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Official site for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Day 5: Ballarat to Melbourne
166 km/103 miles, about 2.5 hours
Spend the morning in Ballarat's heritage precinct and unearth the city's rich gold mining history and magnificent architecture on a self-guided heritage walk. The grand tree-lined streets are perfect for meandering, the heritage trails are dotted with elegant Victorian and Edwardian buildings, parks, gardens, statues and churches.
Dig deeper into the region's gold-mining history with a visit to open-air gold-rush museum Sovereign Hill. Try your luck panning for gold, brace yourself for an underground mine tour, and learn about rare 19th-century trades.
Back in the present day, fawn over native fauna at the Ballarat Wildlife Park. Pat a koala, watch wombats wander up close and see crocodiles feeding – from a safe distance.
Before you make your way back to Melbourne, treat yourself to a visit to Daylesford and the surrounding spa country. For food and pampering, it's nothing but heavenly.
Linger over a long lunch at the renowned Lake House, where local culinary hero Alla Wolf-Tasker's sensational seasonal menu and views across Lake Daylesford make for an unforgettable meal.
Enrich the last day of your trip with a short detour to nearby Hepburn Springs, named for its naturally occurring mineral springs. Taste the different mineral waters from old-fashioned pumps in the Hepburn Springs Mineral Springs Reserve, or soak it up – literally – with a pampering spa at Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa. Fully rejuvenated, make the short drive back to Melbourne – and start planning your next trip!
Strike it rich with a day out in 1850s Ballarat and pan for gold, ride in a horse-drawn carriage and relive the Eureka Rebellion with sound and light.
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Lead a double life in Daylesford, a village dedicated to wellbeing in the heart of Victoria's spa country just a stone's throw from Melbourne.
The Welcome Stranger, the world's largest gold nugget found in the Goldfields, weighed 69 kilograms.
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