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Ballarat

Take a trip to Ballarat in Victoria's Goldfields and discover rich history and heritage and a friendly, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Ballarat is Victoria's largest inland city and is famous as the site of the world's largest deposit of alluvial gold. The legacy of the gold rush is evident in the majestic architecture and wide tree-lined streets of the town today. Admire the city's Victorian and Edwardian architecture, parks, gardens, statues and churches by following the visitor information centre's self-guided Heritage Walk. Pan for gold and watch the hustle and bustle of an 1850s gold mining settlement at Sovereign Hill. The 35-acre site includes shops, hotels, schools, a theatre, crafts, steam-driven machinery and two underground mines. Don't miss the dramatic Blood on the Southern Cross sound and light show, telling the story of the Eureka Rebellion. Visit the Gold Museum, located across the road from Sovereign Hill, and view the extensive and valuable collection of gold nuggets, alluvial gold deposits, gold ornaments and coins. Admire the magnificent collection of Australian art and the original Eureka flag at the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Australia's oldest and largest regional gallery. Catch a show at Her Majesty's Theatre which originally opened in 1875. Wander through the lovely Ballarat Botanical Gardens, on the western side of Lake Wendouree, the oldest inland botanic gardens in regional Victoria. The Ballarat Begonia Festival is held in the gardens each March. Take the family to meet koalas and kangaroos at the Ballarat Wildlife Park and walk or cycle along the tracks and trails in the region. Tempt your tastebuds with food and wine at laid-back cafés, award-winning restaurants, country pubs, and nearby wineries. Ballarat is 110 kilometres west of Melbourne, just over an hour by car via the Western Highway. Daily rail and coach services are available from Melbourne.

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