The top question we get asked is from people moving to Ballarat. They want to know where are the best areas to buy / rent a house? This is such a subjective topic, because it really depends what your budget is, what your lifestyle is like and what sort of facilities you want near by. Every street in every suburb can be different, and even within one street you could have various different housing types and neighbours. But we have to put a few ideas together to help with the decisions.
Close to town but on the rural fringes:
- Brown Hill – starts within a couple of kilometres from the CBD, and extends out to the edges of the bush areas. Lots of heritage, large block sizes, and new developments with units and large blocks & big homes. 2 bus routes go through the area and there are 3 or 4 primary schools and 1 secondary school within very close range including public & private. Caledonian PS, Black Hill PS, Little Bendigo PS, St Alipius PS and Woodmans Hill SC. Bike & walking tracks by the creek are close by and it is close to the train station and also right by the exit to the freeway on the way to Melbourne, so great for commuting by car or train. A handful of small shops are dotted around including 2 service stations, 2 milk bars, post office, 2 hair salons, laundromat, take away shop, mechanics, trendy cafe & barber shop. There is a community hall for hire, an outdoor swimming pool, parks & playgrounds and wetlands.
- Ballarat East – cross to the otherside of Victoria St from Brown Hill and you are in the old areas of Ballarat. The streets are lined with heritage homes, mingled with newer styles and you will find the site of the Eureka Stockade. There are a couple of primary schools in the area, and it neighbours the secondary school mentioned in Brown Hill. Candadian PS, St Alipius PS & Woodmans Hill SC. There is a large developed area for retirement and a demolished site that is rumoured to be home to a supermarket development in coming years. Ballarat East is home to the Eureka Stockade site, which includes a museum and an outdoor heated swimming pool and caravan park. There are plenty of picnic grounds, playgrounds and 2 bus routes throughout the area. You’ll find butcher, seafood and general stores. As well as a great community church, walking tracks, and take away and restaurants nearby, mechanics, hotel accomodation, function centres and more. It’s also close to Ballarat’s icon, Sovereign Hill.
- Invermay – Heading in the opposite direction from Ballarat East you have Invermay which neighbours Ballarat North and out towards Creswick. Inner developments are largely from 1970s onwards, and further out you will start to see larger properties leading to rural and farming areas. This is great for families wanting a bit of nature on their land, or to have horses or other larger animals, free range chooks and small farms. There are a couple of primary schools nearby including Ballarat North PS. The New Ballarat Cemetery is out this way, golf courses, and there is a local shopping area with IGA, take away, bakery, hair salon and pharmacy. And it’s also very close to Stockland Wendouree Shopping Centre. There is 1 main bus route and a couple of others that go close by.
- Buninyong – a little out of town, Buninyong is a town of it’s own with a bustling community. It is home to a variety of shops and businesses, restaurants, cafes and schools. It has community facilities, halls, church, a swimming pool in summer, skate park, walking tracks and gardens that are popular for picnics and weddings. Close to Federation University there is a variety of housing options available from large properties with grand homes to smaller rental units great for students. The bus route goes past the university on the way into the Ballarat CBD, and Buninyong is a 50 minute drive from Geelong, so great for commuting that direction. Mt Buninyong is a popular destination for the look out and bike / running races and there are numerous festivals and community events throughout the year.
Propserous areas with beautiful big houses:
- Lake Wendouree – this is Ballarat’s iconic Wendouree Parade and the streets that dovetail into it. The houses are grand and magnificent, with a variety of styles and heritage appeals. Overlooking Ballarat’s favourite water body, it is a Ballarat child’s dream to live here. Being close to lake provides walking and riding tracks, parks, gardens & playgrounds and front door/walking distance advantage for community events like Australia Day Fireworks, festivals and shows. Schools close by include Pleasant St PS, Macarthur St PS, Wendouree PS, Ballarat High School, Loreto College, St Patricks College and Ballarat & Clarendon College. The lake is dotted with cafes & restaurants, accommodation, yacht clubs and fitness clubs, and is close to the CBD, hospitals and busy Howitt St with it’s bustling business district and retail strips.
- Lake Gardens – across the road from the Botanical Gardens at Lake Wendouree, Lake Gardens is the old site of a mental institution known as “Lakeside” and is now a newly developed suburb of it’s own since the 1990s. Close to the previously mentioned schools, it is also very close to Stockland Wendouree and the Wendouree Train Station, which is great for heading to Melbourne or Maryborough / Ararat way. A cute little nook houses a couple of small businesses and a cafe in the centre of Lake Gardens and the streets are neat, tidy and tucked away from the bustle of Gillies St, which can get very busy. It is also very close to the Ballarat Aquatic Centre with indoor heated swimming pools, gym, creche and a number of neighbouring sports clubs including rugby, hockey and others.
- Newington / Alfredton – On the other side of Sturt St from Lake Wendouree & Lake Gardens you’ll find Newington and Alfredton. Like most areas of Ballarat, these are mixed areas with older homes and newer developments blended together, but they are closer to the CBD. They back on to the private colleges mentioned with Lake Wendouree, and are also home to primary schools such as Urqhart St PS, Alfredton PS and St Thomas More School and others and right near Ballarat High School. You’ll find Victoria Park here with open parks and playgrounds and sporting clubs such as cricket, Aldi, Chemist Warehouse, take aways, service stations, restaurants and butchers. You’ll also be on the Ararat / Horsham side of Ballarat, where the highway heads out towards Adelaide.
- You will generally find grand old homes and lovely new developments dotted in around most areas of Ballarat, including Ballarat Central, Soldiers Hill, Brown Hill, Ballarat East, Black Hill and Invermay…to name a few.
- New developments are popping up all around Ballarat, but the most prominent are Lucas, Delacombe, Cardigan, Mitchell Park. These areas are old farming turned housing deveopments, and offer a variety of block sizes and house styles. Lucas and Delacombe both have town centres in development with large shopping precincts and facilities including heath, entertainment and dining. While Mitchell Park is close in towards Stockland Wendouree and the Wendouree Industrial areas with large employers such as Maxi Trans, McCains and Mars.
- Some of the older areas with homes from early 1900s and on include suburbs like Wendouree, Ballarat North, Sebastopol, Delacombe and Mt Pleasant, these homes are well established, and while you will find new developments in there, it is not as prominent as the newer areas like Lucas. All of these areas have their own shopping areas, sporting clubs, and home to lots of businesses and schools including private, public, primary & secondary. Wendouree is home to Stockland Shopping Centre and very close to the industrial areas and large name employers, and has the new train station for commuting to Ararat or Melbourne direction. Sebastopol is heading out towards Buninyong and Geelong direction with plenty of large supermarket chains and services & facilities out that way. And Mt Pleasant is closer in to town heading towards the TAFE campus of Federation University.
- If true rural is what you’re looking for, then the surrounding towns that are skirted around Ballarat might be the place for you! With plenty of space to do what you please, and small, tight knit communities you might like to look out at Creswick, Smythes Creek, Wallace, Meredith or Beaufort. For us locals, these are a long way out, but for the family moving from the big city, the drive into town is short and relaxing, as opposed to the big city traffic chaos. The school busses operate out into these areas to bring the kids into school each day, but the public transport isn’t quite as good into these areas (except Creswick) as they are generally outside of the Ballarat jurisdiction and come under other councils, but if you are happy to drive 10 or 20 minutes to work, it won’t be a bother. And they mostly have great little business districts with shops, businesses and services in the town. As well as having their historical sites, community groups and sporting clubs.
If you’d like to share your thoughts or questions on Ballarat areas to live, the good, the bad & the ugly, please leave a comment below.
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