Wondering what you can see and do in Ballarat? These are our top 10 Ballarat activities, and they’re perfect for families, couples and solo travellers alike.
The Eureka Centre
The Eureka Centre is a celebration of Australia’s anti-authoritarian past. It honours the 1854 Eureka Rebellion, when Ballarat gold miners fought against the colonial rule of the British government. Their actions culminated in the Battle of the Eureka Stockade; although they were quickly defeated, their defiance was a catalyst for the introduction of proper democracy to Australia. Like Ned Kelly, they captured the popular imagination – immigrants, ground underneath the British bootheel, their insurrection grounded in the concept of egalitarianism and hope for a better future.
At the Eureka Centre, you can explore the stories of both the miners and the women who fought alongside them, and see the Eureka Flag, one of Australia’s most treasured relics. It’s surrounded by the Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens and also has an on-site café – the perfect place to remember some of Australian democracy’s first heroes.
|(03) 5333 firstname.lastname@example.org||102 Stawell St S, Ballarat Central VIC 3350|
Full Flight Birds of Prey Centre
Full Flight Birds of Prey Centre is a research and conservation facility committed to the protection of native raptors. Meet owls, hawks, falcons and eagles in person, and take part in handling them using leather falconry gloves.
The centre’s lengthy personal encounters are one-on-one tours that range from 1.5–3 hours long and involve training birds like wedge-tailed eagles and peregrine falcons. The encounters are pricey (a 1.5-hour session costs $380), but, for a birthday or other special occasion, they’re certainly an incredible experience.
|04 2995 email@example.com||195 Kennedys Road, Miners Rest VIC 3352|
Ballarat is one of Australia’s oldest settlements, which means the ghosts have had plenty of time to build up! Experience the skin-prickling Eerie Tours, which take you through places like the abandoned town of Aradale, the Aradale Mental Asylum and Ballarat Cemetery – they’re as terrifying as they sound, and even worse at night.
With professional historians employed as guides, your ghost stories will be served up with a healthy measure of facts, including historical accounts of the asylum’s 130-year operating period. If you’ve been to Ballarat before and you’re looking for a new way to experience this fascinating city, we definitely recommend a midnight tour through the tombstones.
|1300 856 firstname.lastname@example.org||N/A|
Ballarat Wildlife Park
Ballarat Wildlife Park offers visitors an exciting, interactive experience that combines hands-on encounters and some of Australia’s most iconic species. Ever wanted to see a cassowary up close? Have your kids ever begged you to let them near a giant tortoise? This is the place to do it.
In addition to their general animal exhibitions, the park features a colony of endangered Little Penguins, as well as a family of six meerkats (yes, you can schedule meerkat encounters). The park is open every day of the year except Christmas, and is a Ballarat must-visit for families.
|(03) 5333 email@example.com||250 Fussell St, Ballarat East VIC 3350|
Grampians National Park
Grampians National Park is one of Victoria’s most stunning natural places. Here, vast landscapes of corrugated sandstone cliffs and dry scrubland merge effortlessly into rugged mountains and spectacular, eucalypt-shaded waterfalls.
Kangaroos, wallabies and emus all call the park home, but sharp-eyed visitors can also spot more elusive Australian fauna – koalas sitting high in the gums, echidnas roaming across the heath, platypi in the rivers, gliders, bats, hundreds of native birds, turtles, lizards, snakes, monitors … the list goes on. The Grampians also feature 90% of Victoria’s Indigenous rock art, with the park being an integral part of the First Nations’ Gariwerd cultural landscape.
James Egan Gallery
James Egan was a genuine Ballarat treasure. Cut from the same cloth as the painters and bush poets of bygone years, he worked as a tent boxer and a horse breaker before becoming one of Australia’s most renowned artists.
His paintings – of landscapes, birds, people and Ned Kelly – have made their way into the halls of Buckingham Palace, the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office and the Russian White House. Although this eccentric figure passed away in 2017, his work remains open to the public at the James Egan Gallery, and his legacy as one of modern Australia’s foremost painters remains untarnished.
|(03) 5343 firstname.lastname@example.org||1789 Sunraysia Hwy, Addington VIC 3352|
Ballarat Tramway Museum
Up until 1971, trams were Ballarat’s main form of public transport. Travel 1.3 kilometres of original line on a vintage 90-year-old tram and see the depot’s museum display of photographs and tramway memorabilia.
|(03) 5334 email@example.com||Click Here||South Gardens Reserve, Wendouree Parade, Lake Wendouree VIC 3350|
Sovereign Hill is the indisputable centrepiece of Ballarat. Built to recapture the chaos and excitement of the 1850s gold rush, this open-air museum functions as a reconstructed mining town that spans 25 acres. Featuring costumed performers, over 40 horses, gold mines and underground tunnels, it’s a truly unique experience that everyone – old and young – should see.
Chandlers and blacksmiths work alongside musket-toting soldiers and confectioners, and guests are free to wander between demonstrations or go on guided tours that delve deep into the history of Ballarat. If you’ve visited Sovereign Hill before, try AURA, an immersive theatre experience that ranges from the Dreamtime all the way to the 1850s.
|(03) 5337 1199||Bradshaw St, Golden Point VIC 3350|
Step back in time at Australia’s own medieval castle. Boasting gothic towers, knights in shining armour, a torture dungeon and more, Kryal Castle combines the grit of the Middle Ages with the magic of Arthurian mythology. A giant stone castle might not be exactly what comes to mind when you think of Ballarat, but, if you’re travelling with your family, this is definitely not one you want to miss.
In addition to the entertaining line-up of activities, shows and attractions, the Castle also regularly hosts events, like the Medieval Feast and Murder Mystery Night. If you’re staying in Ballarat for a few nights, attending can be a great way for the kids to have a fun evening and make some new friends.
|(03) 5334 firstname.lastname@example.org||121 Forbes Rd, Leigh Creek VIC 3352|
Black Hill Reserve
A scenic swathe of bushland just minutes from the Ballarat CBD, Black Hill Reserve is punctured by the remnants of open-cut mines. Although there’s a number of walking trails that meander through the gums and towering pines, capped off by a panoramic lookout, it’s most popular with mountain bikers.
With six cross country trails, four downhill tracks, two pump tracks, a skills area and an advanced jump park, it’s the perfect way for your kids to let off a bit of energy. It’s a cruisy 18-minute drive from Ramada Ballarat, so you can conclude a day of exploring with a relaxing bushwalk as your little terrors zoom past you on two wheels.
|(03) 5320 email@example.com||110 Blackhill School Rd, Kyneton VIC 3444, Australia|
Did you enjoy our article about Ballarat’s best activities and attractions? Head over to our Ultimate Guide to Ballarat to learn more about this incredible Australian city.