The town is about 80 minutes drive from Melbourne along the Western Highway.
Nearby towns include Buninyong, Clunes and Daylesford.
A winter weekend away from Melbourne and it is the historic site of the Eureka Stockade
- Stroll around Lake Wendouree, along the Steve Monegetti Track. When we visited there was a monthly boutique farmer's market on the lake shore.
- The Botanic Gardens, near the lake, includes the Statuary Pavilion which houses a beautiful statue "Flight from Pompeii".
- Catch up on your Australian history about the Eureka Stockade, which occurred on 3 December 1854.
- Visit the very Fine Art Gallery which was established in 1884 and includes the original Eureka Flag. It is the oldest and largest gallery in regional Australia. They run occasional free guided tours.
- Check out the Victorian Era Buildings along Lydiard St. The tourist information may have a self-guided walking tour for the area otherwise just stroll along and admire the buildings.
- Stroll around Sovereign Hill to see what life was like back in the gold rush days. At night they have a very popular sound and light show "Blood on the Southern Cross" about the Eureka Rebellion. Nearby is a gold museum.
- A mock medieval castle, Kryal Castle, is just 8km east of town, and has lots of medieval fun mostly aimed at kids.
- Ballarat is notoriously always a few degrees colder than elsewhere in Victoria, so pack your woollies if going during winter.
Eating & Drinking:
- There is plenty of cafes along the main thoroughfare Sturt St, and if you are after fast food there are some Thai and Chinese food restaurants too.
- At the east end of town is a shopping precinct with a large supermarket.
- There are nowhere near as many hotels in town compared to the glory gold mining days, but you will have no trouble finding an old pub open for a drink.
Other things you should know about:
- You may see the town name spelled as Ballaarat, which is not a mistake, just the old way of spelling the name which comes from the two towns of Balla and Arat that merged.
- Gold was discovered at Ballarat in 1851
- The rowing competition for the 1956 Olympics was held on the town's Lake Wendouree.
- Olympian Steve Monegetti is the town's favourite sporting son, and the running track around the lake is named after him.
- Well stocked Tourist Information is available at each of the major attractions.