Ballarat is well known for its schools and hospitals which service a wide area. Its recreation facilities are also an important community asset. Ballarat businesses offer a broad range of products which includes catering for the rural communitys needs. It has a diverse range of community groups, service clubs, sporting clubs and arts based societies and groups catering for a full spectrum of people and interests. Major events such as the Begonia Festival, the Royal South Street Competition and sporting events involve both local people and participants from a large catchment.
Ballarat is one of the largest inland cities in Australia, with a population of over 90,000 within the municipality.
Strategically located in the Central Highlands Region of Victoria, Ballarat is approximately 110km north-west of Melbourne, the State capital. Travel time between Ballarat and Melbourne is around 75 minutes, and less to Tullamarine International Airport.
Access to other key regional centres is excellent via four main State highways which radiate from Ballarat the Western, the Midland, the Glenelg and the Sunraysia Highways. These highways provide easy access to industrial centres such as Melbourne, Adelaide, Geelong and Portland; regional locations like Bendigo and Mildura, and agricultural areas in the Mallee and Wimmera.
Ballarat lies within a gently undulating section of the midland plains which stretch from Creswick in the north, to Rokewood in the south, and from Lal Lal in the south-east to Pittong in the west. These plains are made up of alluvial sediment and volcanic flows, and contain large areas of rich agricultural soils.
The City displays a rich variety of topology and natural environment which comprises rolling hills, granite outcrops, heavily forested areas and numerous bodies of water. The urban settlement patterns offer a diversity of living environments, including small villages and country towns, as well as the main cityscape of central Ballarat, which includes heritage architecture of national significance and international interest.