An hour and a half from Melbourne, the city of Ballarat is located on the lower western plains of the Great Dividing Range on the Yarrowee River. While you may not think so, did you know that Ballarat is home to some amazing must-see attractions that visitors shouldn’t miss out on before they leave? It’s true! If you’re passing through and want to enjoy your time in Ballarat, here’s the top must see Ballarat Attractions that you shouldn’t miss out on while staying in this city. Let’s take a look now at what you can expect while staying at Ballarat.
One of the most popular attractions in Ballarat, Sovereign Hill allows visitors to experience the times of the Gold Rush. Set within the first 10 years after 1851, when gold was discovered, it showcases a time when life wasn’t as easy as what we have today. Known as Australia’s outdoor museum, Sovereign Hill gives visitors some fun activities to experience while staying close by. Here you can see:
- Ladies and gentlemen parade their wealth along Main Street in lavish style.
- Pan for gold at Red Hill Gully Diggings where you can keep any gold yourself!
- View the spectacular $100,000 gold pour, a must see when visiting Sovereign Hill.
- Go on an adventure underground with the fully guided tour of the gold mine.
- Tour the town in a horse-drawn coach.
- 1850’s style shops for shopping to your leisure.
- Learn more about machinery that is steam driven in action with a steam exhibit
Along with these great things to see you can also have a chat with the confectioners, candlemakers, and wheelwrights as you see them work on their trade. You can also pose with and be entertained by the costumed characters from the goldfield era. Before leaving Sovereign Hill, wait until night fall to see the multi-million-dollar spectacular sound and light show, ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’. This show is a dramatic story of the Eureka Uprising in 1854.
Kryal Castle is well known in Ballarat for its medieval adventure. Kryal Castle is Australia’s only medieval theme park that entertains visitors with an abundance of wizards, dragons, knights, kings, queens, fairies, princesses and so much more.
When taking a tour of the castle you’ll find within castle walls there’s a thriving medieval village of activities. The first activity you’ll come across is the Dragons Labyrinth. This activity will reveal the legends of Kryal. At Kryal Castle you can experience a medieval time that entails:
- Jousting tournaments within the Castle arena with real-life mounted knights.
- Squire training to prepare the squires for their chores.
- Battles with swords to show the great skills of the knights.
- Skilled archery battles that will make you look at archery in a different way.
- A close up look at wizardry at its finest.
If you’re looking to experience life living in a Castle, you have the opportunity to stay within the King or Queen castle suites. These suites are beautifully decorated to ensure you experience the glory and mystery of a time long gone. Kryal Castle is fun for the whole family to enjoy and is a must-see attraction before you leave Ballarat.
The Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail is a railway line that runs 53kms against the aged Ballarat-Skipton Railway. Upgraded in 2008, this rail trail offers rest huts, seating, new signage, and a gravel surface to allow easy walking for all visitors. This rail trail has been preserved for years to come and passes through bushland, historic towns, farmland and other areas with historic significance or conservation. Along the trail there’s a host of food, accommodation options, and a number of visitor attractions which include:
- The Arch of Victory and Avenue of Honour – This is a 1920, 22km long road stretch that features planted trees for those who enlisted in World War I between 1917-1919.
- Smythesdale – This township is a former gold mining town on the Glenelg Highway. It features a number of historic buildings including the courthouse, stables, and police station. There’s also snacks available at the shops.
- Scarsdale – A nice area for a picnic it features a small town off the trail and a water tank. From here you’ll find the trail will get hillier.
- Nimmons Bridge – This bridge is one of the highlights of the trail and is the most photographed. It features long trestles and has a picnic table at each end.
- Clarkesdale Reserve – You can see an abundance of wildlife in the forested section and in the dam.
- Linton – This township has a number of gold rush historic reminders including an 1880 building and a Chinese cemetery. It also has cafes and galleries. As you leave Linton you can see Mortchup reservoir to your left.
- Pittong – Descending to a Koalin mine, Pittong is home to some rolling farmland and sheep. The white clay from the mine is used for porcelain.
- Skipton – Skipton is a picturesque town with the nearby Mount Emu Creek. This town has an 1857 hotel and the main street bluestone church. It has a wool centre and is known for the best Merino wool in Australia.
The Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail is a great hiking trail that truly is a memorable experience.
When visiting Ballarat, don’t forget to check out these amazing attractions before you leave. You’ll be glad you did!