The Gold Country

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Gold Country - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Bendigo Art Gallery

    A notable collection of contemporary Australian painting can be found in this beautiful gallery, including the work of Rupert Bunny, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, and Arthur Boyd. The gallery also has some significant 19th-century French realist and impressionist works, bequeathed by a local surgeon. International exhibitions are regularly hosted. There are free guided tours every day at 11 am and 2 pm.

    42 View St.
    - 03 - 5434–6088

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Entry to permanent exhibition free; touring exhibitions cost from A$10
  • 2. Bromley & Co

    This impressive art gallery displays the stylish, contemporary work of David Bromley—one of Australia's top contemporary artists—along with other artists. The narrow shopfront belies a fascinating interior, with art pieces scattered down the long, narrow interior, to spaces upstairs, and out to a garden.

    45a Vincent St.
    - 03 - 5348–3979

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.--Thurs.
  • 3. Central Deborah Gold Mine

    This historic mine, with a 1,665-foot shaft, yielded almost a ton of gold before it closed in 1954. Aboveground you can pan for gold, see the old stamper battery, and climb up the poppet head, but the thrill of mining is felt belowground. The one-hour underground tour takes you 200 feet below the surface in an industrial lift to widened tunnels, letting you experience the conditions miners worked in during the gold rush era. Hear the roar of the traditional mining equipment and see gold in its natural state. The tour is wheelchair accessible.

    76 Violet St.
    - 03 - 5443–8255

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: A$7 (aboveground only); self-guided tours (including entry) from A$32
  • 4. Eureka Centre

    The Eureka Centre stands on the site of the 1854 Eureka Stockade revolt, in which gold miners staged an armed rebellion against police corruption and for the establishment of democracy in Victoria. The museum brings history to life via impressive interactive technology. Visitors learn about democracy around the world and can admire the tattered but beautiful remains of the original Eureka Flag, which flew above the site of the battle. A simple on-site café serves coffee and cake.

    102 Stawell St. S, Ballarat, Victoria, 3350, Australia

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: A$6
  • 5. Sovereign Hill

    Built on the site of the former mines of the gold rush era, this living museum town provides an authentic look at life, work, and play during Ballarat's gold rush era. Highlights of the main street include an operational hotel, blacksmith's shop, bakery, stores, and even a post office—all perfectly preserved relics of their time. You can have your photo taken in period costumes, take a mine shaft tour, pan for real gold (and find some), ride in a stagecoach, or head to the lolly shop to taste old-fashioned candy. Return at night for "Aura," a 90-minute sound-and-light spectacular that tells the story of the Eureka uprising. Your entry ticket gives you entrance to all Sovereign Hill's included activities, and you can add on such experiences as themed dining and accommodation, for full immersion in the period.

    Bradshaw St., Ballarat, Victoria, 3350, Australia

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From A$39, Closed Mon.
    View Tours and Activities
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  • 6. Art Gallery of Ballarat

    This impressive art museum has a large collection of Australian art, from 19th-century works to contemporary pieces. Keep an eye out for its paintings by landscape artist Eugene von Guerard, who captured Ballarat as it appeared in the raucous early gold rush days.

    40 Lydiard St.
    - 03 - 5320–5858

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 7. Ballarat Botanical Gardens

    On the shores of Lake Wendouree, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens are identifiable by the brilliant blooms and classical statuary. At the rear of the gardens, the Conservatory hosts events during the town's Begonia Festival held each March, with other events taking place near the lake.

    Gillies St. N at Lake Gardens Ave., Ballarat, Victoria, 3350, Australia
  • 8. Ballarat Wildlife Park

    All sorts of native animals, including kangaroos and emus (which roam free), saltwater crocodiles, snakes, Tasmanian devils, wombats, tree kangaroos, and echidnas can be found at this wildlife sanctuary. Daily tours of the park are led at 11, with a koala show at 2 and a wombat show at 2:30. Sunday at 3 is "crunch time," when Crunch the crocodile gets a feed. If you're also hungry, the park has a café and picnic areas.

    250 Fussell St. at York St., Ballarat East, Victoria, 3350, Australia

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: A$35
  • 9. Bendigo Joss House Temple

    An active place of worship on the outskirts of the city, this small temple was built by Chinese miners in 1871, during the gold rush days. At the height of the boom in the 1850s and 1860s, about a quarter of Bendigo's miners were Chinese. These men were usually dispatched from villages on the Chinese mainland, and they were expected to work hard and return as quickly as possible with their fortunes. Sadly, tensions with white miners were a feature of that era, along with anti-Chinese riots. Luckily this attractive element of their presence has endured from those turbulent times. 

    3 Finn St., Bendigo, Victoria, 3550, Australia

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Entry by donation, Closed weekdays
  • 10. Bendigo Pottery

    Australia's oldest working pottery workshop turns out distinctive brown-and-cream pieces that many Australians have in their kitchens. Founded in 1858, the historic workshop hosts demonstrations. You can even get your hands dirty creating your own clay piece during an affordable wheel-throwing lesson (bookings essential during school holidays); there's also a clay play area for small children. Impressive beehive brick kilns, which you can step inside, are star exhibits in the museum. It's 6½ km (4 miles) northeast of Bendigo on the way to Echuca, and there is a small café also on the premises.

    146 Midland Hwy., Epsom, Victoria, 3551, Australia

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, museum A$8, wheel-throwing lessons from A$30
  • 11. Convent Gallery

    Perched on a hillside overlooking Daylesford, this gallery occupies a former 19th-century nunnery that has been restored to its lovely Victorian-era state. It houses three levels of fine art and a nun-related museum, and occasionally stages live arts performances. At the front of the gallery is Bad Habits, a sunny café that serves light lunches and snacks, while Altar Bar is a hip place for a drink. The second-story penthouse suite is the ultimate in decadence, with its own hydrotherapy bath and a boudoir-style bedroom. For groups, the 1920s Monastiraki guesthouse lets you sleep among yet more art from the Convent's owner, Tina Banitska, which displays a wicked sense of humor, or the two-bedroom art house, "Love and Madness," opposite the Convent Gallery.

    Hill St. at Daly St., Daylesford, Victoria, 3460, Australia

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: A$5 entrance to the art gallery and museum
  • 12. Golden Dragon Museum

    The Chinese community's important role in Bendigo life, past and present, is explored within this museum. Its centerpieces are the century-old Loong imperial processional dragon, the Sun Loong imperial processional dragon, and the new Dai Gum Loong processional dragon, which, at more than 131 yards in length, is said to be the world's longest. When carried in procession, the body alone requires 70 carriers and 70 relievers, and more to carry the head, neck, and tail; the head alone weighs 64 pounds. Also on display are other ceremonial objects, costumes, and historic artifacts. The lovely Yi Yuan Gardens, opposite, with ponds and bridges, are part of the museum.

    1–11 Bridge St., Bendigo, Victoria, 3550, Australia

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: A$16, Closed Mon.
  • 13. Mineral Springs Reserve

    Above the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, a path winds past a series of mineral springs in this 74-acre reserve, created in 1865. Each spring has a slightly different chemical composition—and a significantly different taste. You can bring empty bottles and fill them for free with the mineral water of your choice. The reserve includes walking trails, playgrounds, and a café.

    Mineral Springs Reserve, Hepburn Springs, Victoria, Australia

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free

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