Many of the villages surrounding Ballarat sprang up during the gold rush and would have been very lively during that time, to say the least. As well as mining, farming has always been big in this part of the world, and there were butter factories and other small industries in town. Many of the towns had populations in excess of 10,000 until a few ended up as ghost towns come the 1960s.
But now that more and more people are becoming increasingly interested in history, these villages are coming back to life and a new, contemporary energy is being injected in them. In addition to the heritage trails and outdoor walks that are common in every township, these areas are renowned for their gourmet food, fine wine and the charm that defines them.