Ballarat Activities and Attractions
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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.
Experiences In Ballarat
- Ballarat is known for its gold rush era of the 1850s and beyond. Immerse yourself in its gold rush replica town on this day trip by bus to Sovereign Hill from Melbourne. You can pan for gold and see the trades of that time.
- 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 this ticket for Kryal Castle.
- My Story with Ballarat
- Things to Do in Ballarat
- Ballarat Sovereign Hill
- Sunflower Field, Pick your Own Sunflowers
- Take a Selfie with the Big Miner
- Ballarat Kryal Castle
- Explore the Eureka Stockade and Museum
- Bakery Hill
- Walk or Ride on the Goldfields Track
- Sturt Street Public Art Walk
- Ballarat Botanical Gardens
- Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial
- Arch of Victory
- Outdoors at Lake Wendouree
- Boatshed Lake Wendouree Foreshore
- Travel Essentials
- Where is Ballarat Located?
- Things to Do in Victoria
- Things to do and near Ballarat Victoria
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.
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
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 is held the Winter Wonderlights with lights and snow faux 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
- Horse Harnessing
- Speedwell Street
- 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
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
Catch a day trip bus in Melbourne to Sovereign Hill. 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!
Items that are not included: meals, no tour guide, optional mine cart ride, optional cart ride, and there is a tip charged per person. There are other activities at an extra cost too.
To book online click here
Centre for Rare Arts & Forgotten Trades
In the Centre for Rare Arts & Forgotten Trades, you can find workshops in the former Gold Museum, that use wood, metal, leather, fibre, fashion and textiles, and decorative arts. For example, current workshops
- Wear Out Fashion
- Vintage Amber Glass Working, Copperfoil Technique
- Cane Rod Construction
- Chair Making, Perch Stool
- Locksmithing, Jacksons Padlock
- Silversmithing, Earrings
Australian Centre for Gold Rush Collections
The Gold Museum is closed to the public. You can access the digital collection. It's being transformed into the Australian Centre for Gold Rush Collections. And, it'll be built near the Centre for Rare Arts and Forgotten Trades.
The key collections at the Gold Museum were
- Miners Rights
- Ballarat History
- Gold Mining and Eureka
- Australian Colonia Furniture
- Chinese Culture and in Australia
- Costume and Textiles
- Rare Books
- Sir Henry Bolte
- The "Redcoats"
- Horse-drawn carriages
- Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe’s uniform
Sunflower Field, Pick Your Own Sunflowers
When sunflower picking season is here, you can head to Ballarat. You'll find a sunflower field where you can pick your own sunflowers in Dunnstown. It's usually open in February and March.
Are you ready to dive into the beauty of hand-picking your own sunflowers? The 2023 season is over. So, put it in your planner for 2024!
You can learn more about my experience of picking sunflowers in another year with my family at the sunflower field.
Pick Your Own 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
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!
Things to Do at Kryal Castle, regular events like
- The Royal Joust
- Axe Throwing
- Mounted Skill-at-Arms Display
- The Maze
- Dragon’s Labyrinth
- Knight School
- Torture Dungeon & Museum
- Jester’s Theatre
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.
To Get Tickets Online Click Here
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 one of the most important locations 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 Ballarat Archives Centre
You can appreciate what living and working conditions were like for those that 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 Eureka Stockade Centre Map ñ
Pikeman's Dog Monument
Eureka Stockade Centre Playground
Visit Bakery Hill
At Bakery Hill, you'll find Lalor's Stump, where its claimed the diggers gathered to talk about the grievances over the expensive miners licenses in the lead up to the Eureka Stockade.
And, the Monster Meeting was held at Bakery Hill whereby 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.
And there are parts closed due to storm and flood damage, burning, and bushfires. Make sure you check for updates.
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
- Gordon Memorial
- Korea Malaya Borneo Vietnam
- William Dunstan VC Memorial
Queen Victoria Memorial
Queen Victoria Memorial
Robert Burns Statue
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Enjoy a leisurely 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 afterward, we went for lunch next to Lake Wendouree.
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
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. You can read more about the story of the Arch of Victory and its 100 years.
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
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 Statue
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 Lake Wendouree
Where Is Ballarat Located?
Ballarat is located in central Victoria Australia.
You can take the Western Highway from Melbourne to get to Ballarat.
View Ballarat Map ñ
Victoria Travel Essentials
- Victoria can have bushfires, droughts, floods, strong winds, hot north winds, storms, dust storms, beaches with rips and strong currents and swells, and sharks
- Find out the VIC Weather and Warnings at BOM
- Check Parks Victoria and Forests and Reserves for alerts, closures, and safety planning before you go
- Check the Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans and Rules in VIC
- Flood and Storm affected Parks closed and partial closures
- Check for planned burns at Forest Fire Management
- Look up the beach information and conditions, at Beachsafe, and the app, for instance:
- If the beach is patrolled or unpatrolled, and if patrolled days and hours
- Current Temperature
- Find out details from Parks Victoria about safety planning, visitor guides, walks, places to see, things to do, issues, safety, wildlife, nature, facilities, opening hours,
- Look up information at Explore Outdoors about rules, bushfires, extreme weather, facilities, phone coverage, things to do in regions, activities like walks and picnics, and details and facilities regarding activities
- Find out information about the Goldfields Track
- Take water
- Find toilets
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Things to do near Ballarat Victoria
Find time, curate, collect and create memories.
The 2023 season for the sunflower field is finished. It usually opens in February and March, see my visit to the sunflower field.
Which things would you like to do in Ballarat?
All the gold mining history in Ballarat sounds fascinating, especially since you have family ties there!
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!
You’re welcome. Yes, a lot to experience in Ballarat.
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!
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.
I’ve never heard of Ballarat. So many things to do there. I’d check out the botanical garden first!
Thank you. That’s a good idea, the botanical gardens are a good way to see the flora of a town and city.
Ballarat has so many wonderful things to do. We have never been to Australia! Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome. Glad to show Australia to you.
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.
Thank you. I love history, too. I’m grateful that I have been able to find so much out about him.
There are so many things to do in Ballarat that look interesting to me. I enjoy learning about the history.
Thank you, Julie. I love learning about and sharing history.
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.
That sounds like your kind of town, Stacey!
Wonderful idea’s for things to do in the Ballarat area! I would love the sunflower fields
Thank you, Suzan. It’s lovely to walk in the sunflower field.
Wow there is a lot of fun stuff to do at Ballarat. It’s cool your family comes from that area!
Thank you, Lisa. Yes, it’s nice to be connected to Ballarat.
I’ve never heard of Ballarat. Looks like there are lots of fun things to do and see.
There’s a variety of things to do and see.
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!
Thank you, Trisha. I love history and visiting historical places, too.
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!
Thank you Morayma, yes, there are lots of things to do in Ballarat. Hope you have the opportunity to visit Australia.