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Travel back in time to Australia's golden era and experience the gold rush from a fresh angle. Ararat's rich gold rush history was set apart by being the only town in Australia founded and developed by Chinese migrants.

Golden origins

Discover the Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre and relive the experiences of Chinese miners, who literally struck gold in 1857 on their way to the established goldfields. Ararat as we know it today was born when the resulting gold rush drew more people to the town.

Grab a guide from the Ararat & Grampians Visitor Information Centre and take a self-guided tour around the town's iconic landmarks. Continue your historic trip and learn about the haunting past of J Ward, a bluestone jail which once housed Victoria's criminally insane. Extend your stay with a spooky tour of Aradale, the country's largest abandoned psychiatric asylum.

Get creative, get on your feet

Stop by the Ararat Regional Art Gallery and see the extensive range of contemporary textile and fibre art collections. After checking out the artworks, take a stroll and marvel at the art deco building, complemented by the surrounding Victorian architecture.

Time your visit to coincide with the annual Jailhouse Rock Festival. The rock and roll festival attracts acts from around Australia and visitors flock in each year to celebrate all things 50s and 60s, from vintage cars to rockabilly music and fashion.

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Things to do


Road trips & itineraries

East Grampians scenic route

Take in the magnificent views of the Grampians National Park and explore the towns of Ararat, Moyston, Halls Gap, Stawell and Great Western.

Art galleries

Ararat Regional Art Gallery

Ararat Gallery is renowned for its collection of contemporary fibre and textile art, one of only two such collections in Australian regional galleries.


Mount Langi Ghiran

Try a tipple from one of Australia's most acclaimed producers of shiraz and enjoy spectacular views of Mount Langi Ghiran from the cellar door.

Parks & gardens

Alexandra Gardens

Amble through the Alexandra Gardens to discover the fernery and waterfall, orchid glasshouse, Alexandra Lake and Japanese Island. From mid-December...

Gold rush history

Gum San Chinese Heritage

Unearth the critical and quirky contributions of the Chinese miners who came to the Victorian goldfields in the 1850s, through interactive exhibits.


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Cheer on the fastest in the famous Stawell Gift running race, and stay around to discover more about the town's gold rush and Aboriginal histories.

Nature & wildlife

National parks and reserves

Be spellbound by the stunning beauty of the Grampians region's parks, renowned for their rugged mountains, wildlife and colourful wildflower displays.



Bump into Beaufort as you make your way west of Ballarat and pull-up for fine country fare, wines from the Pyrenees, and invigorating forest walks.


Art and culture

Travel through mountains, open plains, and the forests and flora of the Grampians and soak up the sights that have inspired generations of artists.