11 Best Attractions in Ballarat, Bendigo & the Macedon Ranges

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Best Attractions in Ballarat – Known as one of many wealthiest goldfields on earth, Ballarat, Bendigo, and the Macedon Ranges nonetheless harbor treasures in additional methods than one. With a vibrant arts tradition, historic buildings lining vast leafy streets, and other award-winning nation eating places than every other space of Victoria, the area is a sizzling spot for vacationers, mainly historical past buffs and foodies.

When the Gold Rush began in 1851, hundreds of prospectors got here right here to make their fortune. Today, gold continues to be mined, and the area attracts hundreds of holidaymakers yearly. Both Ballarat and Bendigo make an ideal base to discover the city. From my experiences and improbable artwork galleries and museums to the historic structure and pure points of interest like Lal Lal Falls, you will find loads of issues to do. Foodies can feast their means across the area‘s fabulous eating places and artisan meals.

Although it is a four-seasons vacation spot, autumn is taken into account prime time, when the area is ablaze with vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. For concepts on the very best locations to go to, see our record of the highest vacationer points of interest in Ballarat, Bendigo, and the Macedon Ranges.

11 Best Attractions in Ballarat, Bendigo & the Macedon Ranges

1. Maldon

About 40 kilometers southwest of Bendigo, quaint Maldon gives a small-town style of the gold rush period. Surrounded by hills and a forested panorama, its Main Street is lined with completely preserved 19th-century buildings housing an eclectic assortment of vintage outlets, cafés, eating places, and galleries.

Protected by the National Trust, Maldon was named Australia’s first “notable town,” and you’ll take a strolling tour to understand its wealthy historical past. Highlights among the many city‘s historic buildings embody the Grand Hotel (1888), they put up the workplace (1870), and the Maldon Railway Station (1884). Foodies can observe the Maldon Taste of Gold path to the pattern among the city‘s artisan delights.

For the very best views of the world, head to the highest of Anzac Hill, or drive as much as the lookout of Mt. Tarrangower, and when you‘re a music lover and have an opportunity to go to within the spring, the Maldon Folk Festival is a well-liked occasion that includes folks music, theater, and dance.

An enjoyable approach to journey right here is aboard a restored steam prepare, courtesy of Victorian Goldfields Railway. The prepare chugs alongside the attractive 18-kilometer route between Maldon and Castlemaine most weekends and on Wednesdays.

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2. Castlemaine

In the guts of the goldfields, Castlemaine is one other fantastically restored village. With vast streets and narrow laneways, the small city is familiar with artwork, backyard, and meal lovers. Several excellent, natural meals cafés serve seasonal native delicacies, and you will additionally discover antiquarian bookshops sprinkled around the city.

Over the previous few years, a distinct segment market in unique one-off clothes outlets has sprung up alongside Mostyn Street, and the Restorer’s Barn is a goldmine for anybody enthusiastic about antiques and constructing supplies.

Nature lovers and households get pleasure from strolling across the picturesque strolling paths on the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens, and children will love the playground. After a go to right here, cease by the Mill Castlemaine, reverse the gardens, the place you should buy a deal with from the Viennese cafe, get pleasure from a fresh-brewed espresso, and store for antiques and classic treasures all underneath one roof.

Other common issues to do embody looking at the Castlemaine Art Museum, which spotlights Australian artists, and touring the Buda Historic Home and Garden, stuffed with artwork and antiques and surrounded by pretty heritage gardens. The close-by tiny village of Clunes is the place gold was first found in Victoria in 1851, and its heritage streetscape is the price a glance when you’ve got time.

To arrive in Castlemaine in a mode befitting the city‘s historical past, hop aboard a Victorian Goldfields Railway heritage steam prepare from Maldon.

Best Attractions in Ballarat

3. Daylesford

Nestled on the sting of the Wombat State Forest, Daylesford is a gold city with a distinction. Swiss and Italian immigrants settled right here through the gold rush, not just for the gold, but in addition to the water. Together with twin city Hepburn Springs, Daylesford is the spa capital of Australia. Mineral springs full of hand pumps are dotted all through the world. You’ll additionally discover many wellness retreats specializing in spa remedies, and the beautifully situated, state-of-the-art Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa has welcomed guests since 1895.

Walking “peace mile,” the designated path around Lake Daylesford, is an everyday ritual for a lot of locals, and the city‘s award-winning eating places serve creatively ready native produce. On the water’s edge, the elegant Lake House is Victoria’s most celebrated nation home. Just over an hour from Melbourne, Daylesford is, without doubt, one of the ideal weekend getaways from Melbourne.

Best Attractions in Ballarat

4. Lal Lal Falls

About a 30-minute drive from Ballarat, Lal Lal Falls, which means “dashing of waters,” is a spiritually vital website in Aboriginal historical past. Best visited after robust rains, and the falls sit majestically amongst a sequence of gorges with a simply accessible viewing platform. Walking trails hyperlink all through the reserve. Another spotlight is the distinctive preserved blast furnace, a relic of 19th-century industrialism that centered on the manufacturing of bricks, pottery, china, and paper within the space. This is a well-liked cease on highway journeys from Ballarat.

Best Attractions in Ballarat

5. Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm

About a 15-minute drive north of Daylesford, Lavandula is a contact of Europe in an Australian panorama. The scent of lavender fields surrounds the traditional stone buildings, and the working farm is an ideal spot for a lazy afternoon. La Trattoria Café caters to indoor or out of doors informal eating and encompasses a wood-fired oven. During the summer season, you’ll be able to see the lavender being harvested by hand utilizing conventional sickles, and the store has a spread of fantastic physique merchandise comprised of lavender oil distilled on the property.

Address: 350 Hepburn-Newstead Road, Shepherds Flat, Victoria

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6. Kyneton

About a 30-minute drive from Daylesford, Kyneton gives vacationers a style of historical past, health-giving mineral springs, gourmand meals, arts, and nature. Historic Piper Street is lined with genuine, fantastically preserved buildings housing a set of galleries, eating places, and unique outlets. Don’t miss the energetic farmers market when you occur to go to on the second Saturday morning of every month.

Day spas, gourmand eating places, and natural cafes are different common locations to go to, and nature lovers will benefit from the Campaspe River Walk, which threads by the Botanical Gardens and several other historic nation properties. The bushwalking trails in Blackhill Reserve supply one other everyday escape to nature, and the cascades of Turpins Falls are additionally priced a go-to after good rains.

Like the close by cities of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, Kyneton can also be dwelling to pure underground springs, and you’ll replenish your bottle with the mineral-rich water at no cost on the hand pump in Kyneton Mineral Springs Reserve.

Best Attractions in Ballarat

7. Ballarat

As Victoria’s largest inland metropolis, Ballarat is of serious significance traditionally, commercially, and culturally. Sovereign Hill is an excellent place to kick off a Ballarat tour and study concerning the area‘s wealthy gold mining historical past.

In the city, the elegant facades of the numerous historic buildings are additionally harking back to the gold rush days. The older a part of city facilities on Lydiard Street with the magnificent Her Majesty’s Theatre, one in every of Australia’s oldest surviving theaters; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, that includes works from the gold rush artists; and historic church buildings. The customer heart (additionally in Lydiard Street) has a brochure and map for a pleasant heritage stroll, which explains the historical past of every construction. It is, without a doubt, one of the most significant free issues to do in Ballarat.

On the banks of Lake Wendouree, the attractive Botanical Gardens cowl 40 hectares. The sequence of gardens, highlighted by a central conservatory, has been part of Ballarat for greater than 150 years and entice backyard lovers from everywhere in the world. Families and animal lovers will get pleasure from mingling with native animals on the Ballarat Wildlife Park.

If you are based mostly in Melbourne, a handy approach to discover the highest sights of Ballarat is on the Ballarat and Sovereign Hill Day Tour from Melbourne, which incorporates a non-obligatory cease on the Ballarat Wildlife Park.

Best Attractions in Ballarat

8. Sovereign Hill, Ballarat

Set on a unique mine website, Sovereign Hill is higher than a dwelling museum, and it transports you properly again to 1851. Here, you’ll be able to expertise the gold rush days by daily demonstrations, workshops, museums, mine adventures, and multi-media shows.

During the day, wander the quaint outlets of Main Street mingling with actors wearing interval costume, discover the underground mine, trip the horse-drawn coach tour by the township, or strike it rich panning for gold within the river.

At night time, a spectacular sound and light-weight present tell the story of the 1854 Eureka Uprising, an essential part of Australian historical past. As a multi-award-winning attraction, Sovereign Hill is taken into account probably the most fabulous genuine, authentic experience in Australia.

Address: Bradshaw Street, Ballarat

Best Attractions in Ballarat

9. Bendigo

One of Victoria’s largest regional cities, Bendigo, buzzes with cultural points of interest and energetic cafes and eating places. Grand European-style structure with a distinctly Australian feel, substantial tree-lined boulevards, and an abundance of artwork galleries and church buildings make for a shock at each flip.

For a style of Bendigo’s gold mining historical past, join a subterranean journey on the Central Deborah Gold Mine. Bendigo additionally has a vibrant Chinese ancient history. The heritage-listed Bendigo Chinese Joss House is a reminder of the essential position Chinese immigrants performed within the gold rush, and the beautiful Golden Dragon Museum additionally explores this historical past with fascinating displays of Chinese artwork and cultural artifacts.

Art and structure lovers will even discover loads of issues to see. One of Australia’s largest and oldest regional artwork galleries, the Bendigo Art Gallery, typically hosts world-class exhibitions along with its delicious assortment of European and Australian work, together with modern Australian works. Bendigo Pottery is Australia’s oldest working pottery and an ideal place to choose up a singular reward, and the magnificent Sacred Heart Cathedral is probably the most acknowledged landmark in Bendigo and one of many most significant church buildings in Australia.

Family-friendly Bendigo points of interest embody the Discovery Science & Technology Centre, with greater than 100 kid-friendly interactive displays, and peaceable Rosalind Park, the prime spot for a picnic or a calming stroll within the coronary heart of town. You may get pleasure from a stroll around bird-rich Lake Weeroona.

An effective way to discover many of those points of interest is on a Bendigo Tramways tour, a narrated hop-on, hop-off journey by the town.

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10. Mount Macedon & Hanging Rock Reserve

About an hour’s drive northwest of Melbourne, the city of Mount Macedon nestled on the base of its namesake mountain and was a well-liked escape from the summer season warmth for Melbourne’s well-to-do after the gold rush.

Today, nature lovers and inexperienced thumbs will discover loads of issues to see and do within the space. A favorite exercise is mountaineering the paths at Hanging Rock Reserve. About a 15-minute drive from the city, this stunning slice of nature with volcanic rock columns was the setting for the basic Aussie moviePicnic at Hanging Rock, based mostly on the ebook by Joan Lindsay. And sure, you’ll be able to get pleasure from a picnic right here, too.

Mount Macedon’s attractive gardens are one other spotlightForest Glade Gardens options English, Japanese, woodland, and fern gardens, and Tieve Tara encompasses 7.5 acres of lush plantings, lakes, and lawns.

For spectacular views throughout the Dandenong Ranges and past to Melbourne’s distant skyscrapers, head to Macedon Regional Park and hike as much as the lookout on the slopes of 1,000-meter-high Mount Macedon (often known as Geburrh by the native Wurundjeri folks). The Mount Macedon War Memorial Cross right here commemorates those that fought in all of the wars. Nearby Camels Hump is the mountain’s highest level, and you’ll hike to it in lower than 20 minutes from the parking zone. Other enjoyable issues to do within the park embody scenic drives, bushwalking trails, and wildlife recognizing.

Best Attractions in Ballarat

11. Bendigo Tramways

Bendigo Tramways gives an exquisite nostalgic and time-efficient approach to discover the town and its wealthy historical past. An 8.4-kilometer round-trip takes in the very best of historic Bendigo aboard hugely adorned classic “talking trams.” The hop-on, hop-off journeys will be prolonged over two days on the one ticket so you’ll be able to spend time at every attraction.

Highlights alongside how to embody the Central Deborah Gold Mine, Rosalind Park, Bendigo Art Gallery, the Golden Dragon Museum, and the Discovery Science & Technology Centre. You may cease off at among the metropolis‘s prime eating places.

Specialty excursions embody the Anzac Centenary Tram, which focuses on town‘s World War I historical past, and the Dja Dja Warrung Tram, which sheds gentle on the tradition of town‘s first folks.

Address: 1 Tramways Ave, Bendigo, Victoria

Best Attractions in Ballarat

Where to Stay in Ballarat, Bendigo, and the Macedon Ranges for Sightseeing

We advocate these extremely rated lodges with easy accessibility to the highest historical and pure points of interest in Ballarat, Bendigo, and the Macedon Ranges:

  • Craig’s Royal Hotel: grand gold rush-era luxurious, central location in Ballarat, ornate furnishings, excessive tea, free continental breakfast, L’Occitane toiletries.
  • Braeside Mt. Macedon Country Retreat and Bed & Breakfast: 4-star B&B within the Macedon Ranges, great hosts, quiet setting, wood-burning hearth, tasty breakfast.
  • Best Western Cathedral Motor Inn: mid-range pricing, the heart of Bendigo, excellent worth, pleasant entrance desk workers, spacious rooms.
  • Seymours on Lydiard: budget-friendly Ballarat resort, suites, and flats with kitchens, free parking.

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