Ballarat is the third largest regional inland city in Victoria with a population of about 100,000 people. Ballarat became a major boomtown in 1851 when gold was discovered and it was once the fastest growing town in Australia. Ballarat was also the site for Australia’s only civil uprising when on the 3rd December 1854 civilians armed themself to fight for miners rights.
Today Ballarat is one of Victoria’s biggest tourism towns which contributes around half a billion dollars in revenue to the Ballarat economy. One of the most interesting places to see is a fantastic open air museum known as Sovereign Hill. The winner of many tourism awards, Sovereign Hill is a fully recreated 1850’s gold mining settlement which will amaze your senses as you get transformed back in time.
Another great place to see in Ballarat is Kryal Castle which is a medieval castle located in Dunnstown just 8 kilometres from Ballarat. The castle was built by Keith Ryall who was a famous resident of Ballarat and made his fortune by selling body armour. The castle includes a maze, armoury museum and a “Wax of Torture”.
For nature enthusiasts the Ballarat Wildlife Park which opened in 1987 is a must see destination. The wildlife park is massive in size with around 32 acres of fun things to experience and see. The wildlife park also includes the famous “Big Miner” statute next to the Gold Rush mini golf circuit.
For something a little different, Ballarat features ghost tours and cemetery night tours. The eerie tours explore the dark history of Ballarat and shed light onto the early 1800s where the gold rush created misery to some of the miners who lost their lives.
The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery is another attraction not to miss and is one of Australia’s oldest and largest regional galleys. Founded in 1884, the gallery houses major collections of art from the early colonial years.
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