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The Top Things to do in Ballarat

History-rich and home to a number of distinctive attractions, Ballarat to the north-west of capital Melbourne is nothing if not unique. Full of heritage both in its landmarks and architecture as a result of its early development during the Australian Gold Rush period, the city is large and brimming with examples of Victorian-era buildings that remain in top condition to this day.

As a result, a visit here is akin in many ways to stepping back in time, and many history-oriented attractions that document the interesting and tumultuous past of Ballarat to visitors can be experienced firsthand. Step back directly into a surprisingly encompassing and accurate simulation of the 1850's at Sovereign Hill, which comes complete with in-character-and-costume townspeople and era-accurate buildings; view a movie while surrounded by antiquity at the historic Her Majesty's Theatre; enter an attraction straight out of the Middle Ages at Kryal Castle; or visit any of the city's number of well-curated museums and galleries for an in-depth look at history.

Simply browse our list of the top things to do in Ballarat below for more information and to book online.

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The Top Things to do in Ballarat

History-rich and home to a number of distinctive attractions, Ballarat to the north-west of capital Melbourne is nothing if not unique. Full of heritage both in its landmarks and architecture as a result of its early development during the Australian Gold Rush period, the city is large and brimming with examples of Victorian-era buildings that remain in top condition to this day.

As a result, a visit here is akin in many ways to stepping back in time, and many history-oriented attractions that document the interesting and tumultuous past of Ballarat to visitors can be experienced firsthand. Step back directly into a surprisingly encompassing and accurate simulation of the 1850's at Sovereign Hill, which comes complete with in-character-and-costume townspeople and era-accurate buildings; view a movie while surrounded by antiquity at the historic Her Majesty's Theatre; enter an attraction straight out of the Middle Ages at Kryal Castle; or visit any of the city's number of well-curated museums and galleries for an in-depth look at history.

Simply browse our list of the top things to do in Ballarat below for more information and to book online.

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Top Things to do in Ballarat

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Ballarat is the third largest city in Victoria situated just one hour's drive from Melbourne and was once the epicentre of the famous Australian Gold Rush. The legacy of that prosperous time is evident when you walk down the streets of the town filled with grand historic buildings.

Fast forward 150 years and the impressive architecture that remains is a refreshing change that aims to honour its history and prosperous beginnings. The town is now better known for its tourism offerings and living museum at Sovereign Hill that encourages visitors to step back in time in a recreated township for an immersive experience of this era. Ballarat also has an emerging cultural arts scene and stages a number of festivals throughout the year.

If you are looking to understand and witness a piece of Australia’s history then a visit to Ballarat is a must. Here we have compiled a list of the top five things to do that you must do when you visit Ballarat.

1. Sovereign Hill

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Location: Bradshaw Street, Ballarat

Go back in time to see how life was in Ballarat in the 1850s. The region was once known for being the destination of the greatest gold rush the world has ever seen.

A visit to the makeshift old town is a must-see and provides visitors with a day full of adventure, excitement and an authentic old-style atmosphere.

Wander around the living museum and experience what life was like back then.

Set over 25 acres of land on an original mining site, costumed characters bring the town back to life.

The region was once known for being the destination of the greatest gold rush the world has ever seen and a visit to the region is a must see experience for those interested in Australian history.

The town is filled with shops, hotels, a theatre, schools, factories, a hold diggings and underground mines all open for you to explore.

One of the highlights of Sovereign Hill is the mine adventure. You’ll be guided through the gold mine and board the mine tram to travel deep below Sovereign Hill.

There are three different tours to choose from; the Secret Chamber, Trapped or Labyrinth of Gold trails. After visiting Sovereign Hill you will have a new appreciation for those that made a living back in those gruelling old days.

2. Ballarat Wildlife Park

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Location: Cnr York & Fussell Streets, Ballarat East

Visit the popular, family-run Ballarat Wildlife Park in Victoria and get up close with a wide variety of native Aussie and exotic animals!

Here you can come face to face with a wide range of creatures including kangaroos, koalas, wombats and crocodiles, all living in pleasant, green surroundings.

A great educational and hands on experience here you will also learn about different kinds of snakes, pat a koala, get up close with friendly wombats and see birds of prey in flight.

Come face to face with a wide range of creatures including kangaroos, koalas, wombats and crocodiles, all living in pleasant, green surroundings.

A wonderful place to visit for families or for first-time visitors to Australia, this is a true Aussie adventure incorporating a range of live shows where you can learn about the habits of some of Australia’s most venomous, cuddly and intriguing animals.

You can also take part in a guided tour around the park to learn all about the park and more about their resident animals.

The park is located just a short drive from the centre of Ballarat and is open from 9am to 5:30pm daily (except for Christmas Day).

3. Kryal Castle

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Location: 121 Forbes Road, Leigh Creek

Take a step back in time, and journey inside Australia’s only Medieval themed adventure park!

Within the walls of Kryal Castle, you’ll find a sprawling medieval village of activities including jousting tournaments, wizardry and sword battles.

For lovers of anything pre 15th century, you’ll lose yourself in this fantastic replica village, boasting the aura of the real medieval times.

Explore the lavishly decorated castle complete with themed passageways, view the fascinating (and somewhat terrifying) torture chamber exhibition, watch as knights joust to proclaim their bravery and so much more – this unique adventure park will guarantee you hours of fun!

Explore the lavishly decorated castle complete with themed passageways, view the fascinating (and somewhat terrifying) torture chamber exhibition, watch as knights joust to proclaim their bravery and so much more

Best of all, if visiting with children, Kryal Castle hosts dedicated kids activities including militia training that allows the Kryal children to learn the skills of knighthood including sword fighting and firing the Castle catapult.

Perfect for all ages, you are bound to find plenty of things to do in Kryal Castle to please everyone!

Best of all, with an on-site resort, decked out with a medieval theme also, the fun doesn’t have to end at just the park.

Make a weekend out of this great attraction, and truly embrace the opportunity to feel like a King or Queen!

Book your tickets now and get ready for a very memorable experience that will leave you wanting more!

4. Ballarat Botanic Gardens

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Location: Gillies Street, Ballarat

Located near Lake Wendouree the Ballarat Botanical Gardens are spread over around 40 hectares of land.

The gardens feature many beautiful sights including the flourishing rose garden, statuary and Prime Ministers Avenue displaying statues of the faces of every Australian Prime Minister.

Various events are also held in the gardens throughout the year including the popular Ballarat Begonia Festival.

The gardens feature many beautiful sights including the flourishing rose garden, statuary and Prime Ministers Avenue displaying statues of the faces of every Australian Prime Minister.

These gardens are a gorgeous setting to relax in after a big day exploring the region and a romantic destination for those looking to set up a picnic.

The vibrant colours of the gardens and intricate designs of the statues make for the perfect exploring grounds for those interested in nature and art.

5. Ballarat Observatory

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Location: Cnr Cobden and Magpie Streets, Mt Pleasant

Take a tour through the Ballarat Municipal Observatory Museum to learn all there is to know about our planets and stars that lie just above our heads.

With a range of modern and vintage telescopes on display, you will see the beauty of space from an observatory that has been running for more than 100 years.

One of the oldest observatories in the country, this Ballarat gem provides visitors with a range of things to see and do including their historic stained glass windows, 3D movies, the Pipehenge, 3rd Rock Café and science shop.

With a range of modern and vintage telescopes on display, you will see the beauty of space from an observatory that has been running for more than 100 years.

The observatory is open for normal bookings from Tuesday to Saturday (4pm to 7pm) and private bookings Monday to Thursday.

It’s important to remember that visibility is weather dependent, so be sure to check the forecast and plan your trip to the observatory on a relatively clear if not perfectly clear night.