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Victoria's third largest city, Ballarat was once known for its central role in the region’s 1851 Gold rush. Since then, the city has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the major economic hubs of the area. A diverse blend of historic and modern, Ballarat is known for being home to Australia's oldest and largest regional art gallery, which is testament to the city’s historic emphasis on cultural and artistic pursuits. Today it is a melting pot of fashionable cafes, galleries showcasing emerging talent, as well as a great base from which to explore the region’s incredible landscapes.
Ballarat is becoming increasingly popular with both tourists and business travellers, which has led to an accompanying increase in hotels, guest houses and short-term lets being offered. If you are planning an extended stay in Ballarat, then serviced apartments offer the best attributes of the various accommodation, such as room cleaning, concierge, wifi and reception, whilst offering an enhanced level of privacy, your own private space and the added benefit of full kitchen facilities. These features can be a major advantage for those spending more than a few days in the city - especially those who require a space to work.
Ballarat is a diverse and thriving city that offers visitors plenty to see and do. Whether you are looking to explore the urban area or the surrounding scenery, the city has a huge amount of diversity and visitors are often surprised by its fascinating history - which has left its mark with intriguing architecture and a wealth of historic landmarks.
Those looking to learn more about Australia's famously diverse wildlife can pay visits to the region’s vast lakes, both of which sit aside incredible natural parks showcasing the intriguing landscapes. Alternatively, closer to the city centre is the wildlife park, which is home to several species unique to the region.
There are also plenty of museums and exhibits dedicated to the city’s history and development from Victorian gold rush town to the modern city it is today, including interactive museums detailing the gold mining process of the time.
Like most cities in Australia, Ballarat has plenty of great places to eat - with restaurants ranging from fine dining to small grills and outdoor barbeques. Ballarat Leagues Club is a good place to start if you want to enjoy some Australian dishes with a modern twist, or Red Peppa on Sturt for some fine dining using local produce.
Most of the shopping to be had in Ballarat is located on or around Sturt street, with numerous stand alone stores and independent retailers. Alternatively, Central Square Shopping Centre is just around the corner on Armstrong street and features a host of global brands as well as local specialist retailers. Further afield is Stockland Wendouree Shopping Centre, which features small independent sellers and stall selling everything from handcrafts to local foodstuffs.
Many of the visitor attractions in Ballarat relate to its history as a gold rush town, most notably sovereign hill, which allows tourists to travel back to the 1850s, with authentic buildings and costumed performers. There’s also the Gold Museum, which again explores the history of the towns economic fortunes. Alternatively, those wishing to connect with nature can enjoy the Ballarat Botanical gardens, with stunning displays of the regions flora and fauna.
Ballarat has train services to both Melbourne and Adelaide, making it extremely well connected to the wider Victoria region. However, if you wish to explore the centre then the city’s excellent bus service has routes to all the major areas and tourist hotspots. Visitors also have the option of hiring taxis for shorter journeys, though if you are planning an extended stay in Ballarat it will likely be more cost-effective to hire a vehicle for the duration of your stay.
Whilst mining continues to play a role in the local economy, it is the service and manufacturing sectors which see the most output. The big four Australian retail banks represent the financial services industry, whilst the Australian HQ of Mars is the major manufacturing power in the area. There are also numerous tour operators, with Eureka Centre; The Gold Museum, Ballarat, Ballarat Botanic gardens being prominent employers.