Destination guide

Leave your time machine home and walk into the past instead

Located in Victoria and a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, Ballarat is known for its well-preserved colonial architecture and its role in the Australian gold rush. Its most popular attraction, Sovereign Hill, serves as a replica of an 1850s gold rush town, complete with historic shops, streets and mines. But Victoria's third largest city offers more than just a fancy theme park. Stroll along the Victorian streets to soak in the city's history at the local antique shops, browse flea markets and dine in cafes and wine bars. Browse Ballarat vacation rentals, and you'll find a slice of true Australian living.

Things to do

Rush in for the gold, stay for the museum scene

Thanks to Ballarat's history, the Australian gold rush is an important point of interest for most visitors. Explore the Gold Museum, illuminating the town's mining industry and showcasing various artefacts, including golden nuggets. The Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka offers interactive digital displays, while works from the colonial era to the present are on display at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Other highlights include the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, honouring 36,000 POWs as well as the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Kids will love the Ballarat Tramway Museum and the Ballarat Wildlife Park.

Activities

The streets might actually be paved with gold

Sovereign Hill is arguably the main draw of Ballarat. Serving as a replica of an 1850s mining town, visitors are transported back in time, thanks to the colonial-era architecture, staff adorned in period attire and interactive activities, including the chance to pan for real gold. Outside of Sovereign Hill, you'll also find plenty of shops and antique markets. There are also plenty of annual festivals, including the Begonia Festival each March and Ballarat Heritage Weekend each May. Head to Lydiard Street for even more colonial architecture, as well as plenty of charming cafes, restaurants and wine bars.

Weather

Layer up in the winter and screen up in summer

While southern Australia is known for its temperate climate, the region around Ballarat brings a bit of a chill in the winter months. It's still a worthy stop in the off-peak season, and as long as you pack a few extra layers, you get to enjoy your holiday at lower prices and with smaller crowds. Summers are warm, dry and sunny, and festival season is a popular draw. Consider a trip around the Ballarat Beer Festival in January, or the Begonia festival in March, and browse Ballarat vacation rentals that are an easy walking distance to town.

Natural highlights

There's gold in them hills! Or at least there was

Located in Victoria's Central Highlands, Ballarat is nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. The area is known for its gentle, rolling hills, with a considerably flatter landscape compared to the eastern portion of the range. The nearby extinct volcanoes of Buninyong and Warrenheip are the area's tallest peaks, and to the east you'll find Lerderderg State Park. Lake Wendouree is located in town, and along with canoeing and sailing rentals, also offers trails for hiking and birdwatching, plus fields for picnics and barbecues.

How to get there

Transport to and around Ballarat

Fly into Melbourne, VIC (AVV-Avalon), the closest airport, located 46.4 mi (74.7 km) from the city centre. If you're unable to find a flight that fits your schedule, you might consider flying into Melbourne, VIC (MEL-Tullamarine), which is 54.6 mi (87.8 km) away.

If you're travelling by train, the main station serving the city is Ballarat Station.

Where to stay near Ballarat?

Our 2019 accommodation listings offer a large selection of 136 holiday rentals near Ballarat. From 69 Houses to 18 Cottages, find unique holiday homes for you to enjoy a memorable stay with your family and friends. The best place to stay near Ballarat for a long holiday or a weekend break is on Stayz.

What are the most popular destinations to visit in Ballarat?

There are many lovely places to stay for a long holiday or just a weekend break in Ballarat. From Stayz travellers, the popular destinations to visit are:

  • Sovereign Hill: 149 holiday rentals
  • Lake Esmond Botanical Garden: 156 holiday rentals
  • Ballarat Fine Art Gallery: 166 holiday rentals
  • Enfield State Park: 130 holiday rentals
  • Ballarat Station: 166 holiday rentals

Stayz offers you the possibility to discover many other popular destinations in Ballarat! Please use our search bar to access the selection of holiday rentals available in other popular destinations.

What are the main cities to discover in Ballarat?

Whether you are travelling solo or with family and friends, here are the cities in Ballarat with the largest selection of holiday rentals for a perfect city break:

  • Daylesford: 508 holiday homes
  • Hepburn Springs: 474 holiday homes
  • Hepburn: 476 holiday homes
  • Sailors Falls: 475 holiday homes
  • Ballarat Central: 123 holiday homes

For other cities, please use our search bar to access the selection of holiday homes available.

Near which points of interest can I spend my holidays in Ballarat?

Stayz offers a large selection of holiday homes near great places to visit in Ballarat. From Stayz travellers, the more popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Sovereign Hill: 149 holiday rentals
  • Lake Esmond Botanical Garden: 156 holiday rentals
  • Ballarat Fine Art Gallery: 166 holiday rentals
  • Enfield State Park: 130 holiday rentals
  • Ballarat Station: 166 holiday rentals

But there are many other points of interest around Ballarat listed on Stayz where you can find your place to stay. Just write your wanted destination in our search bar and have a look at our selection of holiday homes.

Explore destinations around Ballarat