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Thrifty Travel: Visit Ballarat On A Budget This Winter

Visit Ballarat

12 Jun 2024

Filed underFamily Friendly

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

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

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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.


Affordable adventures

  • Free entry every day at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, with free guided tours at 11am daily. The monthly Art Late featuring a live band and supper is only $50 (with $5 off for gallery members).
  • Visit the Ballarat Tramway Museum and go for a ride on a vintage tram for $10 adult, $8 concession, $5 children or $30 family
  • Visit the free winter display at Robert Clark Conservatory at Ballarat Botanical Gardens
  • 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
  • Augie March plays at Civic Hall on 10 August, with tickets $45.

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)
  • 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)
  • Ballarat’s Best Pie is back for the month of August, with 28 pies to try at some of our best bakeries, cafes, distilleries and restaurants.

Warming drinks

  • Find out where you can get a warming Grounded Pleasures locally-made hot chocolate or chai at cafes around town
  • Bushfoods hot chocolate at Saltbush Kitchen

Weekday specials

  • Experience fresh modern Asian fare by a hatted chef at Mr Jones. Enjoy Winter Wednesdays for $45 per person or Thursday School Night Banquet for $65 per person.
  • Express Lunch Menu at Nolans, available Wednesday to Friday between 12pm and 2pm. Indulge in a main and wine or beer for $30 per person, or a main, dessert and wine or beer for $40 per person. Available until 30 August.
  • 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
  • From Sunday through to Thursday, Yum Cha at Roy Hammond for $65 per person. Enjoy free-flowing spritz, beer and sparkling with your experience, available until 2 September.
  • Roy Hammond also has $15 Margaritas on Mondays until 29 September.
  • 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 $15.90.
  • Enjoy pasta and wine night (or beer) at Ellington’s Wine Bar every Wednesday night for $20.

Weekend specials

  • At Nolans, enjoy ‘Margs and Margs’ bottomless pizza and margarita weekends, available every Saturday and Sunday. For just $52 per person, indulge in 1.5 hours of endless cheesy slices and bottomless margarita cocktails. Available until 30 August.
  • Boom Time Dumplings has monthly feed-me Boom Box combos; each box feed two for $64 (including two soft drinks), and you can swap to wine or beer for an extra $7 per person.
Quest Ballarat Station


Note: These offers are accurate as of June 2024. 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.