Eat. Stay. Play. Ballarat

Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka

Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka

The inaugural Goldfield’s Heritage Month will take visitors on a journey through one of Victoria’s most significant regional areas, telling a story steeped in history and culture. From 18 April – 31 May, the region’s major cities, Ballarat and Bendigo, and surrounding towns including Castlemaine, Maldon, Heathcote, and Maryborough will stage a series of events including exhibitions, tours, performances and culinary adventures, celebrating the region’s rich and diverse heritage.

The city of Ballarat is pivotal to both the region and the event, and is located just 80 minutes’ drive from Melbourne. Renowned for its olde world charm and grandeur, Ballarat has evolved into a modern hub, catering for an influx of new residents seeking a ‘tree change’, as well as visitors who are looking for the perfect short break in regional Victoria.

Eat
Catfish Thai
Catfish offers up contemporary cuisine akin to that of a fashionable Thai restaurant in Melbourne city. Fresh produce from local markets is the star of dishes such as coconut and galangal soup with quail, chilli and lime; and steamed fillet of Murray River perch with ginger, soy and spring onions. The restaurant also runs regular cooking classes, specialising in favourites such as Thai barbecue and street food. 42–44 Main Road, Bakery Hill, Ballarat, +61 3 5331 5248

Fu Man Lou
Fittingly named after a Chinese proverb meaning happiness, good fortune and good wishes, guests at Fu Man Lou will start to feel all three after eating the restaurant’s famed dumplings. The menu consists of tasty modern Asian cuisine, peppered with a few traditional favourites such as lemon chicken and special fried rice, all reinvented in a fresh new way. The décor is vibrant and hip, with their own Warhol-style soup cans standing in for chopstick holders on each table. 10 Camp Street, Ballarat, +61 3 5331 5268

Saltbush Kitchen
Bush food flavours are accessible for all at Saltbush Kitchen, where founder Bridget Corcoran’s philosophy is to add Australian native foods and local fare to popular dishes.  Bushfoods are seamlessly incorporated into every menu item. Stand-outs include the iced wattleseed in place of the standard normal iced coffee, or the gin with soda and strawberry gum syrup in place of a gin and tonic. On most days, visitors are also welcome to take produce samples that have been dropped off by local farmers. Native bushfoods are also on sale and Bridget is always on hand to give tips on how to use them. 102 Stawell Street South, Ballarat, +61 0404 738 628

Stay
The Provincial Hotel
After eight years as a derelict building, The Provincial Hotel has undergone an enormous transformation and has been restored to (better than) its former glory. Set to open this month, it will boast expansive luxury accommodation (the former 60 rooms have been converted to 15), function room, a café/restaurant and basement lounge bar. A day spa is also on the way. 121 Lydiard Street, North Ballarat, +61 3 5331 3399 

Ballarat Premier Apartments
Renovated only a few years ago, by the same developer who has now taken on The Provincial Hotel, this former RSL building, built in 1901, has been lovingly restored, blending stunning Victorian architecture with modern luxury appointments and facilities.  Situated in an enviable location, the apartments are within walking distance to all of the town’s major attractions. 2 Lyons Street South, Ballarat, +61 3 5332 1003

The Loft
These gorgeous cottages are comfortable and self-contained, offering luxurious rustic accommodation within walking distance from the town centre. Visitors will be surrounded by French influenced décor and will have access to fresh breakfast provisions, T2 teas and Daylesford Aromatherapy toiletries. 34 Hopetoun Street, Ballarat East, + 61 425 732 744

Play
Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (MADE)
MADE uses the latest interactive technology to bring to life the history of democracy the world over. While the hallmark event featured in the Museum is the Eureka Stockade (including the original Eureka Flag), it also covers other significant events in the history of democracy, such as Martin Luther King’s famous I have a dream speech. Visitors also are challenged on their own perceptions of democracy, freedom and influence. 102 Stawell Street South, Ballarat, +61 1800 287 113

Eat Drink Share Ballarat
Tour host Lyndel Nash is a goldmine of foodie inspiration in Ballarat. She digs up the most delicious samples and the tastiest tidbits of information for those on her food and wine-based walking tours. Visitors are not told where they’ll be visiting before they start, as Lyndel regularly changes the itinerary to ensure that everyone has access to the best produce and the most passionate producers available on the day. +61 422 694 166

Art Gallery of Ballarat
Founded in 1884, the Art Gallery of Ballarat is the oldest and largest regional art gallery in Australia. The focus of the Gallery’s collection is to present the history of Australian Art, with a particular focus on the work of regional artists and works depicting the growth of Ballarat. Housed inside a heritage-listed building that is one of the oldest purpose-built galleries in the country, the Gallery will this year host Australia’s most famed portrait completion, the Archibald Prize (3 October – 15 November), and is also home to regular events such as Sunday music sessions. 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat, + 61 3 5320 5858

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