It's just like stepping back in time to goldrush Ballarat during the 1850s - from the hustle and bustle of Main Street where costumed ladies and gents parade their new-found wealth, to the excitement of the Red Hill Gully Diggings where visitors pan for real gold and it's 'finders keepers'! Visitors can see a $150,000 gold pour, ride in a horse-drawn carriage and watch street performers, including the Redcoat Soldiers who march and drill before firing their muskets. For the adventurous, there are underground mine tours with an inclined tramway ride.More >
M.A.D.E is Australia's newest museum and opened on 4 May 2013 on the site of the Eureka Rebellion in Ballarat. M.A.D.E is a digitally-immersive, state-of-the-art museum that has been curated in collaboration with some of the best Australian and international historians, museum experts and innovative minds. It harnesses the profound Eureka story in the context of the 21st century. With the evocative 158-year-old Eureka Flag as its centrepiece, M.A.D.E's interactive and immersing exhibitions explore the evolution and the future of democracy.More >
Is there really a 700 year old castle on a hill outside Ballarat, just one hour from Melbourne? Kryal Castle is, in truth, only a 40 year old theme park, but it is a well-executed one following a multi-million dollar redevelopment. Reopening in March 2013 as Kryal Castle Adventure Park and Resort, this is Australia' only medieval adventure park, and recreates a legendary land of myths and medieval adventure with knights, dragons, wizards, kings, queens, princesses and fairies.More >
Visit the Creswick Woollen Mills tourism experience “A Very Fine Yarn” showcasing the journey of fibre; all the way from its source on the alpaca, through the manufacturing process and how it ends up on the shop shelf. The exhibit gives a great insight into natural fibre, how luxurious fibres are processed and gives visitors a chance to see Australian manufacturing. Meet our resident alpacas and purchase Australian products made at the Mill! Retail store open 9am-5pm, 7 days a week and interpretive tours at 11am and 2pm every day.More >
Set upon 32 acres of woodland is a collection of Australian native animals and reptiles which have been chosen for their educational and conservation potential. The Reptile collection features over 200 snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodiles and frogs. In January 2014, a new $1million Crocodile Billabong Enclosure was opened, featuring the newly aquired 5 metre crocodile 'Crunch'!More >
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Just a stone's throw from Lake Wendouree is the iconic Ballarat Botanical Gardens, established in 1858. Home to the avenue of Prime Minister busts, marble statues, and huge shady trees - it's one of Australia's oldest and finest gardens set amongst 40 hectares. Enjoy a drink in the impressive Robert Clark Conservatory and marvel at the seasonal botanical displays, including the famous begonia exhibition, the jewel of the Ballarat Begonia Festival, held on the Labour Day weekend each year.
Founded in 1884, the Art Gallery of Ballarat has one of the most comprehensive collections of Australian paintings in the nation. The works featured here are just a small selection from a holding that extends from convict artists of Van Diemen's Land to the present day. Virtually every movement or trend that has come to the fore since the colonial era is represented. There's always something new to see and to do at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.More >
Lake Wendouree is the go-to jewel in Ballarat's crown, centrally located and boasting walking, running and cycling trails, bird watching, playgrounds, picnicking, rowing, canoeing and sailing.
Ballarat Wine Region
Take a drive around the Ballarat region and you'll see mist-shrouded vineyards on gently rolling hills. The air here is as clean as the water. Call into one of the local wineries and you'll find subtly fragrant Pinot Noir, restrained Chardonnay and elegant Sparkling Wines, among other varieties. Low temperatures and yields, combined with small hands-on wineries, are giving Ballarat wines a boutique reputation.
Visitors of Sovereign Hill must not leave before they've seen Blood on the Southern Cross. This multi-million dollar production is shown nightly and set under the very same stars who watched over the miners as they fought for their freedom over 150 years before. Be transported back in time to 1854, when the gold miners of Ballarat decided they've had enough and stood up to the unjust and corrupt rule of the British colonisers.More >
Discover one of Australia's finest avenues with a pod tour, and walk in the shoes of the notable characters that strolled Ballarat in the 1800s. Sturt Street is a tree-lined boulevard with a European ambience thanks to its imposing architecture, extensive statues and delightful centre gardens more than two kilometres long. As you stroll along, your iPod will introduce you to bandstands, fountains, statues and memorials.