Ballarat is a suburb of multiple layers, comprising both historical and contemporary appeal. Genteel facades and ornate iron lacing characterise the carefully preserved, 19th century streetscapes. But beyond historical beauty, Ballarat is a thoroughly modern city - a bustling hub with dynamic character and a strong civic identity.
Ballarat's sizeable town centre is as busy as it is beautiful. Cafes, restaurants and shops animate the thoroughfare along Sturt Street, while stately gold-boom structures enrich the majesty of Lydiard Street. Spectacular examples of neo-classical architecture include the heritage-listed, former Mining Exchange and the old Italianate palazzo-style post office. A large student population injects youthful energy into the locale, which is packed with bars, pubs and clubs. It also accommodates a vibrant live music scene.
The natural beauty of Ballarat is found in 40 hectares of botanic gardens on Lake Wendouree. Parklands are plentiful and the town is surrounded by stunning countryside. At a mere 110km from Melbourne, it's no wonder more people are commuting to and from the capital.
Ballarat hosts a number of popular festivals, including Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields (music festival) and the spectacular Ballarat Begonia festival.