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Thrifty Travel: Visit Ballarat On A Budget

Visit Ballarat

13 Nov 2023

Filed underSee & Do

Money might be a bit tighter right now but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a well-earned break this summer.

So read on to find out how you can get more bang for your buck in Ballarat…

Board the train to Ballarat at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station. Image: V/Line


  • You can travel to Ballarat by V/Line train from anywhere in Victoria for just $9.20 on weekdays ($4.60 concession and children) and $6.70 on weekends ($3.35 concession and children)
  • Once you’re here, catch a bus from the Ballarat Train Station to Sovereign Hill (bus 21), the Ballarat Wildlife Park (bus 20), Eureka Centre (bus 15), and the Ballarat Botanical Gardens (bus 10 or 11)
  • Neuron e-scooters are available for hire in all seasons and are perfect for quick trips around the city. In summer, Neuron e-bikes are added to the network.

Hire a Neuron e-bike in the summer months


Affordable adventures

  • Free entry every day at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, with free guided tours at 11am daily
  • Entry is also free at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. On Sundays in January, enjoy free live music in the gardens from 4pm – 8pm as part of Summer Sundays.
  • Picnic by Lake Wendouree and hire a pedal boat for $15 for two persons (children under 5 free).
  • Visit the Ballarat Tramway Museum and go for a ride on a vintage tram for $10 adult, $8 concession, $5 children or $30 family
  • On Sundays from October-April, sail on Lake Wendouree onboard the Golden City Paddle Steamer for $15 adult, $8 children or $40 family
  • Pick up a bargain secondhand treasure at the Ballarat Vintage and Collectables Market. Over 80 stalls and open seven days a week 10am – 6pm. You’ll find the market a couple of minutes drive outside of Ballarat on the M8.
  • Hit the streets on one of Ballarat’s free self-guided walking tours
  • Visit the Eureka Centre for $6 adult, $4 children and concession or $18 family. Entry is free for Ballarat residents on provision of photo ID.
  • Sign up for a free tour of the Ballarat Town Hall every Wednesday and Friday at 2pm. Or take a tour of the historic Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute every Tuesday at 2pm for $10 a person
  • Discover some of Ballarat’s quirky cafes, antique shops, history tales, beautiful scenery and buildings on Hidden Lanes’ slow travel interactive walking tour. The digital guidebook can be purchased online for $14.99
  • Explore Ballarat on two wheels with Ride Ballarat – the city’s best cycling trails. We recommend the Lake Wendouree Loop Ride, which starts at Ballarat Railway Station. If you don’t have your own bike, hire an orange Neuron e-bike for city riding (available only in summer), or if you are exploring further afield, arrange a mountain bike drop off from Ballarat Bike Hire.

Aunty Jacks


Cheap eats

Here’s some of our favourite places to fill our belly for under $20 a person:

  • 1816 Bakehouse (16-18 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat)
  • Earls Deli (11 Davey Street, Ballarat)
  • Saigon Allee (30 Armstrong St N, Ballarat)
  • Shep St Sandos (8 Shepperd St, Ballarat)
  • Saigon Noodle House (10 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat)
  • Kosaten (30 Sturt St, Ballarat)
  • For a sweet treat, Il Piccolo Gelato (217 Sturt Street, Ballarat) or The Little Cupcake (223 Eureka Street, Ballarat)

Weekday specials

  • Experience fresh modern Asian fare by a hatted chef at Mr Jones. Enjoy the Wednesday or Thursday School Night Banquet for $65 per person.
  • Wine O’Clock at Mitchell Harris every Tuesday-Friday between 4pm-6pm, with some of the bar’s favourite wines at $10 a glass, beers at $8 and snack plates at $12
  • Every Wednesday – Friday at Aunty Jacks, enjoy a burger and a pot for $20. Plus on Thursdays between 12pm and 8pm, buy a pint at pot prices.
  • The Lake View Hotel will keep you happy on weekdays: 2 for 1 cocktails on Mondays, 2 for 1 schnitzel on Tuesday, Wednesday curry night, Thursday parma-rarma, and an extended happy hour till 6pm on Fridays.
  • At The North Star Hotel, take your pick from $5 Sunday night kids’ meals between 4.30pm-6.30pm, $20 Wednesday parma night, $18 Thursday pasta night, and Friday Happy Hour from 3pm-6pm.
  • Drop into the Golden City Hotel for a range of $20 meals on Tuesday nights, $12 coffee/T2 tea/milkshake and cake on weekdays from 8am-5pm, $25 Thursday steak nights, plus $17 express lunch on weekdays from 11am-1pm
  • Kids under 9 years eat free every Monday and Tuesday at The Sporting Globe Ballarat with every full price adult main meal purchase. Before 3pm Monday to Friday, grab a classic burger, wrap or salad for $15.9.

Big4 Kryal Castle


Note: These offers are accurate as of November 2023. Please check with individual businesses to ensure each offer is still valid.

Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.

These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.

We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.

As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.