Located on the Yarrowee River in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Ballarat is about a 1 and a half hour drive to Melbourne, 2 hours by train.
Increased commuter activity arising from surging house and land prices in Melbourne, coupled with transport upgrades between Ballarat and Melbourne all contribute to the surge in population. Ballarat is a primarily low-rise city though apart from the area around Ballarat Airport there are few established height limits for buildings.
Over the years Ballarat has had significant growth in population and the City of Ballarat is becoming increasingly urban.
The City of Ballarat defines two Major Activity Centres within the urban area - the Central Business District (CBD) and Wendouree with a high concentration of business, retail and community function based primarily on the Melbourne 2030 planning model and a further 11 neighbourhood activity centres. The tallest building in urban Ballarat is the seven-storey Henry Bolte wing of the Ballarat Base Hospital (1994). Beyond the central area, urban Ballarat extends into several suburban areas with a mixture of housing styles. Predominant styles are 19th century villas, Victorian terraces, Federation homes and Georgian red brick homes.
Settlement patterns around Ballarat consist of small villages and country towns, some with less than a few thousand people. Ballarat appeals to a range of people from singles, professionals and families, to retirees). There are plenty of schools, parks, sporting facilities, shops and public transport options.
The Central Business District (located in Ballarat Central) is a large mixed-use office and retail district, bounded to the north by railway lines, to the west by Drummond Street, to the south to Grant Street and to the east by Princes Street and spanning the floodplain of the Yarrowee River. Lydiard, Sturt Streets, Armstrong, Doveton, Dana Street and Bridge Street (known as Bridge Mall) along with the historic centre of East Ballarat—Main Street and Bakery Hill have retained stands of commercial and civic buildings of state and national heritage significance.
The inner established suburbs were initially laid out around the key mining areas and include Ballarat East, Bakery Hill, Golden Point, Soldiers Hill, Black Hill, Brown Hill, Eureka, Canadian, Mount Pleasant, Redan, Sebastopol and Newington. The post gold rush era has seen a boom in expansion, extending the conurbation north, south and west.
To the west, Ballarat has expanded to Alfredton, Delacombe and Wendouree; to the north it has expanded to Ballarat North, Invermay Park, Invermay and Nerrina; to the east to Warrenheip and south to Sebastopol, Mount Clear and Mount Helen with the urban area encroaching the large town of Buninyong. In the heart of Ballarat is Lake Wendouree and the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, providing the perfect spot for relaxation or recreation.
The 6km Steve Moneghetti track is a great place for a walk, jog or bike ride and there’s plenty of places to stop for a picnic, lakeside cafes and playgrounds for the kids.
If you’re after a fun day out with the family there’s the infamous Sovereign Hill, which has been named Australia’s best Tourist Attraction four times (most recently in 2016). Pan for real gold, experience the street theatre, check out the museum, and at night there’s the spectacular sound and light show and the legendary story of the 1854 Eureka Uprising.
Take a walk on the wild side at the Ballarat Wildlife Park, it’s a great place to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s most famous native animals.
For a romantic weekend away, popular Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are only about a 40 minute drive from Ballarat.
Locals love Ballarat because of the wonderful schools, beautiful houses, the family-friendly atmosphere and great places to go out for a drink or a bite. There’s plenty to do for adults and kids alike - with easy access to Melbourne.
Who lives here?
- Families with kids
- Country Lovers