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A Day in Ballarat

Updated on October 17, 2014

On impulse, a day trip on a train

Have you ever woken up one morning and decided to just get away for the whole day? I did.

I turned my back on the fridge (which needs cleaning) on my backyard (which needs sweeping) and on the pile of work on my desk (which needs doing)..

Stopping only to pack a scarf and a mystery novel in my shoulderbag, I shut the front door and took off for the day.

.V Line is my respite. Fast, efficient and comfy trains. Cheap too! I took off for Ballarat, about 120 kilometres north west of Melbourne.

There's my Train!

It takes me less than 10 minutes to get to Southern Cross Station - the hub for all metropolitan and V Line country trains. A quick stroll over the concourse and there's my train! The V Line with the big blue engine.

It's almost an hour and a half to reach Ballarat, plenty of time to get stuck into my mystery novel which is titled, appropriately, Murder on the Ballarat Train.

Murder on the Ballarat Train - A Phryne Fisher Mystery

When the 1920s' most glamorous detective, Miss Phryne Fisher, arranges to go to Ballarat for the week, she eschews the excitement of her red Hispano-Suiza racing car for the sedate safety of the train.

The last thing she expects is to use her trusty Beretta .32!

I don't need anything on the Ballarat train except this book to read.

Ballarat Station

Settled down with my book, I was guilty of not even noticing much of the journey until we reached Ballarat Station. It's a beautiful piece of work - built with gold when you could almost pick up nuggets in the street.

At the height of the Gold Rush some two tonnes of gold flowed out of Ballarat each week.

Inside Ballarat Station

I think Ballarat Station is even more beautiful inside than out.

Beautiful Buildings of Ballarat

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Time for Lunch

I just love the enormously wide main street of Ballarat and the buildings of the Gold Rush days.

After an hour or so wandering around, I checked out the available eateries. For some inexplicable reason you can't get good Chinese food in Ballarat! Why is that? With such a strong history of Chinese Miners from the goldfields it's a mystery why Asian cuisine is non existent here.

I followed my nose to Oscar's in Doveton St for some old-fashioned English lunch.

Lunch at Oscars - Steak and Guiness Pie!

I had a scrumptious lunch at Oscar's Hotel. Steak and Guinness Pie, nicely arranged with some mashed spuds and veggies.

Washed down with .. ..take a guess.

A short bus ride to Lake Wendouree

I hopped on a local bus for the short ride to the Botanical Gardens. It's good to see them in colour once more, the last couple of years dried, and burned, so much. And Lake Wendouree has water in it again!

Botanical Gardens by Lake Wendouree

Click thumbnail to view full-size

What a fabulous day!

I don't how this happened, but the train coming back to Melbourne took under an hour - less time than it took to go up. I was back in town by 6.30 pm and ensconced in my lounge room right on 7.00.

What a great day out! It cost me less than $40 for the whole experience, return travel, bus to the Botanical Gardens, hearty lunch with a glass of Guinness and some coffee (with chocolate cake) for a late afternoon snack.

I must do it again!

How about you?

Have you ever just taken off for a day to another city?

See results

© 2010 Susanna Duffy

What do you think? Did I waste a day?

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    • Wilfcat profile image

      Wilf Catt 

      5 years ago from Leicester, England

      Great way to spend a day - especially with loco hauled trains. By the way, if you had Guinness, what was the other beer in the photo?

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 

      7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      How lovely just to set off with no plan really to this lovely historic town.Beautiful buildings there and that lunch sure looks good!Must do it myself one day.

    • SusannaDuffy profile imageAUTHOR

      Susanna Duffy 

      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      @Spook LM: I think they're originally from Sth America and were taken to Australia and Sth Africa. I know they've been in Australia for at least 150 years. Here, they blossom in high summer but this year they're still blooming bright in May - the weather has been very warm, even in Ballarat

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      8 years ago

      I'm sorry but I always forget. I lensrolled this to a couple of mine. I trust you won't mind.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      8 years ago

      Lovely and all and right up my street. Never knew they had Jacaranda trees down under.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Lovely idea for a lens. Gorgeous pics too. We have a Ballerat a mile or two away from us. There are about five cottages there. There is some connection with your Ballerat but not sure what. Angel blessed :-)

    • GonnaFly profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      Sounds like a lovely break! I don't think I'm really a spontaneous person but it is nice to get out once in a while - whenever your frig will let you!

    • burgessvillian profile image


      8 years ago

      It's not a wasted day. It was probably a well deserved break from everyday routine.Very nice lens. I loved the photos of the architecture and the Guiness pie looks delicious. I'll have to find out how to make it. 5*'s

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Nice lens Susanna, 5*****. Sometimes it's great to just take off for the day I agree.


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