Ballarat Travel Guide

  • The water wagon at Sovereign Hill
    The water wagon at Sovereign Hill
    by Rambling_Rover
  • Lydiard Street in Ballarat town centre
    Lydiard Street in Ballarat town centre
    by SWFC_Fan
  • Actors and horses at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat
    Actors and horses at Sovereign Hill,...
    by SWFC_Fan

Ballarat Highlights

  • Pro
    xuessium profile photo

    xuessium says…

     Most people comes here for the Sovereign Hill Theme Park 

  • Con
    Sweetberry1 profile photo

    Sweetberry1 says…

     Can get bitterly cold during the winter months.. 

  • In a nutshell
    Sweetberry1 profile photo

    Sweetberry1 says…

     Grand old city, definitely worth a visit. 

Ballarat Things to Do

  • Sovereign Hill Gold Mining Outdoor...

    Set on a former gold mining site, this award-winning outdoor museum recreates the hustle and bustle of life during the gold rush days in the 1850s. A living museum it sprawls across 60 acres. This area, once pock-marked with alluvial workings and two abandoned quarries, is now a vast outdoor stage representing life in the goldfields of Ballarat.In...

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  • Ballarat a historic town

    Gold discovered near Ballarat in 1851 attracted an influx of over 10,000 miners in a year. These and those providing services transformed Ballarat from a pastoral town into Victoria's largest settlement. To get an idea of life back then visit Sovereign Hill outside the town the award-winning recreated 1850s gold mining settlement rated among the...

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  • Lake Wendouree

    Lake Wendouree is a man made lake in Ballarat. The lake was created when they dammed up the swamp during the Gold Rush in the 1850's. The Lake today serves as a popular recreational spot for fishing, rowing, boating and canoeing. The Lake even hosted the 1956 Olympic games in the canoeing and rowing events. A special monument commemorates those...

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Ballarat Hotels

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Ballarat Restaurants

  • 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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  • Vintage style homewares and Cafe

    Country Mouse is a very interesting combination... when you're in the front of the store, it's the homewares that dominate, with quite a lot of vintage stuff, very nicely presented, and once out the back, it's the cafe you notice, very nicely presented (see cupcakes for example, which are bought about 3 times a week in Melbourne by the very...

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Ballarat Nightlife

  • 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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  • Disco and a drop

    "Ballarat's newest and most exciting venue has arrived! Situated in the heart of Ballarat, the Bended Elbow offers the very best in dining, bar and entertainment. Ballarat's premium, pub and there are 20 varieties of beer on tap including our very own Ballarat Gold Ale - brewed right here in Ballarat! The Bended Elbow can also cater for functions...

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  • 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 quite a few tribute shows and has other organised concerts and gigs during the year, holds functions, etc. We've spent the last 2 New Years Eve's there, as my husband's band was the night's entertainment (this year with Lingus, his latest band) Photo 1...

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Ballarat Transportation

  • 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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  • Fast train to Melbourne

    Here is a town that has a rail service that can actually get to Melbourne faster than a car. Amazing. One day Australian railways may all be like that but, sadlly, I won't be alive to see it. Still, let us rejoice that at least here the dream still lives.Yes, in just over and hour you can be in the big smoke or, those tourists stuck in Melbourne...

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  • Melbourne - Ballarat Train Timetable

    leaving from Spencer Street Station (now renamed Southern Cross station)*Currently this part of Victoria is undergoing biggest track upgrades in over a century. Check website or station before travelling this route. Some services may now be coach from time to time, or temporarily altered timetable...January 2006: The new Vlocity trains have just...

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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 especially with the drought these days, it's just not true. Poster is from a recent Ballarat expo which was held in Federation Square recently - indicating that we have the same winter temperature as Nice, France....

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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

  • 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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  • Watch for wildly changing speed signs in...

    Recently Victorian road laws were changed so that the maximum driving speed allowed in built up areas and residential streets is 50 km/hr.HOWEVER, in the city the lines of this rule seem rather blurred, when 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...

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Ballarat Tourist Traps

  • 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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  • Slightly un co-ordinated transport

    People arriving in Ballarat by train may take it for granted that there will be buses right there to take them about the city, but this isn't so. 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...

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  • Ballarat Hotels

    34 Hotels in Ballarat

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Ballarat What to Pack

  • 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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  • 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. Weather in Ballarat these last few years (drought) has been rather dry, even in winter, so 'just in case' weather gear is probably all I'd recommend....

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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

  • Drought affected Australia

    December 2006: In fact, you don't have to go off the beaten track at all at the moment in Australia to see the effect of the drought which has been going about 10 years now. They're saying it's a 1 in 100 year drought now.... For the first time in 100 years, Ballarat's favorite and most used lake, Lake Wendouree, is completely dry apart from a...

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  • Yuulong Lavender Farm

    With a group of co-volunteers from Ballarat Tourism, we visited Yuulong on Wednesday November 15, 2006, a date that will probably go down in Victoria's history as "the date it snowed in mid-November (very rare indeed, considering we've already had some days earlier in the spring which reached almost 35 deg C) (Yuulong is near Mt Egerton, about...

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  • other monuments at the Ballarat Old...

    More views around the Cemetery...it's also interesting to take a wander and see just how many times the most common names (such as Elizabeth and Mary, for example) come up on the headstones from the 1800s and early 1900s.

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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

  • Normandy Nugget 2

    The Normandy Nugget was found close to the surface by a prospector with a metal detector at Coolgardie in Western Australia, only recently, in 1995!Some find!It was on temporary display in 2005 at the Gold Museum.

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  • Heritage housing

    One of my favorite things about Ballarat (in its oldest streets - the ones with heritage streetscapes) is its heritage housing/architecture. The most predominant styles are Victorian houses/cottages with wrought iron lace work on the verandahs, Edwardian (which this house in Drummond Street would fit into), Californian Bungalow and there are still...

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  • Gold Museum: Normandy Nugget on loan...

    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...

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