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BALLARAT is a grandiose provincial city that makes a memorable first impression, especially if approaching from the west, via the Western Highway, along Avenue of Honour. Lined on either side with over 22km of trees and dedicated to soldiers who fought in World War I, it ends at the massive Arch of Victory, through which you drive to enter Sturt Street and the city. Over a quarter of all gold found in Victoria came from Ballarat’s fantastically rich reef mines before they were exhausted in 1918. Nowadays, in addition to the more obvious tourist attractions – especially Sovereign Hill – and fine architecture, the town is interesting in its own right, with a fairly large student population that gives the city a somewhat vibrant character and reasonably active nightlife.

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