Things to do in Ballarat – The Gold Trove of Victoria Highlands
Last Updated on 07/10/2021
The name ‘Ballarat’ sounds novel. You might not guess it to be a town in Australia straight away. Located in the central highlands of Victoria, less than two hours from Melbourne. Ballarat, like its name, hosts several one-of-a-kind attractions that draw many travellers there. Rich and diverse in culture and natural landscape. It is also one of the most successful goldfields in Victoria and even Australia. So buckle up as we unravel all the places you should visit and the things you should do in Ballarat.
Table of Contents
- 1 Explore the Sovereign Hill
- 2 Pet kangaroos in the Ballarat Wildlife Park
- 3 Take a stroll in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens
- 4 Relax near Lake Wendouree
- 5 Feel inspired by the Art Gallery of Ballarat
- 6 Visit the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial
- 7 Travel through town in the Tramway Museum
- 8 Have medieval fun at the Kryal Castle
- 9 Walk-through the Arch of Victory
- 10 Observe stars at the Ballarat Municipal Observatory and Museum
- 11 Explore history at the Eureka Centre & the Eureka Stockade Memorial
- 12 Tour the Gold Museum
Explore the Sovereign Hill
Sovereign Hill has to be one of the top tourist attractions in all of Victoria. This open-air museum is a recreation of Red Hill Mine – the world’s second-largest goldfield. Travellers can engage in immersive activities like candle dipping, watching gold pouring and explore everything Sovereign Hill has to offer while learning about the goldfield history of Ballarat. In the winter, Sovereign Hill holds a delightful light show which many come to enjoy. If you’re making your way from Melbourne, you can have tours arranged to pick you up early, so you can make the most of your day in Sovereign Hill.
Pet kangaroos in the Ballarat Wildlife Park
Just 5 minutes away from Sovereign Hill is the famous Ballarat Wildlife Park. If you love furry wildlife, then this is going to be your happy place. The incredible spaciousness and the animal encounters make this place super unique. The animals here have space to roam and enjoy the loving attention it gets from the visitors. You can interact and learn about the native Australian animals at the Ballarat Wildlife Park too. Kangaroos and koalas are waiting to be fed and patted – Dingoes and even cute wombats. That’s not all, you’ll also get to see little penguins, Tasmanian Devils, giant tortoises, Sumatran Tigers – even snakes! Definitely a must-add to your list of things to do in Ballarat.
Take a stroll in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Just 10 minutes from the Ballarat Wildlife Park, a visit to this breathtaking Ballarat Garden is another must-add to your list of things to do in Ballarat. This Botanical Garden features few fascinating areas worthy of exploring. The big conservatory, the heritage statuary pavilion, the Prime Minister’s Avenue, the lovely floral clock and more. This spacious verdant paradise has some scenic footpaths, which can be enjoyed in peace. Since the garden’s well-placed on the west side of Lake Wendouree, you get plenty of lake views too. If you’re visiting around the springtime, you can even attend the annual Ballarat Begonia Festival, which is an incredible experience all on its own.
Relax near Lake Wendouree
Lake Wendouree is an artificially created shallow urban lake that offers garden viewers a chance to picnic and enjoy nature. Located in the famous Ballarat Botanical Garden, this lake takes an area of 238 ha and homes some lovely aquatic and birdlife. You can walk or cycle around the lake while relishing the nature views. On a perfect sunny day, you can sit and enjoy the gentle breeze and the soft sounds of water ripples and watch the birdlife – it can be therapeutic.
Feel inspired by the Art Gallery of Ballarat
A visit to this eclectic Art Gallery is a must-include in your list of things to do in Ballarat. Here’s why. The Art Gallery of Ballarat has earned a reputation for holding some of the most fascinating collections in Victoria, Australia. Thought-provoking Australian art exhibits, displayed in the most eye-catching ways. Some pieces are centuries old – with profound history attached to them. However, a few of the names given to the pieces may come as a shock, some may find it fascinating, and some may find it disrespectful. You be the judge of that when you visit.
Visit the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial
For all those who’re fascinated by the war history of a country, here’s another essential piece of history they can visit. It’s a war memorial built to honour the Prisoners of War, starting with the Boer War. It is beautifully built, allowing visitors the tranquillity they need to walk and learn about the emotional history attached to it. With over 35,000 names recorded, this war memorial holds national significance. It also offers a beautiful spacious botanical space for those who visit to soothe themselves and feel at peace. It’s worth dropping by.
Travel through town in the Tramway Museum
Dip your feet into the town’s machinery and engineer history by visiting the Tramway Museum. Witness the neatly parked trams at the tram depot – here you will be able to see some of the oldest trams and learn about the fascinating history they are connected to. Get ready to enjoy a twenty-minute ride through the Ballarat Botanical Garden in the tram all while learning about the incredible functionalities of it by the volunteer staff who dedicate their time to give you a unique tramway experience. The best time to experience a tram ride is either on a weekend or a public holiday, so keep that in mind. It can be an exciting experience for both adults and kids!
Have medieval fun at the Kryal Castle
If you’re ready to have some medieval fun, then you’re heading towards the Kryal Castle. While it’s not the typical tour place you plan on visiting in Australia, it actually can be an unexpectedly fun experience. Built to create a medieval effect – the castle features drawbridges, castle towers and armours – even a dragons Labyrinth, a torture dungeon, a wizard’s workroom and more. If this intrigues you, you should include them in your list of things to do in Ballarat.
Walk-through the Arch of Victory
It’s one of the most significant war memorials in Ballarat and even Australia – it’s also the largest commemorative arch in Australia. If you’re visiting from Melbourne it’ll take about one and half hours to get there. Built in the 1920s – the arch was erected in honour of the brave soldiers, sailors’ nurses of Ballarat that sacrificed their lives through service in World War I. The avenue of Honour – which starts from the arch, extends to a length of 22km. Making it the longest Avenue of Honouring in Australia. With lush trees on either side, this avenue is lovely to visit. You can choose to walk, but to go all the way, you should take a drive and enjoy the natural beauty along the avenue. If you’re a first-time visitor, it would be great to include a visit to this iconic landmark in your list of things to do in Ballarat.
Observe stars at the Ballarat Municipal Observatory and Museum
Here’s another major Ballarat attraction. The Ballarat Municipal Observatory and Museum is best enjoyed with the assistance of a guide. Unlike all other visits in Ballarat, to enjoy the full magic of the observatory visit close to late evening. Because that’s when you can witness the night sky through a super cool telescope –including Jupiter and her moons and rings and much more. Arrive a little early, so you can enjoy some fun activities – like watching 3D movies of the planetary movements. It’s worth including in your list of things to do in Ballarat.
Explore history at the Eureka Centre & the Eureka Stockade Memorial
For the History buffs, the Eureka Centre Ballarat awaits – located in the Eureka Stockade Centre. If you’re planning to visit the Eureka Stockade Memorial, we advise you to first drop by the centre to understand the full history behind the memorial. That way you can really appreciate your visit to the Stockade Memorial. Learn about the Eureka history of Australia. The rising of Eureka, the transformational movement it had and more. Check out the many valued artefacts before making your way to explore the beauty of the Eureka Stockade Memorial. It will be interesting.
Tour the Gold Museum
To further explore the Great Gold Rush of Australia and the goldfields of the Ballarat town, you need to head to the Gold Museum. Immerse in the different golden exhibits and learn about many extraordinary facts about gold and the influence it had on Ballarat and the economy of Australia. Witness the well-presented exhibits of gold nuggets, alluvial deposits, and exclusive gold artefacts and more. To keep things interesting, the museum also offers photographic shows and an eclectic art collection. It’s a must-including to your list of things to do in Ballarat.
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