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 doors and this half stoned druggie had brazenly entered my vehicle.
My protestations and physical rebuffs caused him to drop the computer, camera and keys as I chased him, barefoot and clad in my underwear, across the broken glass that littered the area.
In hindsight I was lucky I only received a slight cut to my foot that didn't get infected and only lost my mobile phone and an old pair of sunglasses.
The police were summoned but, of course, by the time they arrived he was well gone. They too were somewhat surprised at the thief's brazeness.
Still, it soured my experience of the town somewhat.
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 nights there's a manned 'Safe Taxi' rank on the Myer building corner (Armstrong Sth/Sturt St corner) which is within easy walking distance of the city clubs.
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 yourself back in 60 again.
Police are always out with their speed cameras, so if you're driving in the city, watch carefully for the speed limits. Most will be signposted to avoid confusion, however streets that are a cross between residential and commercial may either be 50 or 60...it depends on ????
A bit strange to say the least, I admit.