Ballarat Top Things To Do

Eureka Flag at Eureka Stockade Centre Ballarat Victoria
Last updated Jun 14, 2024
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Ballarat Activities and Attractions

Ballarat is a great place to spend time exploring and enjoying the outdoors. From its stunning natural attractions to its rich colonial history and the gold rush era.

You’ll find plenty to do in this inland city. And, you can go on bushwalk trails, visit art galleries, and go on a walk to see the architecture and the monuments in this country town in Victoria Australia.

Top Things to Do in Ballarat

  • Explore Sovereign Hill
  • Pick your Own Sunflowers at a Sunflower Field
  • Have an adventure at Kryal Castle
  • Take a picture with the Big Miner
  • Play Mini Golf
  • Visit Sturt Street and see the monuments and statues
  • See the Queen Victoria Memorial
  • Go on a walk at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens
  • Visit Bakery Hill and learn about what happened
  • Go on a historical tour
  • Visit the Eureka Stockade Centre
  • Have lunch by Lake Wendouree
  • Play on the playground at the Eureka Stockade Centre
  • Walk or ride a bike on the Goldfield track
  • Walk around the town and see the heritage buildings
  • Have lunch at a cafe, restaurant, or pub
  • Walk around Lake Wendouree Foreshore
  • Have lunch at Lake Wendouree Foreshore
  • Visit the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial
  • Pack a picnic
  • Stay at Ballarat
  • Visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park
  • Participate in an Animal Encounter
  • Experience Christmas in July, Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill
  • Immerse Yourself in the Ballarat Begonia Festival from 9 to 11 March 2024

Experiences To Do In Ballarat

Immerse yourself in the gold rush era at Sovereign Hill where you can pan for gold and see the trades of the 1850s. Get details for the Sovereign Hill ticket.

Go on a day trip to Sovereign Hill. get details for the Sovereign Hill day trip.

Stay at Sovereign Hill Hotel, 400m from Sovereign Hill. Get details, read reviews get details for Sovereign Hill Hotel.

Visit the medieval theme park on top of the hill in Ballarat. Go back in time with events like jousting, axe throwing, and the maze, Get details for the Kryal Castle ticket.

My Story with Ballarat

I am drawn to Ballarat due to the gold rush era when my great-great grandfather was a gold miner. He was a working shareholder and shareholder in various gold mining companies.

Therefore, I have been researching for a long time for evidence about his life in Ballarat. I am fortunate that the old newspapers have been digitalised in Trove by the National Library of Australia. And, I've found articles about him.

Recently, I found a drawing of one of the gold mines that he was a working shareholder with his name on it. So, I need to go visit Ballarat to do some research in person.

Blacksmith Sovereign Hill

Ballarat Sovereign Hill Take a Step Back in Time

I have been to Sovereign Hill many times over the years by car. It's on my things in Ballarat to-do again list. In 2020 Sovereign Hill had its 50th, so I'll need to go through my photos to look for some old ones.

You can experience Victoria’s Gold Rush era of the 1850s at Sovereign Hill.  And, you’ll find it’s an outdoor museum with costumed townsfolk. working craftspeople and schools. Take a journey through the bustling main street, witness a gold pour, learn how gold was discovered, and explore underground mines.

You can experience a range of activities like panning gold and sluicing in the creek. Explore the history of the area which gives you a feel for what it was like during the gold rush. You’ll find live theatre performances like Blackbeard the Pirate Pantomime which was in the summer program.

And, paid special events like Aura a light and sound show that depicts the Eureka Rebellion held on Saturday evenings, Make sure you prebook.

In the winter program, the Winter Wonderlights with lights and snow faux are held during the school holidays. In 2022, it started the weekend when term 2 finished and ran for three weeks.

The everyday program includes interactive displays and demonstrations from the working craftspeople, blacksmiths, candle makers, and woodworkers.

Activities to Do at Sovereign Hill which is included

  • Trooper Musket-Firing Demonstration
  • Special Effects in the Victorian Era
  • Redcoat Soldiers
  • Gold-Panning
  • Horse Harnessing
  • Speedwell Street
  • Bowling
  • Diggings Tour
  • Pill Rolling Demonstration
  • Gold Pour Demonstration
  • Voltaic Battery Blasting Demonstration
  • Main Street Games
  • Wheel-Making Demonstration
  • Blacksmith Demonstration
  • Printing Demonstration
  • Confectionery Demonstration
  • Red Hill Mine Tour
  • Surface Machinery Tour
  • Meet the Butcher
  • Candle Making Demonstration

Get Sovereign Hill ticket

Things to do at Sovereign Hill that cost extra

  • Photography Experience
  • Gold Mine Tours
  • Coach Rides
  • Candle-dipping Sessions
  • New York Bakery
  • Special Events

From Melbourne Day Trip to Sovereign Hill

Catch a day trip bus in Melbourne to Sovereign Hill and Eureka Centre. And, you can get to feel what it was like in the gold rush days of the 19th Century in Ballarat and Victoria.

Sovereign Hill replicas Ballarat back in its gold rush days. You can go gold panning and walk in the underground gold mine. I have participated in both of these activities. You can ask the people dressed up in costumes for a photo with them, too! You can purchase optional activities as well.

Sunflower Field, Pick Your Own Sunflowers

Sunflower picking season is here, you can head to Ballarat. You'll find a sunflower field where you can pick your sunflowers in Dunnstown. It's usually open in February and March.

Are you ready to dive into the beauty of hand-picking your sunflowers?

In 2024, experience the Sunflower Festival on 11 March with live music. See the sunset in the sunflower fields.

I went with my family in another year to pick sunflowers. You can learn more about visiting by reading about my experience at the sunflower field in Dunnstown and updates .

Picking Sunflowers at Ballarat

Picking Sunflowers © Jennifer Empey

Take a Selfie with the Big Miner

Not far away from the sunflower field is the Big Miner statue. It's found at Warrenheip. You can take some photos with the Big Miner.

Big Miner Address; 9367C National Highway M8 Warrenheip Victoria 3352

Nearby, you can play mini golf at the Goldrush Outdoor Mini Golf. It has an outdoor gold rush theme and an indoor dinosaur theme.

Goldrush Outdoor Mini Golf Address: 4/9367 National Highway M8 Warrenheip Victoria 3352

Big Miner in Ballarat Victoria

Check out Ballarat Kryal Castle

For a fun day out, why not visit Kryal Castle, one of Ballarat’s tourist attractions? It is an interactive medieval theme park that takes you back in time to relive the days of knights, dragons, and jousting tournaments!

You can get dressed up as peasants or royalty from the Middle Ages. Enjoy sword fighting games with your friends, explore the castle grounds, and go carousel riding in a horse and buggy.

The entire experience will leave you feeling like you've been transported through time! Get Kryal Castle ticket details.

Things to Do at Kryal Castle, regular events like

  • The Royal Joust
  • Archery
  • Axe Throwing
  • Mounted Skill-at-Arms Display
  • The Maze
  • Dragon’s Labyrinth
  • Knight School
  • Torture Dungeon & Museum
  • Jester’s Theatre
  • Retailers

Download the app for details of special events, activities, shows, and performances.

It has been a while since I've been, and it's on my list to go again. Get Kryal Castle Ticket Details

Ballarat Kryal Castle Maze

The Maze

Explore the Eureka Stockade Centre

Discover life as a digger at the Eureka Stockade Centre. Explore what life was really like during the 1850s gold rush era. Immerse yourself in an important location of Victoria's colonial past.

Learn about the stories and struggles associated with it and the 1854 Eureka Rebellion. Things to do and see at the Eureka Stockade Centre and Gardens

  • See the Eureka Flag
  • Watch and immerse yourself in the Interactive displays
  • Walk around the Walking Trails
  • See the Historical Reenactments
  • Archival images
  • Eureka Stockade Gardens
  • Eureka Gardens Playground
  • Pack a picnic
  • Have a drink at the cafe
  • Walk in the shade of the Trees
  • Read the Plaques
  • See the Monuments
  • Walk around Lake Penhalluriack
  • Explore the records at the Ballarat Archives Centre

You can appreciate living and working conditions compared to those who called Ballarat home during this time.

We had a picnic near the playground and played on the equipment. Then, explore the outdoor memorials at the Eureka Stockade Centre.

Eureka Stockade Centre Address: 102 Stawell Street South, Eureka (Ballarat), Victoria 3350

View the location of the Eureka Stockade Centre on the map

Eureka Flag at Eureka Stockade Centre

Eureka Flag

Pikeman's Dog Memorial

Pikeman's Dog Monument

Playground at Eureka Stockade Centre

Eureka Stockade Centre Playground

Visit Bakery Hill

At Bakery Hill, you'll find Lalor's Stump, where it claimed the diggers gathered to talk about the grievances over the expensive miner's licenses in the lead-up to the Eureka Stockade.

And, the Monster Meeting was held at Bakery Hill where a flag representing the Southern Cross which had a dark blue background and white stars was raised on a pole. The diggers swore the oath kneeing, uncovered head pointing to the flag:

We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and defend our rights and liberties.

The Eureka Flag was first flown here.

You'll find a marker behind St Paul's Church.

I wonder if my great-great-grandfather was at this meeting. I know he was a gold miner in Ballarat around this time.

Walk or Ride on the Goldfields Track

Enjoy your trip to Ballarat's gold rush era with the historical Goldfields Track. Covering over 225 km, this recreational track weaves its way through some of the state's most beautiful landscapes.

You see bushland, forests, vineyards, and tailings dams from Bendigo to Ballarat. Take in a different side of Victoria's gold mining heritage through this epic walk that also runs alongside a few outdoor museums along the way!

Some of the track rises and falls and is rocky. Before going out, read the Goldfields Track for details and safety So, you can plan for the conditions and read the safety guidelines because the track is 210 km long.

Some parts are closed due to storm and flood damage, burning, and bushfires. Make sure you check for the Goldfields Track closure updates at Parks Victoria.

Ballarat GoldFields Track

Ballarat Goldfields Track

Sturt Street Public Art Walk

In the middle of Sturt Street, you'll find many art installations, sculptures, fountains, and landscaped gardens representing Victorian times.

You'll see the Queen Victoria Memorial which commemorates Queen Victoria's life and reign over the British Empire.

We walked along Sturt Street and explored some of the memorials, in particular Queen Victoria.

What is on the Sturt Street Public Art Walk?

  • King George V Monument
  • Queen Alexandra Bandstand
  • Albert Coates
  • Queen Victoria
  • Queen Victoria Fountain
  • Burke & Wills Fountain
  • Boer War Memorial
  • Thomas Moore
  • Hebe & Ruth
  • Robert Burns
  • Titanic Memorial Bandstand
  • James Galloway Monument
  • The Pioneer Miner’s Monument
  • Point to Sky
  • Peter Lalor
  • Mother Earth
  • George Treloar Memorial
  • Eternal Flame
  • Petersen Fountain
  • Cenotaph
  • Gordon Memorial
  • Korea Malaya Borneo Vietnam
  • William Dunstan VC Memorial
Queen Victoria Memorial

Queen Victoria Memorial

Queen Victoria Memorial

Queen Victoria Memorial

Robert Burns Statue

Robert Burns Statue

Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Enjoy a stroll around the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. You can take in the vibrant sights and smells within its grounds. It features 17 hectares of cultivated gardens and bushland.

The exquisite displays include tree-lined avenues, seasonal plants, and expansive lawns where you can have a picnic. And, you can see ponds, bridges, a sunken garden, and a floral clock.

There are conifers, native, and deciduous trees, begonias, and a sensory garden. You’ll find statues of the Stoddard Collection and bronze portraits in the Prime Ministers Avenue, and the Robert Clark Conservatory.

I met up with a family history group to visit Ballarat Botanical Gardens and afterwards, we went for lunch next to Lake Wendouree.

Tree at Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Tree

Floral Clock at Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Floral Clock

Ballarat Begonia Festival

Immerse yourself in the Ballarat Begonia Festival held on the Labour Day weekend. In 2024, it's held from 9 to 11 March 2024 and the parade is on Monday 11 March..

You'll find the festival takes place at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

The entertainment includes the Begonia Display, Begonia Festival Market, Farmers Market, workshops, and music. And, you'll find family activities for the kids like the Western Bulldogs, face painting, and crafts.

Ballarat Begonia Festival

Begonias

Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial

The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial is located in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. It was opened in 2004 witnessed by over 11,000. And, its length is 130 metre made of granite.

Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial

Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial

Arch of Victory

The Arch of Victory is the gateway to the Avenue of Honour. And, they both were opened in 1920 by Prince Edward, Prince of Wales,  The names of those who served in WWI are listed on the Memorial Wall and Rotunda near the Arch.

The female employees at E. Lucas & Co raised the funds for the Arch and the Avenue.

I drove through the Arch of Victory so I came back to get some pictures. I didn't realise at the time there was a Memorial Wall, so I'll need to go back and visit again. And, there is a public art walk to do too.

Arch of Victory Ballarat Victoria

Arch of Victory

Ballarat Wildlife Park

You can visit Ballarat Wildlife Park and stroll around with the kangaroos. And, see the koalas, emus, and wombats.

You'll find animal presentations for example the Dingo, Penguin, and the Tasmanian Devil.

Participate in animal encounters like with the tree kangaroo, meerkat, and koala which cost extra.

Bring a picnic with you or have lunch in the cafe.

Get General Ticket for the Ballarat Wildlife Park

Enjoy the Outdoors at Lake Wendouree

Lake Wendouree has outdoor activities in the surrounding area.

For instance: cycling tracks, picnic spots, walking paths, and wildlife-watching spots. Enjoy a boat trip around the lake or participate in rowing and yachting which continues today.

If you’re looking for something more adventurous, try sailing or windsurfing. You can rent equipment and take lessons from experienced instructors. Sailing and windsurfing get you out on the water and enjoy the fresh air.

Go for a walk or ride a bike around Lake Wendouree.

Afterward, you can have lunch in a restaurant with views over the lake.

Ned Williams Statute at Lake Wendouree

Ned Williams Statue

Lake Wendouree Ballarat Victoria

Lake Wendouree

Best For Mystery Picnic Experience in Ballarat

Get Details for the Mystery Picnic

Where to Eat?

I had lunch at the Boatshed Lake Wendouree.

Address 27A Lake Wendouree Foreshore

Sit at the table at the back with views of Lake Wendouree.

Boatshed Restaurant Lake Wendouree Foreshore

Lake Wendouree

Food at Boatshed Restaurant Lake Wendouree Foreshore

Soup

Boatshed Restaurant Lake Wendouree Foreshore

Boatshed Lake Wendouree

Victoria Travel Essentials

You'll find Victoria travel essentials like links to the weather, beaches, and national parks information on my page Victoria travel guide.

Where Is Ballarat Located?

Ballarat is located in central Victoria Australia.

You can take the Western Highway from Melbourne to get to Ballarat.

View the location of Ballarat on the map

Tours & Activities

Pin It For Later!

Things to Do in Ballarat
Ballarat Activities

Things to do near Ballarat Victoria

The 2023 season for the sunflower field is finished. It usually opens in February and March. You can find details about my experience and updates by visiting the sunflower field in Dunnstown near Ballarat.

You can find more things to do in my posts about things to do in Victoria.

Which things would you like to do in Ballarat? Leave a Comment!

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26 Comments

  1. Great list of things to do in Ballarat and I appreciate the helpful list of things to bringt! This seems like a truly lovely place and perfect outing for the family. I have never been to Australia, but would love to visit and would have to stop by here now as well!

    Reply
    • Thank you Morayma, yes, there are lots of things to do in Ballarat. Hope you have the opportunity to visit Australia.

      Reply
  2. This is such a great list of things to do in Ballarat! As someone who loves history, thank you for including so many historical places. I’ll be pinning this for later!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Trisha. I love history and visiting historical places, too.

      Reply
  3. I’ve never heard of Ballarat. Looks like there are lots of fun things to do and see.

    Reply
    • There’s a variety of things to do and see.

      Reply
  4. Wow there is a lot of fun stuff to do at Ballarat. It’s cool your family comes from that area!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Lisa. Yes, it’s nice to be connected to Ballarat.

      Reply
  5. Wonderful idea’s for things to do in the Ballarat area! I would love the sunflower fields

    Reply
    • Thank you, Suzan. It’s lovely to walk in the sunflower field.

      Reply
  6. There’s a lot to do in Ballarat! I’d love to see the Big Miner statue and the Arch of Victory, and the botanical gardens look beautiful, too. I’d also be into the art walk. Ballarat looks like a fun place to explore.

    Reply
    • That sounds like your kind of town, Stacey!

      Reply
  7. There are so many things to do in Ballarat that look interesting to me. I enjoy learning about the history.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Julie. I love learning about and sharing history.

      Reply
  8. There are so many cool things to do in Ballarat. And so awesome that your grandfather was a gold minor and you found articles about him. I love all things history.

    Reply
    • Thank you. I love history, too. I’m grateful that I have been able to find so much out about him.

      Reply
  9. Ballarat has so many wonderful things to do. We have never been to Australia! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • You’re welcome. Glad to show Australia to you.

      Reply
  10. I’ve never heard of Ballarat. So many things to do there. I’d check out the botanical garden first!

    Reply
    • Thank you. That’s a good idea, the botanical gardens are a good way to see the flora of a town and city.

      Reply
  11. I have personally never heard of Ballarat. But there seems to be plenty of things to do with so much history! Picking sunflowers sounds like a blast. I would also like to check out the Ballarat Kryal Castle. It looks like a lot of fun!

    Reply
    • Yes, lots of different things with the colonial and gold rush eras in Ballarat. You’ll find it inspiring to walk in the sunflower field and picking your own sunflowers. And, Yes, you’ll like Kryal Castle too. And, the Ballarat Heritage Festival is on in May.

      Reply
  12. I have never heard of Ballarat! It looks and sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Thank you for sharing all these fun things to do!

    Reply
    • You’re welcome. Yes, a lot to experience in Ballarat.

      Reply
  13. All the gold mining history in Ballarat sounds fascinating, especially since you have family ties there!

    Reply
    • Thank you for reading. Ballarat is a good place to go to learn about gold mining. Yes, and for my family history.

      Reply

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