Eureka Centre is located across from the Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens. Stroll through the scenic gardens and enjoy a coffee from one of the lovely Ballarat cafes.
Kryal Castle Ballarat
Kryal Castle is a replica medieval castle, complete with a moat and drawbridge, a maze and an armoury. While Kryal Castle history dates back only to 1972, this Ballarat Castle will transport you back to the medieval times.
There are all sorts of Kryal Castle events to enjoy. Kryal Castle offers live shows like theatre, fire eating and juggling. Kryal Castle jousting is another fan favourite, and is definitely not to be missed! Kryal Castle ticket prices range from $35 for adults to $22 for children. Kryal Castle opening hours are from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Ballarat Wildlife Park
Ballarat Wildlife Park offers you up-close experiences with Australia’s wildlife, from free-roaming kangaroos to Tasmanian devils. Book your Ballarat Wildlife Park tickets online ahead of time. Ballarat Wildlife Park prices range from $19.50 for children to $35.00 for adults.
If you only have enough time for a Ballarat day trip, you can get yourself on a tour from Melbourne that will take you to Sovereign Hill and the Ballarat Wildlife Park – this is a great school holiday activity!
Ballarat Bird World
Ballarat Bird World houses all sorts of exotic birds, including the Gang-gang and Major Mitchell. Stroll past the waterfall and through the scenic gardens, looking out for the birds on display. Don’t miss the full-sized animatronic triceratops!
Lake Wendouree and Ballarat Botanical Gardens
The Ballarat Botanical Gardens are located on the shore of Lake Wendouree. The picturesque gardens cover 40 hectares of land for you to explore. The gardens house a large conservatory, war memorial and statue collection.
Located right next to Lake gardens Ballarat, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens are the perfect place to spend a Ballarat day trip. Also home to the Lake Wendouree music festival, there is plenty going on in the area.
There is plenty in Ballarat for kids to enjoy, and the Lake Wendouree playground is one great place to bring the kids. The enormous playground is built entirely from wood, and is directly across from the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.
If you happen to be in town on the first Saturday of the month, make sure to check out the Ballarat farmer’s market Lake Wendouree to find fresh produce from local farmers.
Looking for Ballarat dining options right on the water? The Lake View Ballarat offers lakeside scenery and delicious food. Chow down on some Ballarat fish and chips or enjoy afternoon tea. Ballarat has no shortage of fantastic food options.
Want to plan your trip around Ballarat upcoming events? Check out the official Ballarat Event calendar to see what’s on in Ballarat. Read on for a list of a few Ballarat activities that you won’t want to miss.
Ballarat Begonia Festival
If you’re looking for free things to do in Ballarat, the Ballarat Begonia Festival is a must-see. Held over the March Labour Day long weekend, the festival offers live comedy, craft and garden markets, food, and of course, plenty of begonias.
Ballarat Beer Festival
Beer lovers: rejoice! The Ballarat Beer Festival is for you. Held in mid-February, the festival gives you the chance to enjoy live music and sample 150 different brews from across Australia.
The Ballarat Cup is a well-known horse race that takes place in mid to late November. This year, Ballarat Cup Day is scheduled for November 21.
Ballarat Antique Fair
Scour the booths at the Ballarat Antique Fair, and you’re sure to find some one-of-a-kind Ballarat antiques. Search through the Ballarat antique shops for Ballarat books, jewellery and household decor. The fair takes place in March of every year.
Best Ballarat Pubs
Ballarat is known for its lovely pubs. Visit a local watering hole or a Ballarat brewery after a long day of exploring the city. Ballarat pubs are housed in beautiful old buildings dating back to the time of the Gold Rush. Enjoy a pint of beer in a cosy pub steeped in local history.
Here are some of the best pubs in Ballarat to enjoy during your travels.
Craig’s Royal Hotel
Enjoy fine food in the glass roofed Gallery restaurant at Craig’s Royal Hotel. Fresh local ingredients make the food stand out.
The Provincial Hotel
Experience fine dining at the Provincial Hotel. The menu changes each season based on the region’s produce.
Golden City Hotel
Built in 1856, the Golden City Hotel is a beautiful piece of the city’s heritage. Now a cafe-bar, the hotel is one of the best Ballarat pubs with meals.
The Pub With Two Names
The Pub With Two Names is housed in the first licensed hotel in Ballarat Central. Enjoy some of the best pub meals Ballarat has to offer right in the Ballarat city centre. Local Ballarat art covers the walls, giving the space a relaxed and unique feel.
The City Oval Hotel
Enjoy the warm and inviting atmosphere at this cosy family-style pub housed in a beautiful old building. The City Oval Hotel offers a modern pub menu, and can give you some of the best pub meals Ballarat has to offer.
Bunch of Grapes Hotel
Built in 1906, The Bunch of Grapes Hotel has seen it all. It was one of the Ballarat bars that American marines frequented during World War II while they were stationed in Ballarat. Pop in now for a pint or a delicious pub dinner.
The George Hotel Ballarat
The George Hotel hosts all sorts of events, and is known for being a meeting place in the area. Grab a quick meal to-go at the Lane cafe, or try a wood fired pizza at the Lane Pizzeria.
Irish Murphy’s Ballarat
Located in historical Sturt Street, Irish Murphy’s is one of the best Ballarat pubs to visit if you’re looking for a classic pub experience. The pub is housed on the site of a former mine, and details of the original building are well-preserved.
Hop Temple Ballarat
The Hop Temple is one of the best pubs in Ballarat for a wide selection of craft beers. Located in a former warehouse, the high ceilings give this pub an open and inviting atmosphere.
The Lake View Hotel
As the name suggests, the Lake View Hotel offers you a spectacular view of the lake. Built in 1875, the hotel has been a historical meeting place for many years. Enjoy either casual or fine dining at this iconic Ballarat landmark.
Accommodation In Ballarat Victoria
For an authentic historical experience, stay in a Victorian hotel, such as Craig’s Royal Hotel. Bonus points if they offer all day breakfast! Ballarat is known for its architecture, and the city’s beautiful old buildings make Ballarat one of the best places to visit in Victoria. Make the most of the city’s stunning architecture in a traditional hotel.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider a motel. There are plenty of motels close to the city centre. Make sure to look at a Ballarat map to find accommodation close to the sites that you’re most interested in seeing.
Ballarat Airbnbs are another great way to make the most of your holiday destinations. Victoria tends to have many Airbnbs to choose from, and Ballarat is no exception.