In the middle of the Goldfields region and with a beautiful family town, Ballarat is one of Victoria’s most important Regional Centres. Known as one of the wealthiest goldfields on earth, Ballarat and the surrounding region still harbour treasures. Ballarat is a popular destination for tourists, particularly history buffs and foodies, thanks to its lively arts culture and historic buildings with wide green streets where award-winning country restaurants are located.
Ballarat is an ideal place for exploring this part of the country. Although it’s the fourth season destination, autumn is considered an exceptional time of year when this region burns brightly with red roses, yellows and oranges. See our list of the most popular places and activities in Ballarat for ideas about what you’d like to do.
From fantastic art galleries and museums to historic architecture and natural beauties like Lal Lal Falls. The region’s delicious restaurants and artisan foods can be enjoyed by foodies. And you could go for a day trip to culture-rich Bendigo, Ballarat, the beautiful Macedons and some ancient towns around here if you’ve finished all your experiences.
Unique Things to Do in Ballarat
This complete list of the best things to see and do in Ballarat includes calming waterfalls, magnificent museums, walking tours, inspiring architecture & stonework, excellent lookout points, gorgeous historic gardens, and fun ways to spend your time. Start planning your next day in lovely Ballarat by looking at this list!
Ballarat Wildlife Park
Do you want to get away from all those historical sights? The perfect place for families is Ballarat Wildlife Park, especially if they like animals. You’ll see some animals: kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, emus, wombats, tiny penguins, Tasmanian devils and dingoes. You can roam freely around and hand-feed these friendly marsupials with exceptional food purchased on-site.
Moreover, this park is famous for offering a close experience with animals: you can touch and cuddle them, free-roaming kangaroos, and click pictures with them. It is an excellent place for children to have the joy of feeding animals, which freely roam here and there, with their hands.
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
On the western shore of Lake Wendouree, the beautiful 40-acre Ballarat Botanical Gardens are among the best cold climate gardens in Australia. Organized into four different zones, this well-manicured botanical collection has been a top tourist attraction in Ballarat for more than 150 years, attracting garden lovers from around the world.
The Robert Clark Conservatory has been a highlight. Summer and winter are filled with various colourful seasonal blooms, including hydrangeas, fuchsias, pelargoniums, cyclamen, and primula. Visit this place in the fall, and you’ll see an impressive display of begonias here, timed to coincide with the famous Ballarat Begonia Festival. The Botanical Gardens of Ballarat is a beautiful place to have a picnic. Please pull up a rug on the rolling lawn, breathe in the scents of old pines and freshly cultivated green grass, and soak all that botanical beauty into it.
Kryal Castle is a medieval adventure park where you will witness mythical dragons, queens, kings, knights, and wizards. This is where children can have great fun as they can see a real-life joust between knights in full armour riding warehouses.
Moreover, there is a facility for spending a night at the castle and having a delicious dinner. The original castle was refurbished, and a replica was built to restore all the authentic areas of the court, including a moat, drawbridge, maze, and castle towers, which were then opened to tourists.
Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground
Located on the banks of picturesque Lake Wendouree, this playground is made of wood. Children have enough resources to spend a great day here, like- slides, swings, monkey bars, forts, climbing structures, steering wheels, tunnels, etc.
Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground is a vast and electrifying place with its beautiful swans, birdlife, paddle boats, historical tram rides, and Pipers that make you want to stay there all day. You can make your day memorable with a scenic stroll in the area alongside Lake Wendouree. Visiting this place is among the best things to do in Ballarat.
Eureka Centre is one of the top tourist attractions in Ballarat. The Eureka flag, one of Australia’s most prestigious cultural artefacts and textile treasures, is here. Additionally, The Eureka Centre examines this significant event and the effects of mining for gold from Victoria on its history and culture. You’ll also learn the heartbreaking stories of miners who participated in this rebellion. One of the Museum’s most popular features is an antique Eureka flag, one of our country’s greatest treasures.
Moreover, Eureka’s uprising was a social movement for the development of Australian democracy. The Eureka Centre portrays the cultural impact of the Victorian gold rush and acknowledges those who have laid down their lives in the fight for minors’ rights. Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens surrounds the centre and offers never-seen-before scenic beauty.
Ballarat Art Gallery
Ballarat Art Gallery is known worldwide for its best regional collections in the country and displays them uniquely and creatively. The Gallery houses Australian art and is the most extensive regional art gallery.
The art gallery of Ballarat presents several exhibitions that depict its extensive collection of magnificent Australian art, which includes paintings, ceramics, sculptures, and works on paper. The heritage-listed Gallery is one of the top Ballarat attractions. It is in the heart of Ballarat’s central heritage precinct, the oldest regional Gallery in Australia.
Michael Unwin Wines
Michael Unwin Wines has a lot to offer. Michael Unwin Wines is one of the best wineries in all of Ballarat. It has more than 16 kinds of wines that will help you unwind. This place will never disappoint you; you will relish every moment spent here.
Pondering on things to do in Ballarat? Visit Lydiard Street. Historic Lydiard Street is situated in central Ballarat. Stroll in this exciting area, which is rich in heritage and culture. The Lydiard Street Heritage Precinct is a historical and architectural marvel known for its group of six neo-classical banks.
Daylesford Day Trip
Daylesford is a golden city unlike any other, located on the edge of Wombat State Forest, some 40 minutes from Ballarat. Swiss and Italian immigrants settled here during the gold rush for the gold and the water. Together with twin town Hepburn Springs, Daylesford is the spa capital of Australia and one of the most popular weekend getaways from Melbourne.
If you have time, drive north of Daylesford to Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm, which is about 15 minutes from here. This working lavender farm is a lovely place to grab a bite to eat and pick up some lavender-infused products. You’ll see the harvest of lavender being carried out by hand with old-fashioned sickles this summer. If the fields are entirely bloomed, you can capture some beautiful photographs.
Ballarat Bird WorldBallarat Bird World, in Victorian Australia, has been a haven for bird lovers and curious visitors alike. There are a fascinating range of winged wonders in the avian sanctuary, from colorful parrots to magnificent birds of prey. TheImmersive Experience will enable visitors to experience birds in their natural habitats, providing greater appreciation of nature’s beauty and behaviour.
The importance of conservation has been emphasized by educational programmes, which make it a popular destination for families and nature lovers. Ballarat Bird World creates a peaceful escape, inviting people to embrace the charming world of our feathered friends with interactive displays and an audio symphony of diverse bird calls. Stroll along the walkway and relish the beautiful bushy surroundings and exotic migratory birds. Wait, you still have exciting things to do in Ballarat.
Post Office Gallery
Post Office Gallery is an art gallery in Ballarat dedicated to providing top-notch educational resources and showcasing a splendid exhibition program. The fantastic artworks of FedUni’s Arts Academy students, staff, and local and emerging Australian and international artists are featured on its walls. It is indeed an ideal place for art lovers.
In the dynamic world of art, sculpture and multimedia installations, which often reflect Ballarat’s rich history and evolving narrative, visitors can experience it for themselves. The Post Office Gallery preserves the building’s history and gives a new lease on life to the city’s artistic spirit.
Lake Esmond Botanical Park
Lake Esmond Botanical Park is a quaint, exotic spot to have your picnic. It is a peaceful place with a fantastic lake to walk around and sit by its side to have your delicacies. The colourful Australian birdlife, tranquillity, and few water sports make the park worth visiting.
You’ll find native Australian plants, vibrant flowers, and soothing sounds of birdlife along the winding paths. The park invites families, couples, and nature lovers to relax in the beauty of Ballarat’s surroundings by providing picnic tables and recreational areas that are well cared for.
Victoria Park is one of Ballarat’s most significant parks. It has ample green space and an excellent range of activities for people of all ages. The park contains many playing fields and lawn areas. The inclusive play space is divided into play zones and features equipment like a double-flying fox, swings, slides, sports ovals, shade shelters, and a carousel.
The park’s focal point, Lake Esmond, provides a touch of calm and reflects the surrounding vegetation. With playgrounds for children, barbecue areas, and a sense of community, Victoria Park is not just a recreational space but a vibrant social hub. It combines the beauty of nature with the joy of shared outdoor activities in a seamless way.
Maldon Day Trip
The small town of Maldon is about an hour’s drive from Ballarat and offers a taste of the gold rush era. A stretch of Main Street is lined with beautifully restored 19th-century buildings that provide a wide range of antiques, shops, cafés, restaurants and art galleries amidst the rolling hills and forested landscape.
For the best views of the area, head to the top of Anzac Hill or drive up to the lookout of Mt. Tarrangower; if you’re a music lover and have a chance to visit in the spring, the Maldon Folk Festival is a popular event featuring folk music, theatre, and dance. A fun way to travel here is aboard a restored steam train, courtesy of the Victorian Goldfields Railway.
Take a Day Trip to Bendigo
Bendigo, one of Victoria’s major regional towns, is buzzing with cultural delights and lively cafés and restaurants. From Ballarat, it’s about a 90-minute drive. The grand European architecture with a distinctly Australian style, wide boulevards lined by trees, and abundant art galleries and churches offer surprises at every turn.
Family-friendly entertainment in Bendigo includes the Discovery Science & Technology Centre with interactive children’s exhibits and peaceful Rosalind Park, an excellent place for picnics or relaxing walks on the outskirts of town. You can also take a walk around the bird-rich lake of Weeroona. The Bendigo Tramways Tour, the narrated trip through town, is an excellent way of exploring some of these sights.
Castlemaine Day Trip
Castlemaine’s a beautifully restored village in the heart of goldfields that a day trip from Ballarat should visit. The little town is a favourite among art lovers, gardens and food connoisseurs with its wide streets and narrow lanes. Several excellent, organic cafés serve seasonal local food, and you will also find a wide range of antique shops all over the city.
There are plenty of other popular activities in Castlemaine, like visiting the Castlemaine Art Museum devoted to Australian artists and looking at Buda’s Historic Home and Garden, filled with art and antiques or surrounded by beautiful heritage gardens. It is in the village of Clunes, just a little way from here, that Victoria’s first gold discovery was made in 1851, and you should see its historic architecture if you have time.
Ballarat Begonia Festival
This festival is an annual carnival and community cultural festival which attracts tourists from all over the world. It is themed around the begonia flower; the festival program includes intricate flower displays, planting on the main city streets, farmers’ markets, live music, children’s activities, and roving performers. Besides these wonderful activities, you will have entertainment, delicious food, and celebrity guests.
With live music, art installations and tempting local cuisine, the festival has a lively atmosphere that extends beyond flowers. The Begonia Festival will celebrate nature’s beauty and be an integral part of our community tradition as Ballarat explodes in colour.
Castlemaine Day TripCastlemaine is another charming, restored village you’ll want to visit in your day tour from Ballarat at the heart of the goldfields. The small town is popular with artists, gardeners, and food lovers because of its wide streets and narrow lanes. You’ll find a number of excellent organic cafés serving seasonal local cuisine, and you’ll find antiquarian bookshops scattered throughout the city.
Nature lovers and families enjoy strolling around the picturesque walking paths at the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens; kids will love the playground. After visiting here, stop by the Mill Castlemaine in front of the Gardens to buy your meal from a Viennese café and drink freshly brewed coffee or browse an antique shop full of classic treasures all under one roof.
Ballarat is shaping up to be an experience at the heart of Victoria. Each corner reveals a distinctive aspect of this charming city as you take in the history of Sovereign Hill or explore the vibrant flora at Lake Esmond Botanical Park. Cultural excursions are offered by the post office gallery and Tramway Museum and at the Begonia festival, which brings flower beauty to the city.
Ballarat blends history, nature and community with ease as it walks through the green fields of Victoria Park or discovers avian wonders in Bird World. This city is enticing and promises a tapestry of memories for those who want to learn about its vast offerings.