Get the Gist of the Gold Rush with this Gold Fields Road Trip from Ballarat to Bendigo

This road trip is as enchanting as it is educational, with the gold fields between Ballarat and Bendigo being the backdrop to this vacation. This trip will take you through the history of the Gold Rush in Victoria, and through some incredible regional areas that will take you back in time to the 19th century. There is plenty of heritage and history in these towns, so take your time, visit the museums, and embrace learning while on this 1.5-hour road trip! This blog will be all about the gold rush, the goldfields, and the journey from Ballarat to Bendigo - we hope you have the best time if you choose to venture on this trip. 

Rotunda in Ballarat.
Visit Ballarat

Ballarat has the accolade as one of Victoria’s most iconic regional towns. Situated just a 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne, it’s easily accessible as the start of this historic road trip. Ballarat was the starting city of the Victorian gold rush, which quickly became a thriving boomtown that had huge wealth and influence in the 1850s. It was then the start of the male suffrage movement, with local miners starting an uprising against the government and is interpreted as the start of Australian democracy. Nowadays, Ballarat certainly embraces its rich history, with a tourism slogan of ‘Where Old Meets New’. It’s a thriving regional city, with plenty of gorgeous cafes, restaurants, and spots to discover. We recommend staying here for a day or two if you can.

Visit Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill is a living museum that explains the gold rush in Ballarat. You’ll be able to live the history as you explore the museum: with costumed characters, underground mines, coach rides, shops, and a living township with diggings. With 450,000 visitors per year, it’s become a world-renowned museum that is famed for bringing history to life, and we definitely recommend you stop here to truly understand the importance of the gold rush to this town and Australia’s history!

Visit Bendigo

Bendigo is another historic gold town: the 1850s was a huge moment in history where thousands of people from all over the world flocked to this city for the promise of wealth and prosperity. In fact, the city quickly developed from a makeshift shanty town into a thriving city, built from the wealth of the gold found. This prosperity lasted until the 1940s until it developed into a manufacturing hub. Now, it is a proud city, and it demonstrates its history through heritage buildings and gardens, as well as welcoming new arts and culture to it, too. We recommend visiting here for a day or two to truly explore the depths of the city - as well as discovering the new elements of it, too.

Visit Eaglehawk

Eaglehawk is a historic suburb in Bendigo that encapsulates the living, breathing goldfields community. It’s a beautiful suburb with plenty of culture and history, as well as beautiful buildings throughout. Make sure to visit Eaglehawk Town Hall in Brassey Square. Here, you’ll find the town’s original post office, as well as the heritage courthouse and log lock-up. This is one of the few remaining original timber houses, of which you can visit. 

Take a Heritage Tour

Both towns offer heritage walking tours to visitors who want to learn more about the historic importance that the gold rush brought to each respective city. 

Bendigo has a walking tour that takes two hours to complete. Here, you’ll learn about the gold rush and the mass migration to the once sleepy town. It  became the world’s richest city in the 1880s, and it is incredibly interesting to learn about this transformation as you walk amongst the historic buildings. 

Ballarat also has a walking tour that operates throughout the city. Explore what made Ballarat so special in the gold rush era as you walk through the historic downtown precinct. Appreciate the culture and heritage as you stroll through.

Both towns are incredibly important to Victoria’s history. While the road trip might be short in duration, you’ll find plenty to see, do, and discover while in each respective town. We can’t wait for you to learn about the gold rush of Victoria while in these two historic towns!

To explore the Victorian Gold Fields region, hire a car from Ballarat or Bendigo today!

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