Known for its gold heritage, opulent buildings, fountains and attractions, Ballarat is Victoria’s third largest city. A 90-minute drive from Melbourne, it's a thriving hub of arts and history. And with its renowned wineries and burgeoning restaurant scenes, Ballarat is also a regional foodie destination.
1. Lake Wendouree
A social destination for residents for the past century and more, Lake Wendouree is at the heart of Ballarat and offers a broad range of activities and attractions that include the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, cycling trails, birdwatching, Indigenous Playground and picnic and barbecue facilities.
2. Black Hill Lookout
Black Hill Lookout Road
Grab a picnic and catch the sunset accompanied by the view of the lights of Ballarat city. Just a six-minute drive away.
3. Sovereign Hill
Visitor entrance along Bradshaw Street
Learn all about Australia’s gold rush history through working machinery, exhibits and costumed interpreters at Ballarat’s outdoor museum, Sovereign Hill. Also, check out the Gold Museum and, at night, the light-and-sound show Blood on the Southern Cross.
4. Art Gallery of Ballarat
40 Lydiard Street North
The oldest and largest gallery in regional Australia, the Art Gallery of Ballarat promises exciting events and touring exhibition programs, while also housing an excellent permanent collection of Australian art. Be sure to stop by the gift shop where you can buy works from local artists.
5. Ballarat Wildlife Park
250 Fussell Street
A perfect day out for the whole family! Take a walk around the park and get up close and personal with some of Australia’s native animals. The park also has a picnic area and a café.
6. Her Majesty’s Theatre
17 Lydiard Street South
Her Majesty’s Theatre has been a central part of the cultural life of Ballarat since it first opened its doors in 1875. The building has been beautifully preserved and professionally equipped, and is Ballarat’s premier performing arts centre.
Restaurants and Cafés
33 Armstrong Street North
Traditional tapas and Spanish beer on tap – what’s not to like? Reservations are a must because this place fills up even on a weeknight at 6pm!
8. Yellow Espresso Café
13 Sturt Street
This café is a home away from home. With its Melburnian menu and interiors, it’s a top pick for a great coffee fix, acai bowls, vegan matcha pancakes and more.
9. The Unicorn Café
131 Sturt Street
Another choice contender in the Ballarat dining scene. Try the Unicorn Shakshouka – baked egg with house polenta, capsicum and tomatoes, topped with Meredith feta, house salsa verde and corn chips.
10. The Gallery at Craig’s Royal Hotel
10 Lydiard Street South
A mouthwatering menu that features the finest, seasonal, local produce and an excellent wine list, it is no wonder The Gallery at Craig’s Royal Hotel is a favourite with both the locals and tourists.
11. The Forge Pizzeria
14 Armstrong Street North
From its humble beginnings in Alfredton, The Forge Pizzeria serves up wood-fired pizzas made with fresh local produce and quality deli ingredients.
Bars, breweries and distilleries
12. Hop Temple
24 Armstrong Street North
A local favourite, this watering hole is tucked in a little laneway and has a sprawling bar and a great food menu. Order a glass of The Old Fashioned or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try the sake and wasabi cocktail.
13. Mitchell Harris Wine Bar
38 Doveton Street North
Taste some of Australia’s greatest wines at Mitchell Harris Wine Bar. It features an extensive range, including wines from Central and Western Australia, plus the Grampians and Macedon regions.
14. Athletic Club Brewery
47 Mair Street East
A family-owned ode to craft beer, this small batch brewery and taproom boasts a range of beer styles. Pull up a stool for an authentic brew.
15. Red Duck Brewery
11a Michaels Drive
Since 2005, Red Duck Brewery has had a proud tradition of being at the forefront of craft beer brewing. Enjoy an afternoon of beer tastings, and you can also grab a six-pack to take home!
16. Kilderkin Distillery
11a Michaels Drive
Located on the same site as Red Duck Brewery, Kilderkin Distillery focuses on premium gin and whiskey. Try its signature Australian gin, which is infused with juniper, coriander and a range of carefully selected botanicals.
Boutiques and shops
17. Sweet Fern Fragrance Boutique
114 Armstrong Street South
Sweet Fern specialises in exclusive and artisanal body, bath and home fragrances. Stocking both local and international brands, this is a great spot for you to find your scent.
18. Stems Flower Market
7 Mair Street East
Full to the brim with over 60 fresh flower varieties, a team of dedicated professionals on hand to answer any question and a large market section, we can see why Stems Flower Market is known as the florist in Ballarat.