Ballarat is a place of wide streets, iron lace balconies and colonnades, still basking in the glow of its birth as a hugely prosperous 1850s ‘gold rush’ boomtown. Get a taste of this momentous period of Australia’s history in Ballarat with Best Western.
Enjoy the best of Ballarat
Tours and Trails
There are numerous self-guided walking trails around Ballarat, including the Eureka Trails and Ballarat Gold Trails. A unique way to see Ballarat on foot is by taking a podTour. Simply stop by the visitor centre and rent an iPod to listen to the tales behind the monarchs, politicians and citizens who helped make Ballarat great. The podTours also fill you in on some of the quirkier aspects of the town, such as the history of the bandstand located in the heart of the city. Despite having no previous connection to them, the City of Ballarat Band funded and built the stand in 1913 in honour of the bandsmen who died in the Titanic.
Sovereign Hill is an award-winning attraction, which recreates an 1800s gold mining settlement. Pan for gold or chat with the storekeepers and miners about the lives of the people that lived in the gold rush era. There’s also a fantastic sound and light show that tells the story of the Eureka Rebellion, a dramatic battle between gold miners and Government forces over gold taxes on 3 December 1854.
When visiting Sovereign Hills, it’s also worthwhile to explore the Gold Museum where you can view an impressive collection of gold nuggets, artefacts and coins. Even if you didn’t strike it rich panning for gold you can purchase a reasonably priced gold nugget or piece of jewellery at the museum’s gift shop.
Art Gallery of Ballarat
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is Australia’s oldest and largest regional gallery. It has a vast collection of Australian colonial art and a smaller collection of international paintings and rare books. The highlight of the gallery is however, the original Eureka Flag which is proudly displayed in a section of the gallery devoted to Ballarat. Entry is free and there are scheduled guided tours which are also free to the public.
Ballarat Botanic Gardens
Perfectly situated along the shores of Lake Wendouree, the Ballarat Botanic Gardens offer a variety of contrasts. There’s a stately Victorian pleasure garden surrounded on either side by open parklands. There are marble statues including Charles Summer’s Flight from Pompeii as well as a simple timber picnic pavilion. The Robert Clark Conservatory houses seasonal floral displays and green thumbs will love The Garden Shop.
Best Western has a range of motels in Ballarat, all within easy access to the local attractions and activities. You can book your Best Western Ballarat holiday online or by calling 131 779.