Famous for its gold mining history and grand buildings, Ballarat is now a modern city with creative flair to burn. In partnership with Visit Victoria, here’s our guide to where to eat, drink and stay.
Few cities have turned their image around as successfully as Ballarat has. Victoria’s third-largest city was once dismissed as, “old, cold and gold” but today it’s so much more.
In 2019 it was crowned a Unesco Creative City, thanks to its collection of makers, brewers, artists and artisans. The food and drink has followed – in recent years new bars and restaurants have injected flair into the main city block, all within walking distance of each other and all showcasing incredible local produce. Many are inside renovated former warehouses or buildings, and all pay homage to that history with sympathetic fit-outs retaining the exposed brick, steel girders and timber posts of yesteryear.
Of course many know the town as the site of the great alluvial gold rush, which kicked off with the discovery of gold in 1851. Evidence of that wealth can still be seen in the grand Victorian and Edwardian buildings that line the wide streets. One of Australia’s best-known tourist attractions, Sovereign Hill, puts you in the shoes of the townsfolk during those heady days.
Here you’ll be visiting the land of the Wadawurrung people, whose stories are being kept alive at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Australia’s oldest regional gallery, and whose food and culture has infused so much of modern Ballarat.
So if you think you have Ballarat pegged, prepare to be warmly reintroduced.
Welcome to Ballarat
Innovation is at the heart of Ballarat’s burgeoning food scene, as world-class chefs discover a wealth of seasonal produce.
While Ballarat is not known as a wine region, its outskirts produce pockets of brilliance. Wet your whistle with wine, locally brewed beer and classic cocktails.
From a huge, famous open-air museum, to backyard beekeeping and beer brewing, to old-meets-new art – Ballarat delivers attractions at every scale.
Respect for the heritage and architecture of the past is the remit for accommodation in Ballarat, as grand old homes (and churches) enjoy a modern, inviting spruce up.
A Weekend in Ballarat
Waltz through a potted history of riches. Many of Ballarat’s best new cafes, bars and restaurants are within walking distance. Take a culinary tour of this historic city and leave time to explore its culture.
Art Gallery of Ballarat
Ballarat Central VIC
(03) 5320 5858
Art Gallery of Ballarat
Ascend the stairs of Victoria’s oldest and largest regional gallery to be immersed in artworks spanning the old and the new. Exhibitions roll over frequently so check the gallery website for details.
Coghills Creek VIC
0408 059 454
Drive 20 minutes out of town to a stunning cellar door overlooking the Creswick Valley. Sample award-winning wines from one of Australia’s most acclaimed young winemakers, Owen Latta, matched with platters from Daylesford deli Winespeake.