Who else knows a city better than its locals?
So to let you in on some of this priceless insider knowledge, we’ve asked the people of Ballarat to share the city’s top hidden gems.
But shhh – don’t go telling too many people or they’ll no longer be our little secret!
For the “best banh mi ever”, local foodie Noey Natnaree Triamkedsub (AKA @natch27) goes straight to HM Wrap & Roll.
You’ll find HM Wrap & Roll at 1/3 Eastwood Street, Ballarat.
Another local treasure tucked away in this supermarket car park is the Ballarat Hamburger Cart.
Open from 5.30pm daily, this unassuming food truck is renowned for its old school hamburgers and hot jam donuts.
Meanwhile, homegrown Ballarat influencer and TikTok sensation Celia Gercovich swears by Saigon Noodle House’s rice paper rolls.
“This is my favourite takeaway lunch for under $10… they are absolutely delicious,” Celia says in her Instagram video.
Saigon Noodle House is located at 10a Armstrong Street North, Ballarat.
“It’s kid heaven and our first trip here absolutely knocked our socks off. So we came back again and weren’t disappointed!,” writes Rebecca.
And don’t let the name fool you – as well as birds, the attraction also boasts animatronic dinosaurs and a fossil dig table, waterfalls, a timber maze plus a fish-feeding pond, with a mini golf course under construction.
Check out Ballarat Bird World for yourself at 408 Eddy Avenue, Mount Helen.
If you love your sweet treats, you have to try the profiteroles at The King Bakery at the bottom of Sturt Street.
These little custard-filled bundles of joy have been a go-to for local morning teas for years and years!
The King Bakery is at 5 Sturt Street, Ballarat.
Continue on the sugar train with:
For extra bang for your buck, sign up as a member at Delacombe’s Showbiz Cinemas and go to the movies for just $11.50 (compared to normal price of $19.50).
Showbiz Cinemas is part of Delacombe Town Centre at 315 Glenelg Highway, Delacombe.
A similar deal is available at Ballarat’s historic Regent Cinemas (49 Lydiard Street North), where members pay just $12.50 for tickets.
She might not be a local but renowned food writer Sofia Levin recently called Ballarat “the most underrated food destination in regional Victoria”.
“For breakfast that feels as good as it tastes, A Pot of Courage is a not-for-profit social enterprise cafe that empowers women of diverse cultural backgrounds through training and employment opportunities,” Sofia wrote for culinary travel website Seasoned Traveller.
“The menu reflects the patchwork of people who work there, whether you order Colombian arepas and Bangladeshi dhal for breakfast, or the banh mi that attracts queues come lunch.”
You’ll find A Pot of Courage at Barkly Square, 25-39 Barkly Street, Ballarat East.
Also tucked away in this former school is the workshop space/store of Ballarat artist and illustrator Kelsie White.
Kelsie works in a variety of mediums to create products including prints, cards, fabric and ceramics.
Visit kelsiewhitedesigns.com for details about Kelsie’s upcoming watercolour workshops plus classes with other local creatives.
For some of Ballarat’s best pies, head to Shop 29 Pies, a family-operated business which snapped up nine medals at Australia’s Best Pie & Pastie Competition this year.
Blink and you’ll miss it at 29 Harold Street, the Wendouree bakery won:
For classic pub grub that will take you back to the good old days, grab a table at the North Britain Hotel (502 Doveton Street North), the Royal Oak Hotel (402 South Street) and the Black Hill Hotel (502 Peel Street North).
Another favourite is Eureka Bistro, which has been plating up traditional Italian cuisine for Ballarat for more than 50 years.
You’ll often spot locals here grabbing a quick bite to eat before a show at the nearby Her Majesty’s Theatre.
Eureka Bistro is at 316 Sturt Street, Ballarat.
And where else but Ballarat would you find the world’s only gothic and vintage-inspired cafe in a cemetery?
Just inside the gates of the Ballarat New Cemetery (1201 Lydiard Street North), The Gatehouse specialises in home-cooked treats with a Mediterranean flair.
Main image: Sweet As El‘s truffles