Our most recommended things to do in Ballarat

From Melbourne: Grampians National Park Group Tour

1. From Melbourne: Grampians National Park Group Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne on a small group eco-tour to the Grampians National Park, and discover a nature lover’s paradise. Depart Melbourne and travel through the western plains of Victoria on route to historic Ballarat, a boom town of the 1850s following the widespread discovery of gold. Learn the history of the region over morning tea at the infamous Eureka Rebellion site. Continue through the picturesque western volcanic plains, and pass through the town of Moyston, the birthplace of Australian Rules Football. Arrive at the foot of the Grampians Range (Gariwerd in the local aboriginal language), and take a short walk to Silverband Falls. Then, head to Halls Gap for a lunch break (own expense). Keep a look out for kangaroos and abundant birdlife that can be seen in the main street. After lunch, go to the Wonderland car park to take a walk through the Grand Canyon and marvel at the rock formations. See high rising rock walls, crisscrossed with layering and fault lines that showcase the area’s unique geology. Next, visit the majestic surrounds of MacKenzie Falls, and watch the water cascade down the rocks in a gorge surrounded by eucalyptus forest. Walk the Bluff trail along the top of the cliffs for panoramic views of the falls, or journey downstairs to the base of the steep gorge. Another stunning photo opportunity awaits at Reeds Lookout, a vantage point that overlooks the towering Stringybark Forest and Victoria Valley. Your next port of call is Boroka Lookout, where panoramic views of the surrounding region and town of Halls Gap await. Look further afield to Lake Bellfield and beyond. Make your way back to Halls Gap to spot some wild kangaroos before returning to Melbourne. Stop for dinner on route back to the city, and enjoy a stunning view of the illuminated city on your return home.

Grampians: J Ward Lunatic Asylum Night Ghost Tour

2. Grampians: J Ward Lunatic Asylum Night Ghost Tour

Be incarcerated for the evening at Australia's home to the criminally insane: the famous J Ward Lunatic Asylum. Meet at J Ward, Girdlestone Street, Ararat in the evening and commence the tour with free museum access to explore the memorabilia of the past including straight jackets, electro shock therapy devices, and fascinating patient records. After exploring the museum, enjoy a guided ghost tour of approximately 2 hours through the home of notorious criminals such as Chopper Read, Gary Webb and William Wallace. Explore the governor's bathroom, the hangman's gallows, the original kitchen, the showerblock, the grave sites, the West Wing, the J Ward Block, and the exercise yards and grounds in search of the souls that still linger, and hear the terrifying stories of murdered inmates and prisoners buried in the grounds as you explore the property. Tours run every Friday and Saturday evening at 9:30 PM.

Melbourne: Sovereign Hill Gold Mining Day Tour (In Chinese)

3. Melbourne: Sovereign Hill Gold Mining Day Tour (In Chinese)

Immerse yourself in daily life during the 19th-century gold rush on a day trip to Sovereign Hill, a replica gold mining town. Wander through faithful model buildings and watch professional actors reenact scenes from the 1850s. Enjoy optional gold mine cart rides or horse carriage tours. Meet your driver in Central Melbourne and begin the journey to Sovereign Hill with views of the Australian countryside on the way. The town is full of interactive exhibits and demonstrations to discover: gold panning demonstrations, underground gold mines, and gold bar-making demonstrations. Wander through the town's true-to-life buildings for an insight into daily life. From grandmothers teaching grandchildren how to embroider to the local primary school and police station, the buildings are a great way to travel back in time to the excitement of the era. Feel free to ask the traditionally dressed actors for photos. You can also enjoy optional activities at an additional cost. You could go for a horse-drawn carriage tour of the town or take an underground mine cart ride. There are also occasional dramatic reenactments throughout the day.

Ballarat: Kryal Castle Theme Park Entry Ticket

4. Ballarat: Kryal Castle Theme Park Entry Ticket

Pre-book your entry ticket to Ballarat’s Kryal Castle and enter a medieval world of knights, wizards, princesses, and more. Get plenty of time to explore all of the castle grounds and join activities with all-day entry.  Become a knight or princess for the day in a medieval village. Try your hand at axe throwing, learn from the resident blacksmith, and much more. Enjoy a whole program of shows, including jousting, potion-making, and theater.

Melbourne Tour: Ballarat & Sovereign Hill Tour with Tickets

5. Melbourne Tour: Ballarat & Sovereign Hill Tour with Tickets

Immerse yourself in the old town atmosphere of Ballarat as you embark on a guided tour departing from Melbourne. Learn about the local gold rush era and pay a visit to the renowned Sovereign Hill to discover historic sites. Enjoy access to this well-known heritage park that sits on the site of the richest gold rush in the entire world. Explore some of the most pivotal parts of history, including the Red Hill Gully Diggings and Main Street. Travel through a labyrinth of passages and original mine shafts hidden deep under Sovereign Hill. Head underground and experience what life was like for a miner. Experience the wins, losses, hardships, and heartache of this period. On the way back, come across some of Melbourne’s most popular places, including St. Patrick's Cathedral, Cooks' Cottage, Fitzroy Gardens. **The schedule might change to oppsite way**

Melbourne: Sovereign Hill, Eureka Centre & Melbourne Skydeck

6. Melbourne: Sovereign Hill, Eureka Centre & Melbourne Skydeck

You will be picked up in air conditioned comfort by an English speaking guide for this small group tour. Journey west out of Melbourne to Ballarat where your first stop will be the stunning Botanical Gardens for a wander amongst the flowers and heritage trees, then visit the picturesque Lake Wendouree. Time to step back in time to the Gold Rush of 1850 at Sovereign Hill where traditional craft demonstrations and opportunities to pan for Gold await you. From here we visit the Eureka Centre, historic site of the miner’s rebellion. Your day will finish with the most spectacular view from the Melbourne Skydeck, 88 floors up in the Eureka Tower! Ballarat Botanical Gardens: Stretch your legs with a leisurely walk to see over 50 trees listed on the National Trust Significant Trees Register, then wander through the conservatory where you can see captivating floral displays like Hydrangeas in Summer, Chrysanthemums in May and Spring Bulbs in Spring. Lake Wendouree: Lake Wendouree was the rowing and canoeing venue for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, now it’s a beautiful space you can enjoy featuring gardens, sculptures, and a variety of birdlife. Take a relaxing wander around this beautiful lake, spot some of 166 different wildlife species that call this lake home, including the elegant Black Swans. Sovereign Hill: Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of an 1850 Goldfields town at the open-air museum Sovereign Hill. Pan for gold, tour underground mines, see demonstrations of traditional crafts such as candle making and blacksmithing, get dressed up in traditional clothes* and enjoy a horse and coach ride*, meet Polly the sly grog seller, witness the Trooper Musket Firing and so much more! You will also be able to buy your own lunch here. * Entry to Sovereign Hill is covered in this tour, however if you wish to dress up in old fashioned clothing or take a horse coach ride, you will need to book and pay for this upon arrival at Sovereign Hill. NOTE: Subject to Sovereign Hill daily availability. Eureka Centre: Visit the Eureka Centre in Ballarat and learn about the cultural impact of the gold rush and the miner’s rebellion. The museum has engaging exhibits, interactive displays, and is surrounded by the heritage listed Eureka Stockade Memorial Park. Melbourne Skydeck at Eureka Tower: Time for a rest on the journey back to the Eureka Tower where you will enjoy the spectacular Melbourne Skydeck experience. The Skydeck is the highest viewing attraction in the Southern Hemisphere, a whole 300 metres high! Now that's seeing Melbourne from a whole new level. You’ll arrive at the 88th floor via the fastest lift in the Southern Hemisphere taking a mere 38 seconds. With panoramic views of stunning Melbourne and beyond, it’s the perfect way to finish the day.

3-Day Great Ocean Road and Grampians Small-Group Tour

7. 3-Day Great Ocean Road and Grampians Small-Group Tour

Explore some of Australia's most stunning scenery on a 3-day trip from Melbourne, and enjoy a breathtaking trip along the Great Ocean Road and to Grampians National Park. Travel in a small and intimate group for the ideal touring experience, and stay in top-notch accommodation to ensure a unique and relaxing journey. Day 1: After pick-up from your city hotel in Melbourne’s Central Business District or Federation Square, head out of Melbourne via the West Gate Bridge. Travel through the vast volcanic plains on route to Geelong, where you’ll have time to stroll along the beautiful waterfront. Then start your journey along the Great Ocean Road at Torquay, stopping at various spots along the coast including Bells Beach, the Memorial arch, and the seaside resort of Lorne for lunch and shopping. After lunch, cruise further along the spectacular Great Ocean Road, stopping at more scenic spots including Kennett River on the way to the Great Otway National Park, where you’ll enjoy a guided walk through a cool temperate rainforest to see the world's tallest flowering plants, prehistoric trees and ferns and unique features such as 'Yabbie Chimneys'. Visit Apollo Bay before checking into the Beacon Point Ocean View Villas, where your private self-contained villa is set high on a hill overlooking the Southern Ocean – the perfect place to relax and unwind for a couple of hours before a great dinner. Day 2: Today starts with breakfast at a favorite local spot, the Bay Leaf Cafe. Then, travel through the Otway ranges and onto the Shipwreck Coast, stopping at Castle Cove for views over the Aire river valley. Learn about the region’s rich Aboriginal heritage and the many tribes that have lived prosperously along the coastline for thousands of years. From there, visit the famous limestone stacks known as the 12 Apostles, true icons of Australia's natural beauty. After hearing of the creation of the stacks and holding some of the limestone rock you can explore the boardwalks or even take a helicopter flight along the coastline (not included). Then visit 'Loch Ard Gorge', the site of the most famous 19th-century Australian shipwreck, before heading to the charming fishing village of Port Campbell for a lunch break. After lunch, pass along more impressive limestone formations on the way to the Tower Hill Game Reserve for the chance to see koalas, kangaroos, and emus living in this extinct volcanic crater. From there, head north towards Grampians National Park, where you’ll check into your accommodation at the foot of Mt. Sturgeon, the renowned Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld. 3 Day: The third day starts with an amazingly scenic drive along the Wonderland and Mt. William Ranges, through to Halls Gap in the heart of the Grampians National Park. Enjoy a few short walks at Baroka Lookout, Reid's Lookout, and McKenzie Falls, as well as visits to the Brambuk Aboriginal cultural center and a local rock art site. Your journey back to Melbourne takes you through the gold mining township of Ballarat, once one of the richest towns in the world, before arriving back in the city at around 06:00 PM.

Frequently asked questions about Ballarat

What top attractions are a must-see in Ballarat?

The must-see attractions in Ballarat are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Ballarat

Want to discover all there is to do in Ballarat? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Ballarat

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 38 reviews

We couldn’t have asked for more from our tour guide Lucy, it was her first tour as a guide to the Grampians and she did an awesome job. You spend lots of time on the coach, but it’s filled with facts about the day / surrounding area and obviously there is plenty to see as your driving around. The hikes were great fun and really well chosen. MacKenzie Falls was definitely a highlight, along with getting up close to the Kangaroos at Halls Gap! I would recommend this trip to anyone looking for a fun, well guided, scenic day out.

Rachel la guide a bien géré son groupe avec des arrêts bien pensés et surtout un commentaire approprié aux choses vues sur le chemin. Dépaysant mais assez similaire à certains endroits en Corse concernant les chiottes de McKenzie. Néanmoins nous sommes en Australie et seuls ici se trouvent les kangourous.

What a great daytrip this was! Full of fun fact, nice lookouts and beautiful nature. It’s too bad that we didn’t do longer and more hikes in this area but there is just not enough time. Rachel, Red and Cloe made this trip unforgettable, thanks for that!

Excellent experience for a quick 3 day tour! Get a good snapshot of the different places - the great ocean road, 12 apostles and the Grampians

The guide took us around and made different paths even though many places were shut due to floods