It’s an excellent choice for international students who want a mix of nature, a relaxed lifestyle, and the chance to immerse themselves in historical surroundings.
We think the list could be endless, but keep reading to discover our top 10 awesome reasons to live in Ballarat!
1. Home to excellent study and work options
If you’re the kind of person who likes to have your university on your doorstep, Federation University or the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Ballarat campus are the places to be. These education providers offer courses across various disciplines from business, information technology, nursing, education, and much more. Plus, the Australian Government provides an additional two years of post-study work rights to students that study in regional areas like Ballarat.
Plus, when you’re looking for work, there is much less competition for jobs. During your studies, you can start to build meaningful connections with major regional employers.
Ballarat is noted for its reasonable cost of living, which is excellent news for students on a budget. For example, a premium room (with a private bathroom!) at university-managed accommodation in Ballarat can cost as little as $195 per week. Or, if you’d like to share a house with friends, you can find a range of private rental options, from inner-city apartments to larger homes with gardens. Renting in Ballarat can be up to 38 per cent cheaper than in Melbourne!
Living in Ballarat will generally mean a lower cost of living than in bigger cities. So, you get to save money and have more cash in your pocket to spend on things you love.
3. Rich history
If you wander the streets of Ballarat, you’ll see that it’s steeped in history. An incredible example of this is all of the art deco-style buildings found along Sturt and Lydiard Street.
If you’d like to learn about the city’s past, you can try a self-guided heritage walk or join a Ballarat Heritage Tour. Some other historic places to visit are the Arch of Victory, the Eureka Centre of Ballarat, Kryal Castle, or the Robert Clark Conservatory.
4. Access to Melbourne
If you’re interested in making your way into the city of Melbourne from Ballarat, it’s an easy journey thanks to a well-connected public transport system. Ballarat is a 1.5-hour train ride to the Melbourne CBD and around the same if you travel by car. There are also bus services operating between Ballarat and Melbourne, and the journey time is around two hours.
If you’d like to venture to other regional areas of Victoria (and we strongly recommend you do), Ballarat’s public transport system can connect you to places like Ararat, Bacchus Marsh, and Daylesford.
5. Year-round attractions
It’s fair to say there’s always something happening in Ballarat! From the Ballarat Winter Festival and Ballarat Heritage Festival to Summer Sundays, you can enjoy many arts, cultural, food, wine, and sports experiences and events.
The Ballarat Begonia Festival is one of its biggest festivals. Taking place annually in March, it showcases the region’s rare collection of begonias — a colourful flower. Make sure you have your camera ready!
6. Sovereign Hill experience
Sovereign Hill is one of Victoria’s most fascinating open-air museums. It is renowned as one of the top tourist attractions to experience in Australia. Sovereign Hill brings to life the ‘gold rush era’ of Australia from the 1850s. The whole experience is like taking a step back in time!
Make sure to try panning for gold in the creek, with the tools for panning available upon entry. If you like museum experiences with a twist, you’ll love living in Ballarat and being steps away from Sovereign Hill.
7. Small-town community
Ballarat is home to 100,000 people. So, if you don’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of big cities, Ballarat will be an excellent choice for you. You may find there are fewer international students living in regional areas. However, this gives you a lot more opportunities to make friends with local Australian students and be a part of an Australian community. You’re more likely to bump into someone you know, and there’ll be more opportunities to practice your English language skills too.
The town is also dotted with peaceful public open spaces, adding to its relaxing, homey feel.
8. Travel opportunities
Ballarat is perfectly positioned for those who like to get in touch with nature. Around 1.5 hours from the famous Grampians National Park, you’ll be greeted with a range of options like hiking trails and waterfalls – natural beauty galore!
If you’d like to meet local fauna, it’s well worth a trip to Ballarat Wildlife Park for up-close encounters with some of Australia’s furry favourites.
9. Buzzing food scene
If you’re a passionate foodie or simply love to try new cuisines, you’ll be impressed by the array of dining options in Ballarat.
Whether you’d like modern Australian cuisine or a cozy café, here are some options to put on your must-try list: Azzuri, Brown Grain Thai Restaurant, Dr Fill and Fatchef Ballarat.
10. Embrace an active lifestyle
If being in the great outdoors is something you enjoy, you’re going to love the lifestyle Ballarat offers. If you’re an avid bike-rider, the Ballarat Heritage Ride is a must-cycle. The terrain is mostly flat, so you can enjoy the scenery as you travel along quiet country roads. If hiking is more your vibe, try the Eureka Trail or soak up the fresh air at Lake Wendouree.