Ballarat is a city that is situated on the lower western plain next to the Yarrowee River of the Great Dividing Range. This range is located in the state of Victoria. The city is about 105 kilometres west-northwest of Melbourne. If you travel with the family, you can find plenty of things to do in Ballarat, regardless of the season.
For example, the city plays host to its spectacular winter festival, the Winterlude, each and every year. You can also bike, run, or walk along Lake Wendouree during the summer months. If you don’t mind a bit of a climb, you can look at the gorgeous view from Black Hill lookout as well. If you take the incline at dusk, you can savour the city lights and bustling human activity.
Walking Tours in Ballarat
In fact, you can find plenty to do in the city free of charge. For example, free walking tours that cover Ballarat’s heritage and history are available as well as a free walking excursion, known as the Doctor Blake Mysteries walking tour. The Blake tour refers to an ABC series that is set in the city of Ballarat.
The tour takes you down Lydiard Street, where some of the show’s filming takes place. Locations of the tour include Heritage on Lydiard, the Old Colonists’ Club, the Art Gallery of Ballarat, the Mining Exchanges, the Regent Cinemas, the Ballarat Train Station, and the Burke & Willis Fountain.
The Doctor Blake Mysteries series is set during 1959, and features stars Craig McLachlan portraying Lucien Blake and Nadine Garner playing the character Jean Beazley. The producer of the program, George Adams, commented that “[they] hoped . . . Ballarat would become one of the stars of the [programme], and it has.”
You can take the tour and see the streets on your own time by downloading the tour map that is featured online. When my family and I visited Ballarat, we closed our stay at a Ballarat hotel. Maybe you will stay at one of the city’s iconic properties – one that has sat near the edge of Lake Wendouree since the last part of the 19th century. Or, maybe you will find another accommodation. Regardless, staying in Ballarat is a unique and pleasant experience no matter where you lay your head to rest at night.
One attraction that is a must-see is Sovereign Hill, which is a setting that spans 25 acres on an old gold rush-mining site. The locale is set up to depict an old-fashioned mining town with its costumed characters, old mines, and historic-type shops. You won’t ever become bored, as the place offers families plays to see as well as arts and crafts activities.
Another family-friendly site is Kryal Castle, which is on the outskirts of Ballarat going toward Melbourne. The Castle takes you through the Dragon’s Labyrinth. Visitors listen to a tale as they walk through dungeons and caves.
Then there is the aforementioned Lake Wendouree. The artificial lake is near the centre of the city. Considered a good walking place, the lake is adjacent to Ballarat’s gorgeous Botanical Gardens. Playgrounds are abundant for families with small children.
The Botanical Gardens in Ballarat is a free attraction that enables you to see such sites as Prime Ministers Avenue. This street features bronze busts of all of the country’s prime ministers. You won’t want to miss the tramway museum either. Entry is free, but there is a paid option that takes you on a 15-minute tram ride on one of the preserved trams.