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40 amazing things to do in Ballarat

Posted 03/10/2022 in Things to do

Ballarat is an outstanding regional city filled with grand 19th century architecture, a golden history, and an abundance of amazing things to do!

This ultimate list presents the best things to do in Ballarat, featuring tranquil waterfalls, incredible museums, guided tours, remarkable architecture and stonework, scenic lookouts, gorgeous historical gardens, fun things to do, and more. There are just so many fantastic Ballarat attractions for you to discover.

Take a look through the following list, and get started planning your next day out in beautiful Ballarat!

Spend a day at Sovereign Hill

Visit Sovereign Hill's living museum and discover what life was like during Ballarat's 1850's gold rush! This is one of the most outstanding Ballarat attractions, and is an absolute must-see.

Sovereign Hill is a remarkable goldfields town complete with shops, hotels, schools, factories, a theatre, a gold diggings and underground mines to explore.

Working exhibits are brought to life by fully costumed characters and over forty horses!

Guided underground mine tours, workshops, demonstrations, restaurants, stores, and night shows are some of the main attractions at Sovereign Hill.

Sovereign Hill is renowned for its authentic hand made lollies, which can be purchased from the lolly shop at Sovereign Hill as well as the gift shop.

The underground mine tours at Sovereign Hill are also absolutely unmissable, with a range of options available.

Visitors can try their luck panning for gold in the creek at Sovereign Hill. You'll find real gold in the creek which runs through the diggings! Gold panning kits are available.

Explore Ballarat's beautiful bluestone laneways

Ballarat hosts a gorgeous collection of historic bluestone lanes, which you'll discover tucked away between the streets throughout the Ballarat CBD.

You can take a self-guided tour of the beautiful hidden lanes of Ballarat! See more details here.

Try your luck searching for gold

Are you looking to try your luck gold prospecting around Ballarat? The region is world famous for the huge alluvial gold nugget discoveries which continue to hit the news today! 

Ballarat and surrounds is a fantastic area for gold detecting, panning and sluicing, and we've put together this handy gold prospecting guide to get you started in the area. 

Meet some gorgeous animals at the Ballarat Wildlife Park

Head over to the Ballarat Wildlife Park where get up close and personal with a huge variety of Australia's native animals. 

Experience hand feeding kangaroos, with over one hundred of them roaming freely around the park! You can also enjoy an "animal experience", where you can get a professional photo taken of yourself with an animal!

Take a comfortable walk around the park to discover all the animals which call this place home, and enjoy lunch at the fully licenced cafe. There's a fantastic outdoor picnic area for those who prefer to bring a packed lunch. 

The Ballarat Wildlife Park is a fantastic highlight out of the many interesting things to do in Ballarat, Victoria. 

Go for a swim

Looking for awesome new swimming spots near Ballarat? We've got you covered! Check out this big list of our favourite local places to swim, you're sure to find inspiration for your next summer day out!

Browse Ballarat's beautiful art galleries

The Art Gallery of Ballarat is Australia's oldest regional gallery, and presents an outstanding collection of Australian art! It's free to enter, and you can even take a free immersive guided tour. 

Ballarat's nearby Post Office Gallery hosts a changing exhibition program which showcases a wide range of work by Federation University's Arts Academy students and staff, Australian contemporary artists, and aquisitions from Federation University's extensive Permanent Art Collection.


There are lots of incredible views to appreciate around Ballarat! 

Head up to the summit of Sovereign Hill and look down over the world-renowned goldfield along Golden Point's Main Road! 

Look down over the incredible open cut mine, as well as the town of Ballarat, from the beautiful Black Hill Reserve.

Ascend the nearby Mount Buninyong and Mount Warrenheip for stunning views of the surrounding areas. 

Discover the region's beautiful waterfalls

Looking for waterfalls to explore near Ballarat? There are nine gorgeous waterfalls within an hours drive of town, and three of them are located just down the road in the beautiful hamlet of Lal Lal.  

Take a look through this list of nearby waterfalls and start planning your next adventure in the Victorian Goldfields!

Take a self guided tour 

Embark on a self-guided tour and explore the beautiful city of Ballarat at your own pace! 

Visit Ballarat presents a fantastic collection of amazing self-guided tours, catering to a wide range of interests. Check them all out here!

Spend a day at Kryal Castle

Image source: Kryal Castle

Kryal Castle is an incredible fantasy-based Medieval theme park, where you'll experience a unique day of imagination within the walls of a replica castle! This is another of the absolute must-see Ballarat attractions.

Immerse yourself in a world of myths and magic, watch a real life jousting tournament, learnt the art of archery and more!

Visit the Kryal Castle website for information and bookings. 

Visit the Ballarat Municipal Observatory and Museum

Image Source: Ballarat Obseratory

Turn your gaze to the skies at Ballarat's historic observatory, which has been bringing the Universe to the community for over a century! Opened in 1886, this was the first municipal observatory in Australia. 

Book a time to participate in the Observatory's fascinating education programs, or drop by and visit the Science Shop whenever you like.

Visit the Ballarat Observatory website for more information and bookings. 

Take a walk in the park

Ballarat has a wide variety of parks and gardens that are fantastic for an afternoon stroll. Victoria Park, Pioneer Park, and the Botanical Gardens are just a few you will enjoy exploring! 

Walking is a great way to explore, and you'll be sure to discover many amazing things to do in Ballarat along your way. 

Have a picnic in the Botanical Gardens

Pack a picnic lunch and head out to one of the area's gorgeous Botanical Gardens!

The Ballarat Botanical Garden is home to many notable features, and covers an extensive area in Wendouree. Lose yourself in the many beautiful walkways, the walk-in fernery, the conservatory, and more!

The Buninyong Botanical Garden (pictured above) features a scenic lake, shaded ornamental pond, excellent picnic facilities, a children's playground and several walking tracks, the Buninyong Botanic Garden is a wonderful place for relaxation and recreation. 

Explore Ballarat Bird World

Image source: Ballarat Bird World

Head to the beautiful Ballarat Bird World and check out over two hundred parrots on display! Take a walk through the large free flight aviary, feed the fish in the ornamental lake, search for checkpoints in a wooden maze, and spend some time as an archaeologist digging for fossils!

Head out on a ghost tour

Old Cemetery, Ballarat VIC. Image source: Eerie Tours

Ballarat was once a booming gold town and is filled with grand architecture and an action-packed history. Eerie Tours take you through the cemetery and the streets of Ballarat, offering a glimpse into part of the town's forgotten underground.

This is a great example of some of the more unique things to do in Ballarat, Victoria. 

Explore an abandoned gold mine

The extensive ruins of the Jubilee Company Quartz Gold Mine are a fascinating place to explore! Take a self-guided walk around the area, with illustrated signposts providing plenty of information along the way. 

This significant site is nestled away within the beautiful forest of the Jubilee Historic Area, just half an hour from Ballarat.

Appreciate the architecture along Sturt Street Gardens

Take a scenic stroll along the Sturt Street Gardens, a stretch of parkland which encompasses 13 blocks of Sturt Street's central divider. 

Discover the many fascinating monuments and ornamental garden beds, taking in views of Ballarat's grand 19th century architecture along the way!  

Head to a water park for a splash!

Looking for a place to bring the kids to cool off? Head over to the Midlands Reserve Splash Park (pictured above) or the Sebastopol Water Play Park and enjoy an afternoon of fun in the water. 

There's also another splash park in Creswick, not far from Ballarat. 

Go to the beautiful historic Regent Cinema

Ballarat's Regent Cinema has a gorgeous heritage character! The cinema offers a wide range of films from Blockbusters and 3D to quality Showcase films, screened in both standard and luxury Showcase Premium auditoriums! 

Take a guided tour of the region's wineries

Enjoy a relaxing day out on a guided tour of the Pyrenees Wine Region or the Black Cockatoo Wine Trail with Golden Nugget Discovery Tours.

Golden Nugget Discovery Tours is a genuine Ecotourism Operator offering a wide range of nature, heritage and adventure tours throughout the many unique regions of Western and Central Victoria. Guided tours are available across the Goldfields, Daylesford & Spa Country, Pyrenees Wine Region, Grampians National Park, and Great Ocean Road!

Go on a camping trip

The Ballarat region hosts a huge collection of fantastic free campgrounds! 

Whether you're looking for a summer lake-side camp, a peaceful bushland setting, or a scenic spot by the river, you're sure to find the perfect destination for your next camping trip. 

This massive list covers all the best campgrounds within an hour of Ballarat and includes distance from town, visitor facilities, things to do, and whether you can bring your dog along with you!

Visit Ballarat's beautiful historical railway station

This gorgeous building is a great place to stop by for a look, featuring a striking clock tower, interesting historical plans on display, and an old-style bar/cafe at the end of the platform.

Located on Lydiard Street, this is a great place to check out at the same time as Ballarat's impressive Regent Cinema. 

Learn about Australia's Democracy and the Eureka Rebellion 

The Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens in Ballarat East commemorate one of Australia's most defining historical events - the Eureka Stockade Rebellion of December 3, 1854. 

The park is extensive and has many excellent features including a musical playground, fantastic barbecue and picnic facilities, sweeping green lawns, and a scenic lake and walking track. 

The beautiful gardens are also home to the Eureka Centre (formerly known as the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka), where the iconic Eureka Flag can be viewed along with a brilliant collection of historical artefacts and informative displays.

Spend a day at Lake Burrumbeet

Lake Burrumbeet is a fantastic destination for swimming, fishing, boating and free camping, located just twenty minutes from Ballarat. 

This massive lake provides plenty of space along the scenic shore to set up for an afternoon (or weekend) of relaxation and recreation.

Take a stroll through the Old Ballarat Cemetery

Take a stroll through the Ballaarat Old Cemetery and learn some of the area's fascinating history through a series of displays, walks and memorials. 

Notable features of the cemetery include the Eureka memorials, the beautifully restored 1890's rotunda, Anzac Heritage walking trail, Chinese section with funerary oven and altar, and an indoor information centre with detailed displays.

A map of the cemetery is provided on a sign near the information centre, which shows the location of the Pioneer's Block, the 1892 Rotunda, the Eureka Diggers' Monument, and the Eureka Soldiers' Monument. 

Get back to nature in the Woowookarung Regional Park

Get back to nature and spend an afternoon exploring the informal walking tracks and scenic views throughout the Woorookarung Regional Park, situated right beside Ballarat!

A brilliant feature of the park is the new Dementia Friendly Forest and Sensory Trail. The trail provides a gorgeous native sensory garden and sensory cue trail in a peaceful bushland setting. 

The trail is designed to evoke positive feelings, sensations and memories for people living with dementia. 

Visitors can see, smell, touch and hear nature through a series of short walks, sitting areas and viewing points along the way. 

Take a look at the Ballarat Tramway Museum

Visit the Ballarat Tramway Museum and enjoy a ride on Australia's most authentic working tramway! The journey takes you through the beautiful Ballarat Botanical Gardens. 

The museum itself has a collection of tramcars on display, along with various activities and exhibits. 

Enjoy the Ballarat Begonia Festival

Image source: Ballarat Begonia Festival

Ballarat's outstanding Begonia Festival was established in 1953 and showcases Ballarat's natural assets, including its unique and rare collections of Begonias! This impressive collection is the rarest in the southern hemisphere. Held in March, this innovative event draws thousands of visitors to the city!

Find out more about the Ballarat Begonia Festival

Go shopping!

Indulge in some retail therapy at one of Ballarat's brilliant shopping centres! Choose from Bridge Mall, Stockland Wendouree, Delacombe Town Centre, or Central Square, all large retail hubs with a variety of stores and cafes.

Visit beautiful Buninyong

Explore the gorgeous town of Buninyong, which is situated right next door to Ballarat, and explore the many scenic parks, historic sites, and the stunning Mount Buninyong.

Visit the museum, browse the local shops, and enjoy a coffee in one of the outstanding cafes!

Immerse yourself in the Ballarat Heritage Festival

The Ballarat Heritage Festival runs yearly over a weekend in May, and celebrates the city's rich and fascinating history.

The event includes public access to selected historical buildings, vintage transport, vintage car displays, visits to the Ballarat Railway Station by Steamrail Victoria locomotives, horse and carts, actors in period attire, walking tours, and more!

Enjoy the local food

Image source: Carboni's

Ballarat is home to a huge variety of unique food venues! 

Enjoy authentic Italian hospitality at Carboni's. Follow Ballarat's iconic Umbrella Avenue to dine at the hidden Hop Temple. Indulge in a meal with a view on Lake Wendouree's foreshore at the Boatshed.

The dining options are endless in Ballarat, with a wide range of cuisines and atmospheres to discover.

Wander down the Prime Ministers Avenue

The Prime Ministers Avenue is an outstanding feature of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, where each of Australia's Prime Ministers are on display as bronze portraits mounted on pedestals of polished granite!

This avenue is of national significance and was established in 1940, when the busts of Australia's first six Prime Ministers were unveiled. 

Head out to the Ballarat Aviation Museum

Stop in at the Ballarat Aviation Museum and be amazed by the collection of aircraft, engines, radios, cameras and aviation memorabilia! 

This incredible collection is a must-see in Ballarat and is definitely worth a visit while exploring the area. 

Explore the beautiful Black Hill Reserve

Head up to the Black Hill Reserve and check out the stunning views over Ballarat, as well as the remnants of historical gold mining operations!

This impressive patch of parkland is just minutes from the CBD and offers amazing views, remnants of both open cut and shaft mining, incredible scenery, beautiful (but steep) walking tracks, picnic tables, and an excellent Mountain Bike Park.

Relive your childhood with Go-Karts and Laserforce

Visit Ballarat's fantastic Indoor Go Karts & Laserforce venue, and enjoy an afternoon with the kids... or an afternoon reliving your own childhood! 

Race against your friends, family or workmates, play a game of laser tag in furutistic Gen7 suits, and lose yourself in the Arcade Entertainment Zone which is packed with the latest arcade equipment.

Take the kids to the Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground

The enormous Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground is an absolute must-see for kids! 

This fantastic playground is located along the banks of the picturesque Lake Wendouree and is directly across the road from the beautiful Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

Enjoy a scenic stroll around the lake

There are several fantastic options for a scenic lake-side stroll in Ballarat. 

Once a quarry for the Eureka Tile Works, Lake Esmond has been developed into a beautiful haven for recreation and relaxation, with excellent visitor facilities set alongside the scenic lake. 

The picturesque Lake Wendouree features extensive walking tracks and visitors facilities around the shore.

Not far from town, the beautiful Lake Burrumbeet offers a peaceful Nature Walk

Play a game of Gold Rush or lost worlds themed mini golf

Enjoy a game of themed mini golf at Gold Rush Mini Golf, where you can choose from a Gold Rush or Lost Worlds theme. 

The Gold Rush course celebrates Ballarat's fascinating gold rush history, with facades and props throughout the course. Putt your way through an old Ballarat streetscape, inside a mine shaft, and beside a flowing stream. Check out the informative plaques along the way and learn about the town's settlement, miners, gold, and the story of Eureka!

The Lost Worlds course is a glow in the dark adventure, where you venture through the world of dinosaurs, walk the hallways of medieval castles, and explore Caribbean pirate hideouts!


Some very significant gold discoveries were made in Ballarat! Today you can still visit the spots where several of these monumental finds were made.

Poverty Point

Not long after the exciting discoveries at Clunes and Buninyong, gold was found on Yuille's Ballarat Station in August of 1851. The spot where gold was found was called Poverty Point, and today is the site of a scenic commemorative park, complete with a beautifully presented information sign and a hillside monument.

The Welcome Nugget

Replica of the Welcome Nugget held in the Sovereign Hill Museums Association collection

This enormous gold nugget was discovered in the Red Hill Mine at Bakery Hill, Ballaarat in 1858. At the time it was the largest gold nugget ever discovered in the world, weighing in at a whopping 2,217 ounces!

The Welcome Nugget remains the second largest alluvial gold nugget found in Australia, second to the famous Welcome Stranger of Moliagul.

Today a commemorative monument sits above the spot where the Welcome Nugget was discovered! This is situated on the corner of Mair and Humffray Streets in Bakery Hill.

Sovereign Hill offer a Red Hill Mine Tour where you take a self-guided walk through a replica of the mine and discover the story of the Welcome Nugget.

The Blacksmiths Hole

The Blacksmith's Hole was an extraordinarily rich mining claim on the junction of the Prince Regent and Canadian Leads in Ballarat, where a shaft was sunk in 1853 to 110 feet deep with unbelievable results. 

Known as a "jewellers' shop", this remarkable claim is estimated to have yielded a ton of gold! 

Miners in the adjoining claims dug in upon the blacksmith's claim to get at the rich wash dirt, with one party driving right through into the blacksmith's mine shaft. This claim was worked multiple times, with rich yields every time.

Situated in a backyard beside the present course of the Canadian Creek, the site of the Blacksmith's Hole is commemorated by an ornate iron signpost on the roadside where Main Road becomes Geelong Road in Canadian, not far down from Sovereign Hill.




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