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Free in Ballarat

Located just 105 kilometres north west of Melbourne, Ballarat was named by Scottish squatter Archibald Yuille who established the first settlement in 1837, a sheep run called Ballaarat. The name is thought to be derived from the local Wathaurong Aboriginal word for the area balla arat meaning resting place. The present spelling was adopted by the city council in 1996.

Ballarat is most famous for gold which was first discovered on the 2nd August 1851 in the Buninyong region to the south by Thomas Hiscock. The find brought other prospectors to the area and on 19th August 1851 John Dunlop and James Regan struck gold at Poverty Point. Within days the news of Dunlop and Regan’s find had spread and a gold rush had begun attracting thousands of prospectors with dreams of making it rich. News quickly spread around the world of the rich pickings in Ballaarat and a huge influx of immigrants occurred including many from China and Ireland leading to the population of Ballarat swelling to over 20,000 people.

The gold rush and subsequent boom gave birth to a town that is now the 3rd most populous urban area in the state of Victoria with a population of just under 100,000.

We have compiled a small list of some of the free things we like to do in Ballarat. This is not an exhaustive list, there is so much more to this beautiful town than we could ever list.

Prior to starting your explorations of Ballarat, you might want to pop into the Ballarat Regional Tourism office located in the Town Hall, 225 Sturt St, Ballarat or visit their website at

free gardensGardens, Reserves and Places of Significance

Looking to get out and about and explore on foot, these are a few of our favourites right on the doorstep of Lake Wendouree Luxury Apartments:

  1. Eureka Stockade, 102 Stawell St South, Ballarat
    The Museum of Australian Democracy or M.A.D.E is now located on the site of the Eureka Stockade. There is a fee to enter the museum but you can walk around the park and a memorial to the Stockade has been erected to the right of the car park with information on the rebellion. Alternatively, download the Eureka Trails guide and take a walk around the points of significance to the battle of 3rd December 1854 which is widely held to be the starting point of Australian democracy. Click Here for more information
  2. Botanical Gardens, Wendouree Parade, Ballarat
    In 1858 a decision was made to convert the Ballarat Police Horse Paddock into a Botanical Garden and now today, over 150 years later we have what is considered one of Australia’s most significant cool climate gardens. The Botanical Gardens encompass 40 hectares of gardens, avenues and art. Free tours take place in Autumn and Spring at 11am on Sundays and free walking guides can be downloaded here.

  3. Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial, Wendouree Parade, Ballarat
    Local sculpture Peter Blizzard has created a monument to the memory of more than 35,000 Australians held prisoner during the Boer War, First and Second World War and the Korean War.

  4. The Avenue of Honour and Arch of Victory, Ballarat to Burrumbeet Road
    The Avenue of Honour began in May 1917 when Mrs Tillie Thomson began implementing the idea that trees should be planted in honour of the brave servicemen and women from Ballarat who lost their lives in the First World War. The first planting took place on 3rd June 1917 and comprised of 1000 trees with the final planting taking place 2 years later in August 1919. A total of 3,771 trees now extend over a distance of 22 kilometres with the Arch of Victory being added as a suitably grand entry point in 1920. Click Here to download more information 

free art galleryArt, Culture & History

  1. Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard St Nth, Ballarat
    Australia’s oldest regional art gallery, and recognized as the best regional gallery, visitors are always surprised by the collection which covers art from the colonial period to contemporary times. Entry is free but there is a surcharge for special exhibitions and free tours are conducted Wed-Sun at 2pm. Free trails for children to follow through the gallery can also be collected from reception. The gallery is open from 10am – 7pm daily. Click Here for the Art Gallery Website

  2. Post Office Gallery, corner Stuart & Lydiard St, Ballarat
    Just 2 minutes down the road from the Art Gallery of Ballarat, the Post Office Gallery building is an architectural treasure of Italianate style and classified by Heritage Victoria. The Post Office Gallery features a changing programme of temporary, contemporary and historical exhibitions. Open Wed-Sat from 12-5pm.

  3. Eureka Trails
    The Eureka Trails encompasses 3 different walking tours that cover the history associated with the Battle of the Eureka Stockade near Ballarat on the 3rd December 1854. The battle is often referred to as the birthplace of Australian democracy and represents the struggle of early miners for one man one vote and abolition of the hated Gold Licence. The trails will take you past Ballarat’s Old General Cemetery where you will find a memorial to the more than 30 men who died in the 20-minute battle, the site of the Stockade itself and many other points of interest pertinent to the rebellion. Click Here to download a guide and map of the 3 trails

  4. Dr Blake Murder Mysteries Walking Tour
    Download a free copy and pop on your exploring shoes and head out to explore 1950’s Ballarat as seen in the hugely successful TV show.

  5. Webster St
    The Webster St Heritage Precinct is home to Lake Wendouree Luxury Apartments on Webster and has a striking range of intact houses, hotels, corner shops, educational institutions and industrial buildings dating from the early 1860’s to 1940’s. Download further information then pop on your walking shoes, take your camera and head out to explore.

free playgroundChildren’s Playgrounds

Ballarat is home to some of the most amazing adventure playgrounds. Perfect for children of all ages and abilities, these are 3 of our favourites and all come with toilets close by, BBQ’s and shady picnic areas:

  1. Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground, Windmill Drive, Lake Wendouree.
    A wonderful wooden structure which evokes dreams of knights, castles, dragons and fairy tales. Accessible swing, toilets and BBQs are all close by along with ample parking and ducks or swans to feed.

  2. Indigenous Playground, Windmill Drive, Lake Wendouree.
    Just a short walk from the Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground but a totally different feel and atmosphere. Mosaic animals line the path, eagles soar high above and giant wooden platypus hide down below along with a little sandpit and storyboards telling traditional tales.

  3. Eureka Playground, corner Stawell St South & Eureka St, Ballarat East (beside M.A.D.E)
    Another large wooden playground with a Eureka Stockade theme, think wooden troops standing guard and climbing walls to breach defences, marching drums to announce your arrival and tunnels to hide in. Lots of fun for young and old.

  4. Victoria Park All Inclusive Playspace, Winter St, Ballarat
    Brand new and hugely exciting, this play space is accessible for all children and comes with flying foxes, all weather water play, multiple swings, slides and carousel.

free rail trailCycling

Ballarat is essentially flat and hence, perfect for getting around on 2 wheels. Either bring your own cycle or hire locally (We recommend Goldfields Bike Tours & Hire as they have amazing eBikes which do over 50% of the work for you).

  1. Skipton Rail Trail
    The Skipton Rail Trail is 56km and runs between Ballarat and Skipton through native grasslands, past historical gold mining sites and over an impressive trestle bridge near Newtown. The trail starts at Wendouree Station and follows a former railway opened in the 1890’s. (

  2. Yarrowee River Trail
    The Yarrowee River Trail travels along the Yarrowee River from the Gong Gong Reservoir Park and the hamlet of Magpie. It passes forests, wetlands, paddocks and native plantings and finishes in Ballarat. It is 16km long and starts/finishes at Ballarat Railway Station. Click Here to download the map

  3. Lake Wendouree
    Lake Wendouree itself is situated just a few minutes walk from your apartment. It is a man-made lake, and former host of the rowing and canoeing for the 1956 Olympics. There is a 6km path around the lake which is suitable for bikes, pushchairs or walking.


  1. City Circle
    Operating between 8am and 6pm daily, the free hop-on hop-off service in the CBD has 10 convenient stops and departs approximately every 10 minutes. The City Circle travels between Ballarat hospitals, shops and cafes along Sturt Street between Bridge Mall and Drummond St. Our closest stop is #4 on the corner of Drummond and Sturt St. Click Here for the details