Driving Ballarat

A self-guided driving tour of the Ballarat area and its many attractions.

The driving tour begins and finishes at the bottom of Sturt Street, Ballarat.
The core drive takes approximately 1 hour and travels over 21km.
Additional routes are shown in italics. We hope you enjoy this glimpse of Ballarat.

Driving Guide

Location Guide

Enter Sturt St and drive up the hill to the west.

 

The first set of traffic lights is the Lydiard St. intersection.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue driving westward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue driving through the Pleasant St intersection.

Note the Titanic Bandstand on the right, one of only two memorials in Australia to the Bandsmen of the ill-fated Titanic.

At the intersection you will be able to glimpse, to your left and right, some of Australia’s finest architectural heritage.

On your left is the Town Hall, dating back to 1867 and built of locally quarried bluestone.

Further examples of this fine bluestone can be seen in St Patrick’s Cathedral (1857-1891) on your left as you reach the intersection of Sturt and Dawson St. The church to your right is St Andrews Kirk (1864)

Sturt St is a wide and elegant street, divided by beautiful tree-lined gardens. As you follow these garden reserves you will notice some of the many fine statues which are a feature of our gardens and parks.

As you cross the Drummond St intersection you will see the Ballarat Base Hospital to your right.

The streetscape begins to change as you move further west and leave the commercial heart of the city behind. As the road narrows slightly at Pleasant St., private homes become a prevalent feature. At the turn of the century this area was considered a prestigious address and the fine homes in the street, some of which have become private schools, are testament to this.

Moving westward along Sturt St

 

For those who are interested continuing straight ahead will bring you to the Arch of Victory

 

 

Prepare to turn right at Hamilton Avenue.

Victoria Park, on your left, is 132 hectares of recreation space. The Park was used as a U.S. Army camp during the Second World War.

The Arch of Victory is the gateway to the Avenue of Honour. The avenue of four thousand trees is 22 kilometres long, the longest such Avenue in Australia. The Memorial Wall to the south of the Arch of Victory records the names and the tree numbers of the service men and women honoured in the Avenue (Please return to Hamilton Avenue).

The turn-off to Lake Wendouree is on your right, at Hamilton Avenue. This street will also take you to the Botanical Gardens.

As you turn down Hamilton Avenue you will pass Loreto College (1899-1902). Originally a convent, it is currently a girls secondary school.

Continue through the roundabout and follow Wendouree Parade on the west shore of Lake Wendouree.

The Olympic Rings

The names of Ballarat Olympians are recorded in granite inlays on radiating paths from the rings. Note the fountain, evocative of the flame, which is particularly attractive at night.

 

 

 

The Olympic Rings (1956 Olympics, rowing and canoeing were held in Ballarat) mark the end of the rowing course.

The garden reserve to your left is the Flowering Cherry Tree garden and the site of the Prisoner of War memorial.

Set back among the trees you will see the Tramway Museum. Trams operated in Ballarat until 1971. Today you can enjoy a ride on vintage trams on weekends, public and school holidays.

The ride covers 1.3 kilometres of original track along the Lake foreshore.

The Botanical Gardens (1858). There are 40 hectares of trees, shrubs and seasonal garden displays. Free guided tours of the Gardens depart from the Conservatory at 2pm on the second Sunday of the month.

Some of the many features of these gardens include:

§ The Statuary Pavilion (1888), which houses ‘The Flight from Pompeii’,

§ The Prime Ministers Avenue,

§ The Conservatory, open daily from 9am-5pm,

§ Adam Lindsay Gordon Cottage, which features local art and crafts.

§ The Gardens and the Lake foreshore are the focal point of Ballarat’s annual Begonia Festival, held in the first week of March.

Continue driving around Wendouree Parade (Speed Limit is 50kph)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue driving through the Forrest St roundabout until you come to Haddon St

To your right is Fairyland. The shelter from the trees and the islands just offshore make this a popular spot for picnics. Paths winding through this area lead you to protected areas where there is an abundance of bird-life. There are several interpretation signs which describe some of the recorded 166 species of birds found on the Lake.

The area you are passing to the left of Fairyland is now reclaimed as a wetland, a major initiative in our preservation of native wildlife. All birds have right of way so please drive carefully.

Un-powered water sports and fishing are popular uses of the Lake. Approximately 6000 brown trout and 7000 rainbow trout are released into the Lake annually.

The Lake foreshore is the site for Springfest, an annual event held in November, showcasing local art, craft and wineries.

Turn right when you reach the Haddon St intersection and drive south towards the Macarthur St roundabout  
Turn left at Macarthur St roundabout. Continue along Macarthur St moving east.

On your left you will pass the Ballarat Old Cemetery (1853). Soldiers and miners who fought and died at the Eureka Stockade in 1854 lie here. There are also about 1000 Chinese graves.

The Ballarat Cemetery Trust provides a grave location touch screen database just near the main gates of the cemetery.

Continue east along Macarthur St to the roundabout at Lydiard St. Turn Right (south)

This will bring you to the Ballarat Railway station. If the historic swing gates are closed please turn right and follow the detour signs till you are back in Lydiard St.

Ballarat Railway Station was built in 1862. The rail link and station encouraged traders and hotel operators to build in this area. Note the bluestone buildings and beautiful lace-work verandahs as you continue down Lydiard St, one of the most intact and best-preserved heritage precincts in Australia.

On your left is the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, the first provincial art gallery in Australia. The Gallery is the proud keeper of the original Eureka Flag and features an extensive collection of Australian Art, including pieces from the Lindsay family.

Turn left at the traffic lights (east) into Sturt St and continue along this street, driving down the hill and following the road around the Bridge Mall and up Bakery Hill.

 

Continue straight through the roundabout and into Victoria St.

To the left, in Camp Street  are the University of Ballarat’s Visual and Performing Arts faculty and the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.

The shopping precinct of Bridge Mall is at the bottom of the hill.

Bakery Hill was a meeting place for angry miners who gathered here to voice their grievances against the Government. It was here that gold licenses were burnt and Peter Lalor led the miners in a vow to defend their rights and liberties before marching behind the Southern cross to the Eureka stockade.

Continue travelling East along Victoria St to Stawell St.

Victoria St is another of Ballarat’s fine streetscapes. It leads to the Western Freeway and to Melbourne.

Turn right and continue south.

Access to the Eureka Stockade centre involves a right hand turn at Eureka St and a further right hand turn at Rodier St.

(Currently closed for renovations)

Ballarat was first settled by Europeans in 1838 and is now Victoria’s largest inland city with a population of approximately 83,000. It is the site of the only civil uprising in Australia, the Eureka uprising, a brief but bloody battle, which took place between miners and government troops.

This area is considered to be the site of the Eureka Battle, which was fought on the on 3rd December 1854. The Eureka Stockade Monument on the corner of Stawell and Eureka St was erected in 1884.

Further to the west you will see the Eureka Stockade centre opened in 1998, an interpretive Museum of the Eureka story.

At the intersection of Stawell and Eureka St please turn left and travel east along Eureka St until you come to the Fussell St roundabout. Make a right hand turn and follow Fussell St until you come to the Wildlife Park.

The award winning Wildlife Park, operated by the renowned Greg Parker is open daily from 9am –5pm.

 

Continue South along Fussell St until you are at the York St intersection. Turn right and travel west approximately 2km until you reach

Main Rd. Turn left and travel south down Main Rd until you reach the roundabout at Bradshaw St. Turn right to find the entrance of Sovereign Hill and the Gold Museum or complete a U turn and drive back towards the central business district.

 

Sovereign Hill Historical Park. Australia’s biggest outdoor museum is open daily from 10am-5pm.

Blood On the Southern Cross runs twice nightly here. This unique sound & light show, recreates the drama of the historic Eureka

Battle using today’s modern technology. Bookings are essential and can be made in the foyer of the reception building of Sovereign Hill.

The Gold Museum houses a collection of gold from all over the world as well as details of gold detection and discovery in the Ballarat area. The Museum features an exhibition which retells the story of the local aboriginal people, the Watha Wurrung, and is host to various travelling exhibitions from all over Australia.

Returning North along Main Rd to the Eureka St. round about. Turn to the right and move eastward.

 

To return to the central business district. Return to the Eureka St roundabout, drive straight through to the next roundabout, continue in this westerly direction until you reach the roundabout on the corner of Dana and Albert St. Turn right to find the Visitor Information Centre again.

The modern buildings to the right of the Grenville St roundabout are the Ballarat Law Courts and Police Station.

This is the end of the ‘Driving Ballarat’ tour. We hope you enjoyed the experience.

For more information regarding Ballarat's attractions please call into the Visitor Information Centre, 43 Lydiard St North which is open daily from 9am-5pm.