Ballarat’s inclusive gems: 11 accessible attractions
In recent years, Ballarat has made great strides towards becoming an inclusive and disability-friendly city. With a rich history and a vibrant culture, Ballarat has worked towards ensuring that its attractions, amenities, and services are accessible to everyone.
Whether you are a resident or a tourist, you can find a range of disability-friendly locations and activities that are inclusive and accommodating. Let’s look at some of the most disability-accessible places in Ballarat.
1. Ballarat Visitor Information Centre
The information centre at the Ballarat Town Hall on 225 Sturt Street is committed to providing accessible services. The centre features an adult change room with a full-service hoist and a non-peninsula toilet. Parking is available off Bath Lane; after-hours access to these facilities requires an MLAK key. Conveniently located across Sturt Street from the main dining precinct, the Visitor Centre can be easily accessed through self-opening doors. The centre is well-organized, providing easy access to brochures and helpful staff. Additionally, the Town Hall offers a self-guided tour via a downloadable app and QR codes, and a lift in the foyer facilitates access to the upper level.
2. Sovereign Hill
Sovereign Hill is an open-air museum that tells the story of Ballarat’s gold rush history. The site has made efforts to ensure that it is accessible to all visitors. It features wheelchair-friendly paths, accessible toilets, and a ramp leading to the museum’s entrance. Visitors with disabilities can also receive assistance from staff members trained to provide support.
3. Lake Wendouree
Lake Wendouree is a beautiful lake in the heart of Ballarat. It offers a range of activities for people with disabilities, including wheelchair-friendly walking and cycling paths, accessible fishing platforms, and picnic areas. The lake also features disabled parking and accessible toilets.
4. Ballarat Botanical Gardens
The Ballarat Botanical Gardens is a beautiful park that showcases a range of plants from around the world. The park has been designed to be accessible to people with disabilities, with flat, wide paths suitable for wheelchairs. The park also features accessible toilets and seating areas.
5. Victoria Park Inclusive Play Space
The Victoria Park play space in Newington, created by the City of Ballarat and the Touched by Olivia Foundation in 2016, offers a range of inclusive features. The site boasts sealed pathways, ramps to play equipment, and various activities suitable for all abilities. Notably, there are play panels designed for children with cognitive abilities. The playground includes accessible toilets as well as a full Changing Places adult changing room with a hoist. Accessible picnic facilities and drinking fountains are also available for visitors to enjoy.
6. Art Gallery of Ballarat
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is one of Australia’s oldest and largest regional art galleries. The gallery has made efforts to ensure that it is accessible to people with disabilities, with wheelchair-friendly paths, lifts, and accessible toilets. The gallery also offers guided tours for visitors with disabilities.
7. Ballarat Wildlife Park
The Ballarat Wildlife Park is home to native Australian animals, including koalas, kangaroos, and wombats. The park has been designed to be accessible to people with disabilities, with flat, wide paths suitable for wheelchairs. The park also features disabled parking and accessible toilets.
8. Kryal Castle
Located just outside the city in Leigh Creek, Kryal Castle offers some accessibility features for visitors. There are designated disabled parking bays in front of the castle. Still, the main entrance is only suitable for ambulant visitors. Upon request or appointment, visitors can access the grounds through double gates to the left of the car park. The grounds have a paved stone surface, allowing wheelchair users and individuals with mobility devices to navigate comfortably. Most buildings and exhibits have broad-level doorways for easy manoeuvring, except for the story of Kryal room, which has a step. The tournament arena provides accessible viewing, and ramps are available to access The Ale House and The Village Shop. However, multi-level buildings like The Tower, Wizards Workroom, and The Dungeon are only accessible on the ground floor. The Abbey Tavern function centre offers level entry and wheelchair access to the dance floor.
9. Creswick Woollen Mill
The woollen mill offers a disability-friendly environment in nearby Creswick. The mill building area features a flat concrete floor, while wide corridors ensure easy navigation. Displays have large fonts at one meter or less, making them easily readable. Broad mesh fencing provides a clear view of the equipment regardless of eye height. The retail area is well organized, with multiple-level displays. An accessible toilet with side and rear grab rails and a padded backrest is conveniently located off the main entrance.
10. The Eureka Centre
The Eureka Centre offers various accessibility features. The central car park opposite the centre provides designated accessible parking. A gently sloping concrete path leads to the entrance, which features a wide self-opening door. A ramp grants access to the lower level exhibition space, while the upper level of the 140-seat theatre is accessible from the upper-level opposite reception. The theatre includes wheelchair seating options, hearing augmentation, and good circulation space in the displays and cafe area. An accessible toilet with grab rails and a padded backrest is available on the upper-level opposite reception.
11. Ballarat Train Station
The city’s central train station, located on Lydiard Street North, offers convenient access for passengers. The station is easily reachable from the bus exchange and drop-off points. The bus exchange features tactile ground surface indicators (TGSIs) leading to the central platform and ticket office. The ticket and information windows are equipped with hearing loops and communication cards. The accessible toilet has been recently upgraded to meet current standards, with compliant toilet height, handrails, and basin. To access the second platform, pedestrians can use the designated pedestrian crossing over the rail tracks on Lydiard Street.
Mor accessible attractions and amenities
Ballarat has many more disability-accessible places that you can explore. Whether interested in history, nature, or art, there is something for everyone.
The Visit Ballarat website has a handy list of inclusive and accessible businesses and places of interest. These places have made efforts to ensure that they are inclusive and accommodating, making them excellent options for people with disabilities.
Supporting people with disabilities in Ballarat and surrounds
Lifely is a proud part of the Ballarat community, offering NDIS Support Coordination and Plan Management from our 15 Dawson Street South office. For more information about our Ballarat services, please telephone 1300 799 421 or contact us online.