The Best Free Things To See and Do In Ballarat

Ballarat

Is located just 90 minutes from Melbourne. This town Best known for it’s gold rush history, the open air museum and Sovereign Hill. Ballarat is a former gold-rush town, in the Goldfields region of Victoria. It is Victoria’s largest inland city. There a lot to explore in Ballarat, weather your up for a hike, discovering lakes or want to ride the rail trail. Ballarat is great for a day trip or a weekend away.

Lake Wendouree

The Lake

Lake Wendouree is a man made lake in the center of Ballarat which has been there for more then 150 years. There is a 1 hour or a six-kilometer loop around the lake. The walk can be done in parts and you can start anywhere along the lake. Along your walk, you will see many wetland birds and swans, historic monuments and boathouses. While in the area also check out the Botanical gardens and Victoria Park which has a 5km loop around the park. The Botanic Gardens was under construction when we were in Ballarat.

The Skipton to Ballarat rail trail

This trail is 53km one way the trail and can be done in sections if you don’t want to ride the whole way. The trail starts in Ballarat at Remembrance drive and end’s in Skipton. You can ride this in either direction. If you are looking for an easy ride, you could start at Scarsdale and ride the mostly downhill section passing across Nimmons Trestle Bridge and Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary, ending at Linton. The trail is through farmlands and bushland, there is several small towns as your ride along the trail where you can stop for lunch. Click Here to see the trail map.

Camping

You can camp at Haddon’s Lion Park which is where we camped. It is located 15 minutes from the town of Ballarat, and is the perfect location right near the rail trail. The campsite is a large grass area next to a creek and big enough for many rigs of any size. A few fire pits and Picnic benches are in one area, which is great for campers in tents. Around the campground there is a few water taps so you are able to fill up your tanks. For those with pets this camp is also dog friendly. Toilets are available 24/7 and bins are located in this area as is the donation envelops. Pop some money in and take it to the general store over the road. Donations are welcome.

The Yarrowee River Trail

The trail starts in Sebastopol at the Docwra St Bridge Car Park. The Trail is split into a southern track and a northern track. Both trails are 7km one way. To ride the whole trail in one go, stay on Peel Street as you come through the CBD. This trail forms part of the Goldfields Track and links several bushland reserves and parks.

Lake Esmond

Originally a quarry for the local Eureka Tile Works until 1982, Lake Esmond was replanted and revived as a lake and reserve. The lake was named after early gold discoverer and Eureka Stockade leader, James Esmond. There is an easy 1.8km loop around the lake and into the gardens. Click Here to find the trail.

Mount Buninyong

Located 20 minutes out of Ballarat is Mount Buninyong. Mount Buninyong is an extinct volcanic mountain 745 meters above sea level. It stands out from the vast Western Plains next to it’s northern sister Mt Warrenheip. The lookout can either reached by road or a walking track. Once up the top make sure you walk to the top of the water tower where you will get incredible views of the landscape.
The 3 walks at Mount Buninyong are:
The Crater Walk – an easy walk, approx. 1 km, 20 minutes
The Zigzag Summit Walk – steep slope requiring good footwear and reasonable fitness, approx 3 kms, 1 hour
The South Walk to the summit via Crater Walk – steep slope requiring good footwear and reasonable fitness, approx 3.5 kms, 1 hour.

Creswick

Is located just 15 minutes from Ballarat and is a nice place to spend the day here and escape out to the nature.

St Georges Lake

The Lake was Built by hand in 1895, once a mining dam known as “Govvy Dam”. The lake has now been developed into a picturesque Lake. You can walk around the lake which is a 1.8km loop or walk to the spillway which is 160 meters from the carpark. The lake also connects to the Goldfields trail which connects Ballarat to Bendigo this trail is 210km long but can be done in smaller sections. You can walk or ride the trail.

La Gerche Forest walk

Is a self guided one hour loop is a great way to explore some scenic sections of the Creswick Regional Park. You first walk through the nursery plantations which surrounds the Creswick Land care Centre and La Gerches’ original plantings. These trees are now over one hundred years old and tower over the landscape. Signs along the way tell La Gerche’s story, and explain some of the other natural treasures remaining in the park. You can also walk the Land care trail which is a 2km easy self-guided trail passing over wetlands, through plantations and grasslands. Click Here for more walking trails in Creswick. Click Here for more of our blogs.

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