Ballarat Travel Guide

  • The water wagon at Sovereign Hill
    The water wagon at Sovereign Hill
    by Rambling_Rover
  • Actors and horses at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat
    Actors and horses at Sovereign Hill,...
    by SWFC_Fan
  • A gold nugget on show at Ballarat
    A gold nugget on show at Ballarat
    by SWFC_Fan

Ballarat Things to Do

  • Historical and interactive modern museum

    Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka and Eureka Stockade.This site is believed to be almost exactly where the Eureka Stockade Battle took place.There is the new, modern museum, and also artworks around the park such as this metal 'Stockade'

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  • Historic buildings

    The main historic building areas of Ballarat are firstly Camp and Lydiard Streets (Lydiard is where the Mining Exchange is located and many other heritage buildings in Victorian style with wide verandas) and also Sturt Street.There is also a signed historic walk which you can take, which includes Camp and Lydiard Streets. To learn more about the...

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  • Sovereign Hill Gold Museum

    The Gold Museum contains a large and valuable collection of gold nuggets, plus alluvial deposits, and gold items such as ornaments and coins from all over the world....and too much more to mention. There are also themed exhibitions in gallery rooms featuring historical collections. The classy Gold Museum gift shop has a wonderful array of items...

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Ballarat Hotels

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Ballarat Restaurants

  • Traditional Dining

    The Atlantic Hotel is extremely popular with the older generation, partly because it offers quite traditional Australian food in a restaurant industry that's increasingly becoming more trendy and multicultural with its food, but also because it is good value too. So it's been quite popular with the elderly for lunches. The service is good and...

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  • Good Pub Lunch

    City Oval is a pub/restaurant that was located right next to our hotel in Ballarat. We arrived rather hungry that day and decided to grab some lunch after our walk around the lake. The interior is quite spacious with a large bar area, dining rooms and a seperate area for private functions. We arrived around 1pm when the lunch crowd was getting into...

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  • Looked Better than it Tasted

    My wife and I had walked by the Historic George Hotel earlier in the day and decided to come back here for a nice dinner. From the get go we loved the interior of the place and the friendly bar man who greeted us as we entered. The area is divided up into the bar and the dining room that has a more upscale feel to it.We had a seat in their dining...

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Ballarat Nightlife

  • The Nerrina in Ballarat North

    The Nerrina is about 4 kms out of the centre of the city of Ballarat, and tends to specialise in a few tribute shows, functions, small concerts and other organised concerts and gigs during the year.Update 2014: The pub is now run by a nice Chinese couple. You need to check ahead, as the restaurant is not always running. More a dinner thing on...

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  • Historic Pub

    The Mallow is one of Ballarat's most historic pubs (1862 I think) and used to be quite traditional inside but has been really refurbished and modernised inside in the past few years. I haven't eaten there in about 5 years so can't really comment. Neat, casual dress (no singlets or thongs, as per usual in pubs)

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  • Conversion

    Thinking I would be able to glean more information off the net, I failed to take notes about this venue though, since it wasn't open when I was there, that would have been hard to do.Obviously it's a converted chapel but, as to its opening hours or what you can expect inside, I have no idea.

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Ballarat Transportation

  • Buses

    Once you arrive in Ballarat, if you haven't your own transport, hiring a car or catching the bus are your options. If you want a taxi, you'll find them on the Myer building corner (Cnr Armstrong & Sturt St sth)There are bus stops outside the Railway Station too. If you are staying very centrally, like Lydiard Street or Armstrong street, you can do...

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  • Melbourne - Ballarat Train

    leaving from Spencer Street (Southern Cross station) and arriving in Ballarat (central City) or Wendouree Station. The journey usually takes about 1 hour 20 minutes to Ballarat Station.

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  • Driving

    My wife and I made arrangements to rent a car through Europcar for our drive on the Great Ocean Road. We arrived at the train station in Melbourne and headed off to the car rental office. Our car was at an off site location (weird) so we hopped into a car with the clerk to another Europcar location to pick up our car.Our car was a basic economy...

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Ballarat Shopping

  • On the hill

    This is another place that they've blocked off and made pedestrian friendly. In the heart of the city at Central Square Shopping Centre, you'll find everything from music to food, diamonds to juice bars and fashion to home wares. Parking is convenient in the adjacent multi-storey undercover car park that has around 600 spaces.

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  • Old style, modern outlook

    This isn't just a shop, rather obviously, it's a whole couple of blocks of shops. With the majority of old style fronts retained, you can enjoy the individuality of each shop but still have parking nearby. Other towns could take note.Chuck in a couple of trees and there you have it. All the shops you want, some variation in architecture and a...

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  • Sturt Street

    Sturt Street is Ballarat's main street, and at the city end, for 2 - 3 kms is also one of its main shopping streets. I particularly like it for its historic shop and other buildings.This photo is taken halfway up Sturt Street looking back at the city and the Town Hall.

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Ballarat Local Customs

  • Weather bashing, Melbourne Vs Ballarat

    In Melbourne, you might hear a lot of talk about how Ballarat's weather is Freeezing and always raining compared to Melbourne....but it's not always true (though we do tend to be 2-6 degrees colder at night). Poster is from an approx. 2006 Ballarat expo which was held in Federation Square Melbourne - indicating that we have the same winter...

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  • Friendly people...

    By only one day visiting Ballarat, I just can say that the people are very friendly (as Australians in general), but what counts more; they are very proud on their city. The people are proud that they saved their old buildings. Something what is not to say of the Melbourne centre. I guess that they have the same feelings about their place as the...

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  • Tipping not required

    In Australia, it really isn't expected that you tip at restaurants, though it's becoming more common in cities to leave $2 or some small amount at the end of a particularly enjoyable meal. Australians are generally very friendly, and like to have a joke. Don't worry if you don't understand some of the language - they may be increasing its usage to...

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Ballarat Warnings and Dangers

  • Watch for wildly changing speed signs in...

    Victorian road laws mean the maximum driving speed allowed in built up areas and residential streets is 50 km/hr.HOWEVER, in the city, within a few hundred metres in the one street, you can pass through marked 60, 50 and even 40 km/hr zones, then turn a corner and find yourself back in 60 again. Police are always out with their speed cameras, so if...

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  • Robbery under arms

    I actually arrived in Ballarat around 1 a.m. in my motorhome and parked about 100 metres up from the well lit railway station, between some trees. Imagine my shock around 4.30 a.m. when I awoke to find a stranger in my home with my computer under one arm and all my camera gear under the other. Apparently I had neglected to close one of the three...

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  • Be careful if you're out at night alone

    At night, I'd just advise a bit of caution if walking alone near any of the major night clubs. We don't have that much crime, but what there is at night between Thursday - Sunday often seems to be alcohol related. Be aware if you have to use an ATM at night - ATM robberies are on the increase. Generally, Ballarat is quite a safe city. On Saturday...

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Ballarat Tourist Traps

  • Slightly un co-ordinated transport

    There is a bus stop right outside the station, but whether it's useful depends on where you want to go (the main bus terminal is about a 3 block walk down the street to the foot of the hill behind the shopping Mall but you can also catch certain buses outside Myer if you hail the bus or outside the old post office on the corner of Lydiard & Sturt...

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  • Tourist Information Centre

    Should you be arriving by train, a not uncommon experience in this town, or by bus, you may well be looking for tourist information. Thus you will be looking for the Tourist Information Centre. My advice is, don't be in a hurry. The reason is that it's about 3 kms away from where you are, in a purpose-built building on a hillside on the opposite...

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  • Ballarat Hotels

    34 Hotels in Ballarat

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Ballarat What to Pack

  • Packing is easy

    You can bring whatever luggage you like. I guess it depends on the length of your stay and what type of holiday you're going to have, whether you'll be camping at caravan parks or staying in motels. You might want to bring weather for '4 seasons in 1 day', especially in Spring. If spending a lot of time outdoors in the summer, you may want to...

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  • Don't forget...

    I cannot say by only visiting Ballarat for only one day that you have a four-seasons in one-day weather like in Melbourne. Therefore, it is hard to tell what to bring with you. Just, depend about the season you go I guess ;-) However, for visiting Sovereign Hill a pair of good walking shoes will do. Is it the camera, or is it the person behind...

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  • Cold in Winter....

    Good comfortable luggage on wheels. Depends on what you plan to do... Nightlife - nice clothes...Hiking and camping - appropriate clothing and footwear.Ballaraat can get very cold during the Winter.. below freezing... so lots of warm clothing during that time. You can buy everything here, just take any special medications you might be on. Bring...

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Ballarat Off The Beaten Path

  • Arch of Victory and Avenue of Honour

    This is the most impressive War memorial arch I've seen in Australia (commemorating the 1st World War).I believe it is most unique. There are about 12 Avenues of Honour in Victoria, however Ballarat's is the longest at 22 km (over 3900 trees with footplates with soldiers names lining both sides of the road, built 1917-19)You can find it about 4 kms...

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  • Dead trees around Lake Learmonth

    Dead trees with trunks bleached white by the harsh sun are commonplace around Australia, almost anywhere, not just the desert. As the water disappeared from Lake Learmonth about 2003 for several years, the half dead trees 'gave up the ghost' as we say, and died. But they still serve an important purpose, as hollows for native birds, and their now...

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  • Lake Learmonth

    Lake Learmonth is a tourist attraction...but for a few years it was because it was completely dry.(About 2006-7)Now, in 2014-5 the drought is over, and there is some water in the lake (while not full) but it may well dry up again in our lifetime. I believe you can still fish there. This dry lake only happens about 3 times every hundred years.Check...

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Ballarat Sports & Outdoors

  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo

    by Kate-Me Written Feb 12, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ballarat is quite a sporting city, whether for the sportsman or the sports watcher.
    All summer long, there is cricket, then Autumn/Winter/Spring, football dominates.
    Of lesser fame is Basketball and we have a very good basketball stadium. There are 3 major swimming pools: 1 at the University of Ballarat at Mt Helen (limited hours), 1 for the general public indoors in Gillies St (YMCA) and the outdoor slightly heated Eureka Pool in Eureka Street.
    Walking or cycling around Lake Wendouree (6 km) is a very popular activity. The lake itself is often used for rowing events.
    Netball is a popular sport, and there are several disciplines of martial arts taught in Ballarat.
    There is also an indoor go-kart track and much much more (but don't ask me, I'm not a sporting person)

    Equipment: Depending on what sport you want to do. Bikes can be brought up from Melbourne on the train, but there isn' t a lot of provision made for them.

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Ballarat Favorites

  • Trash and Trivia

    The Trash and Trivia Market at the Ballarat Showgrounds (affectionately known by locals as 'Trash') is Ballarat's large Sunday market. It sells predominantly secondhand goods, though more and more these days it is expanding into the clothing and new goods line. Much of it is outdoors, but it is so popular that hundreds of locals brave the cold to...

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  • The Eureka Flag

    This is a copy of Ballarat's famous Eureka Flag, made and first raised during the 1854 goldfields Eureka Rebellion Uprising in Ballarat.What remains of the original flag is on display in the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E) in Eureka Street, about 5 mins drive from the city centre. Australian states each have their own flag, and...

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  • 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 - on the discovery of gold (though there were a few sheep farmers there prior to that). When I'm away from Ballarat I miss seeing Lake Wendouree with all its activities: walkers, joggers, runners,...

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