However you get there, Ballarat is worth the visit. Given that the town was the epicentre of Victoria's GOLD RUSH in the 1800s, it is understandable that most of the tourist destinations in Ballarat are linked to historical events. Perhaps the most well-known tourist attraction is Sovereign Hill, an outdoor museum dedicated to reenacting the gold-rush era. It is well worth a visit, but at $45 a ticket (adult) it is definitely a budget destroyer (especially if you include lunch and souvenirs!). But don't despair - Ballarat has plenty to offer the frugal traveller also!
Visiting Ballarat on the Labour Day Weekend is perfect for the frugal traveller as the city explodes with free activities. At the heart of the weekend is the Ballarat Bergonia Festival. This festival is held at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens on Lake Wendouree and runs for the entire long weekend. I headed to the festival on Saturday with my mum :) Given that we're not really into Bergonias, we chose NOT to pay the $7 to enter the main Bergonia hothouse and instead remained in the Botanic gardens to enjoy the free activities associated with this event. The Gardens were filled with stalls of all kinds, offering woodworking demonstrations, gardening advice and historical information of Ballarat. Trees were decorated in crazy items for an orienteering competition and live music was played by local bands in the free concert area. Local artists had created outdoor galleries (in the hopes of making a sale I'm sure) which could be wandered through freely.
Finally, the Ballarat Tramway Museum was providing FREE rides on its historic collection of trams - conductor and ticket stub included!
A great day out - total spend $1.50 (the peanuts were so tasty!)
We didn't stay very long at the Stamp and Coin show, but it is another example of the free events often available in the town of Ballarat.
I guess my overall point is that you don't have to spend a fortune to have a great time in Ballarat!!! Of course I recommend Sovereign Hill and the Gold Museum (I've been a number of times, luckily for free with school camps), but there are lots of things to see and do that won't break your budgets!!! I had a wonderful weekend with family and barely spent a cent :)
If you haven't been to Ballarat before, add it to your list! For those of you that have been to Ballarat before - any other frugal suggestions?? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page :)
Until next time, happy travels!!!