History, Nature and more.
Sovereign Hill would be the first place I'd recommend to any arriving visitor. It's the best place to start and learn about how the city was founded. When I'm away from Ballarat I miss seeing Lake Wendouree with all its activities: walkers, joggers, runners, cyclists, people with dogs, families with prams. I miss seeing all the black swans and ducks and generally the nice surroundings of the lake.
Gold Museum: Normandy Nugget on loan display
Currently at the Gold Museum the Normandy Nugget is on display until the end of July.
It is owned by Newmont Australia, one of the largest gold mining companies in Australia (and the world).
It weighs 819 oz (about 25 kgs)
It is the 26th largest nugget ever found, and is the second largest intact nugget in the world (as almost all the others have been melted down, apart from the Welcome Nugget (2217 oz, found in Ballarat in 1858 and living on display in a casino in Las Vegas)
The township of Buninyong, only approx 10 kms from Ballarat, has historic buildings and quaint shops, and also Mt Buninyong, 719 mts high. From its high metal tower, one can have a commanding view of the surrounding area for over 60 kms in some directions. On a very clear day it's just possible to see the top of Melbourne (90 kms distant). Also currently many koalas to be seen in the natural bushland on the mountain. Watch for birdlife too. You can also take a walk to the extinct volcanic crater.
Sovereign Hill, very touristy, but great to visit.
Ballarat Wildlife Park - A rich collection of Australian wildlife in 16 hectares on natural bushland. See the koalas, wombats, kangaroos, crocodiles and many more.
Eureka Stockade Centre - Built on the site of one of the most significant events in Australian history, this centre seeks to bring to life the Eureka story.
Ballarat Fine Art Gallery - Australia’s oldest, purpose built gallery, containing a collection of Australian art with particular emphasis on the Heidelberg School, the Lindsay Family and the original Eureka flag.
Sovereign Hill - An award winning attraction that gives visitors the opportunity to experience life as it was back in the 1850’s and in the goldrush era.
The Great Southern Woolshed - A fair dinkum Aussie attraction featuring sheep shearing, Aussie food, working sheep dogs, a museum collection and Australiana shops.
Montrose Historic Cottage and Eureka Museum - Classified by the National Trust and the only remaining miners bluestone cottage in Ballarat.
Kryal Castle - A medieval castle featuring live re-enactments, magic theatre, glass blowing, magna carta, dungeons, a torture chamber, a comical cemetery and more.
During the Melbourne Olympics of 1956, they held several of the open water competitions in Ballarat because it had the best layout for a course. That layout is there and waiting for your enjoyment, as well as new friends. That is, if you have the bread. Get the picture?