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How to spend 4 days in Ballarat

Visit Ballarat

28 Mar 2024

Filed underSee & Do

Welcome to Ballarat, Victoria’s largest inland city. Just 90 minutes west of Melbourne, Ballarat is a melting pot of art, culture, food, wine and attractions set against an iconic heritage backdrop.

Day One – Settle in

Start your visit to Ballarat with a seriously good coffee before taking to the streets and exploring the city’s beautiful public art, architecture and historical landmarks.

Cobb’s Coffee
2 Lydiard Street South, Ballarat Central | 90-minute drive from Melbourne (110km)

Cobb’s Coffee is situated on the corner of Sturt and Lydiard Street, in the same location fleets of Cobb & Co coaches arrived during the 1850s goldrush. With a coffee in hand, it’s time to explore the surrounding streets, which includes more than 50 historical landmarks within walking distance.

Locals’ tip: Ballarat is home to many secret and quirky laneways, but there’s one laneway off Armstrong Street North you definitely need to check out while you’re here. Walk down Hop Lane and you’ll discover the super cool Hop Queen – a huge mural painted by local artist Travis Price. The umbrellas overhead change colours periodically so there’s always a new scheme to snap.

Start your visit to Ballarat by uncovering a hidden gem.

Hydrant Food Hall

3 McKenzie Street, Ballarat | 3-minute walk from Hop Lane (450m)

Tucked away down an old bluestone laneway, Hydrant Food Hall is one of Ballarat’s best cafes. Set in an historic warehouse punctuated by an original Grinnell sprinkler system, the menu here is driven by seasonality and local produce combined with specialty coffee.

Locals’ tip: The chilli scramble is a crowd favourite – Scrambled eggs, chilli oil, peanut salsa macha, Meredith Feta, croissant and some fresh cucumber. Yum!

Experience Ballarat’s lively art scene at Australia’s oldest regional gallery.

Art Gallery of Ballarat 

40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat | 3-minute walk from Hydrant Food Hall (250m) Free entry

This heritage-listed gallery is one of the oldest purpose-built art galleries in the country and houses a magnificent collection of Australian paintings, sculptures and ceramics. Wander between the works, including those from local Wadawurrung Elder, Aunty Marlene Gilson, who explores Aboriginal myth and stories of the goldfields in her paintings.  Once you’ve explored the Gallery, visit the gift shop to buy yourself somthing special. The shop stocks works by local artists and craftspeople as well as art books, souvenirs, gifts and toys.

Upcoming exhibitions

  • Nan Goldin: The Ballard of Sexual Dependency (Until 2 June)
  • Steph Wallace: Living on Land (From 18 April)
  • Next Gen 2024 (Until 21 April)
  • Lost in Palm Springs (From 4 May)

Enjoy modern luxury in the heart of the city.

Hotel Vera

Hotel Vera

710 Sturt Street, Ballarat| 3-minute drive from Art Gallery of Ballarat (900m) | From $315 a night

Ballarat’s latest boutique hotel offering brings a whole new meaning to luxury accommodation. Boasting seven personalised suites, each a sanctuary in its own right, the hotel is a one-of-a-kind luxury offering in the Ballarat accommodation space. A commitment to sustainability and slow living lies at Vera’s core. The hotel walls, the suites, the spaces and surrounds are each imbued with a certain slowness that creates an essentially luxurious stay.

Dinner at one of Ballarat’s best.

Babae at Hotel Vera

710 Sturt Street, Ballarat

Managed by chef Tim Foster, Babae’s menu features an ever-changing selection of dishes reflecting the season and sourced from produce grown in the Goldfields region. Think of a contemporary interpretation of classic cooking techniques. Wine pairings are matched with the rotating menu items and introduce diners to barrel samples and small production releases from across Victoria.

Locals’ tip: Allow up to three hours for your dinner booking at Babae. It is an experience in it’s own right!

Day Two – Discover hidden gems

Start your day with great coffee and delicious food. Named after Ballarat’s first restaurateur Johnny Alloo, this cafe aims to connect people and bring joy through great food and beverage experiences, just like Johnny did.

Johnny Alloo

32 Drummond Street, Ballarat | 2-minute drive from Hotel Vera (400m)

Locally owned and operated, Johnny Alloo offers more than just your usual café experience. Showcasing the diversity of what the region has to offer including local produce, wines, boutique beers and great coffee.

Local’s tip: For your big day ahead you can’t look past The Tradesman – fried egg & thick-cut bacon, special sauce, rocket, cheddar cheese on a buttermilk bun.

Shop until you drop at thanks to Ballarat’s ever-growing list of specialty retailers.


131 Sturt Street, Ballarat | 3-minute drive from Johnny Alloo (800m)

Evolving beyond a traditional homewares or floristry store, this new space has been carefully designed to create an experience anchored in the seasons and meaningful connection.

Ballarat Vintage and Collectables Market

9367 Western Highway, Warrenheip | 14-minute drive from Windflower (8km)

You can easily spend a couple of hours here flicking through vinyl records, memorabilia and vintage clothing.


20 Elizabeth Drive, Ballarat | 18-minute drive from Ballarat Vintage and Collectables Market (12km)

Visit the Wootten workshop and showroom for a view into a working boot factory, and let the makers assist you with selecting a pair of boots to be worn for generations.


Lunch in a one-of-a-kind saloon-style cocktail bar.

Grainery Lane

35 Armstrong Street, Ballarat | 4-minute drive from Wootten (1.6 kms)

Named after the grains used to make the spirit, Grainery Lane is located in one of Ballarat’s historic grain houses. The one-of-a-kind saloon-style bar brings back the glitz and glamour of the city’s goldrush era – think Peaky Blinders meets The Great Gatsby – with an original bar top sourced from Chicago spanning an entire wall, backdropped by sparkling chandeliers, grand leather couches and furniture reminiscent of the 1880s.

Join a gin masterclass.

Itinerant Spirits

200 Lydiard Street, Ballarat | 2-minute drive from Grainery Lane (400m) | $70pp

Dedicated to the craft of distilling, Itinerant Spirits perfect their recipes to share with you in their cocktails and masterclasses right in the heart of Ballarat. From foraged botanicals and locally malted grain through to their on-site distillery, they’ll take you through the process using unique copper stills, and their on-grains distilling methods including why they believe the proof is in the spirit.

A South American and Latin inspired restaurant.


213 Mair Street, Ballarat | 3-minute drive from Itinerant Spirits (700m) | $150pp

A South American and Latin inspired restaurant located in the heart of Ballarat. Pancho offers a range of street foods with a palette of traditional American food; think taco’s tortillas, guacamole, and empanadas as well as pisco sours and passionfruit caipirinhas.

Locals’ tip: Speaking from experience we can highly recommend the homemade empanadas.



Bistro food and disco moods.


209 Mair Street, Ballarat | 3-minute drive from underbar (600m)

Renard is a cocktail bar & social club that serves booze alongside small dishes and disco ‘til late. The venue boasts a selection of independent spirits, Australian and French minimal intervention wines, with an ever-changing seasonal food and cocktails list.

Locals’ tip: Our go-to cocktail is the Mair Street Spritz.

Day Three – Taste the region’s top drops

Start your day with breakfast in an old servo that has been transformed into a vibrant, modern cafe.

Drive Cafe

227 Grant Street, Golden Point | 5-minute drive from Hotel Vera (1.9 kms)

Sit outside at Drive Cafe, which started out in life as a service station. Drive offer a hearty breakfast menu plus more substantial offerings for lunch like fried chicken burgers and pastrami bagels. Our breakfast go-to is the baked eggs served with house-made harissa and tomato sauce, wilted greens and sourdough toast.

Lunch with a view.

Wayward Winery

76 Quoin Hill Road, Waubra | 12-minute drive from 321 Cafe (15.6kms)

Lead by the team from Renard and Ragazzone, comes an exciting destination winery with an emphasis on cooking with fire. With sweeping views of the Pyrenees Ranges, Wayward Winery offers a restaurant, cellar door and eight acres of vines.

Locals’ tip: The woodfire pizza is one of the best in the region. For meatlovers, try the smoked chicken and for vegetarians enjoy the eggplant and goats curd.

Wayward Winery

Enjoy the region’s top drops.

Summerfield Winery

5967 Stawell-Avoca Road, Moonambel | 38-minute drive from Wayward Winery (55km)

Summerfield Winery offer wine flights, woodfired pizzas, poolish sourdough breads and freshly-baked pastry products, both savoury and sweet. If pizza isn’t your thing, they have a deli stocking local and international produce such as smoked meats, cheeses, jams, chutney, relish, olives, olive oil and nuts.

Their passion for food has evolved into growing their own pork and lamb which is sold through the winery’s restaurant and deli.

Taltarni Vineyard

339 Taltarni Road, Moonambel | 6-minute drive from Summerfield Winery (6km)

One of the pioneers of the Pyrenees renaissance in the 1960s, Taltarni, with its beautiful vineyards in Moonambel, is one of the most popular and well-known wineries of the region. Relax in a beanbag on the lawn or seated at the tables on the veranda for outdoor live music on Sundays. Indulge in a ploughman’s platter of locally-produced cheeses, meats and breads, or the delectable Taltarni wine and cheese pairing. If you have a sweet tooth, there’s even chocolate and wine tastings.

Dinner at a beautifully restored Victorian era pub serving great food and local wine.

The Avoca Hotel

115 High Street, Avoca | 20-minute drive from Taltarni (19.7kms)

The Avoca Hotel is far from your average country pub. The menu offers dishes such as roasted spatchcock, grilled roo fillet and local herb-fed lamb. Eating at The Avoca Hotel is a tasting the region, particularly with the wine – the owners only stock the wine if it is grown in the region.


Sleep under the stars.


155 Wild Dog Track, Warrenmang | 22-minute drive from The Avoca Hotel (25.3kms)

Why not make the most of the beautiful Pyrenees scenery and book a night in an Unyoked cabin. Facing the remote mountain range, these cabins make for the perfect off-the-grid stay.

Day Four – Return home remade

Pay homage to Ballarat’s culinary tales.

Webster’s Market and Cafe
61 Webster Street, Ballarat | 5-minute drive from Hotel Vera (1km)

Sitting pretty on Ballarat’s historic Webster Street, Webster’s Market and Cafe is a slice of caffeinated paradise in country Victoria.

Serving breakfast and lunch daily, they provide a relaxed dining experience, with the tree-lined streetscape allowing you to enjoy all the seasons that Ballarat has to offer.

Experience a local favourite.

Lake Wendouree & Ballarat Botanical Gardens 

Gillies Street, Ballarat | 5-minute drive from Webster’s Market and Cafe (1.9 kms) | Free

Walk, run or just enjoy the view. Home to the 6km Steve Moneghetti track, Lake Wendouree has been a community destination for more than 150 years. Across the road, you’ll find the Ballarat Botanical Gardens – the perfect spot to enjoy your newly-purchased goodies from the Ballarat Farmers’ Market (held every second and fourth Saturday of the month), or to simply wander with a coffee in-hand. In the nearby North Gardens Indigenous Sculpture Park, you’ll also discover Murrup Laarr, a piece crafted by local Wadawurrung artist Dr Deanne Gilson.

Locals’ tip: During summer, hire a pedal boat and take a ride around Lake Wendouree.

Take a piece of Ballarat home with you.

1816 Bakehouse

18 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat| 5-minute drive from the Ballarat Botanical Gardens (2.2 kms)

Established in 2018, 1816 Bakehouse is an artisan sourdough bakery in the heart of Ballarat. From fresh sourdough bread to delicious cakes, why not stop in on your journey home and take some of Ballarat home with you.

Return home

Ballarat Begonia Festival

Schedule your trip to Ballarat around one of our many events and festivals.


  • Spilt Milk (December)
  • Summer Sundays (January)
  • Red Hot Summer Tour (February)


  • Ballarat Begonia Festival (March)
  • Clunes Booktown (March)
  • Pyrenees Unearthed (April)
  • Ballarat Heritage Festival (May)


  • Ballarat Winter Festival (June-July)
  • Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill (July)
  • The Red Series (July)


  • Ballarat International Foto Biennale (September)
  • Food, Fire and Light at Sovereign Hill (October)

For a full events calendar, click here.

In search of some alternative options for your Ballarat itinerary? Say no more…




  • Meigas (Spanish)
  • Ragazzone (Italian)
  • Mr Jones (Modern Asian)

Beer and wine


From Melbourne

By car
Take the 110km journey along the Western Freeway. Ballarat is just an hour and 30 minutes from the Melbourne CBD. If driving to Ballarat, we encourage visitors to plan ahead, pull over and recharge. Pause Stop pop-up sites can be found across Victoria at selected Visitor Information Centers.

By train
Direct from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station, hop on the V/Line train and arrive in less than 90 minutes at the historic Ballarat Railway Station in the centre of town.

Via the airport
The road trip from Tullamarine or Avalon airports to Ballarat takes about one hour. Transport options direct from the airport include hiring a car or booking the Airport Shuttlebus from Tullamarine.

From other areas

Check estimated travel times and highway routes via the interactive map. For more information, contact the Ballarat Visitor Information Centre on 1800 44 66 33.

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.