Ballarat is a picturesque rural town of 96,000 people, and is a living museum of the gold rush period in Australia.
Beautiful buildings, gardens, fountains, monuments and sculptures enhance the wide tree-lined streets. Features of "small town" living in Australia are friendly and personable locals and a peaceful atmosphere.
Ballarat has a similar climate to Melbourne with slightly cooler temperatures in winter.
Although Ballarat is a historic town, its contemporary heart is alive with restaurants, cafes, bars and boutique hotels. It is home to one of Victoria's famous tourist attractions, Sovereign Hill, and features superb botanical gardens, art galleries and theatres. For example, you visit:
- Sovereign Hill – a recreated 1850s gold mining town where staff wear period costumes and visitors can try their hand at panning for gold
- Blood on the Southern Cross – an 80 minute sound and light show depicting the Eureka Uprising
- Ballarat Botanical Gardens
- Ballarat Wildlife Park
- Lake Wendouree
- Begonia Festival – held over the Labour Day long weekend in March, it includes a street parade and horticultural displays in and around the botanical gardens of Lake Wendouree.
- Oscar's Hotel & Café Bar – a unique art deco boutique hotel in the heart of the Ballarat CBD. This was originally the Criterion Hotel, a popular venue in the gold rush days.
- Lake Views Hotel – just a five minute walk from campus.
- La Porchetta Restaurant – located on Sturt Street, this provides fast service and generous meal portions at affordable prices.
Ballarat has several markets held fortnightly and monthly on the weekends. These include Pleasant Street craft market and The Farmers' Market at Lake Wendouree. Trash and Treasure is held every Sunday at the Ballarat Showgrounds. There are also nearby supermarkets:
- IGA supermarket is located on Pleasant Street, a five minute walk from campus
- Coles and Safeway are located at the bottom of Sturt Street, just off Little Bridge Street (open 24 hours)
- ALDI supermarkets are located in Alfredton near Camillus Residence, Albert Street, Sebastopol and Creswick Road, Ballarat.
- YMCA fitness centre is located on Gillies Street with swimming facilities, gym classes and aerobics.
- Fernwood gym is located on the corner of Mair and Lydiard Street.
- Curves women's gyms are located on Albert Street, Sebastopol and at Howitt Street, Wendouree.
Both the Ballarat Base Hospital and St John of God Hospital are a one minute walk from the Ballarat Campus in Mair Street. MedicAid is a bulk billing clinic located at 23-25 Raglan Street North. Eureka Medical and Dental Centre is a bulk billing clinic located on the corner of Dana and Albert Streets.