In episode 4 of Pooches at Play Series 4, we head to the pet-friendly town of Ballarat in regional Victoria, which leads the way when it comes to van ownership in the state.

A report from the Caravan Industry Association of Australia shows 150,990 caravans and 13,543 campervans are registered in Victoria making it the the top postcode for caravan ownership.

So, if you’re heading this way with your dog, then there is plenty to see and do.

Check out the architecture with your pooch

When the gold rush happened in Ballarat, back in the mid 1800’s, almost overnight Ballarat went from a quiet sheep station to a major settlement. As a result of all that money, the architecture is quite stunning.

The streets are full of grand old buildings and a walk around town with you dog gives you a sense of how much wealth must have been created during the gold mining boom.

Walk around Lake Wendouree

You could be forgiven for thinking that Lake Wendouree is a natural waterway, but it’s actually man made. It was originally a swamp, but during the gold rush they dammed it. Today, it’s a great recreation area and the perfect place for a morning walk with your dog.

Wandering around the Lake is also an ornithologists heaven, as there are loads of birds around. Dogs do need to be on lead when walking around the path, but if your dog is prone to chasing or rushing at birds or ducks, then make sure you keep them close.

You can stop off for a coffee or a bite to eat at the dog-friendly ‘Pipers by the Lake’ café and restaurant which offer treats and puppacinos for your furry friend.

Go gold fossicking with your pooch

Whilst in Ballarat, why not try your luck with finding a gold nugget or two.  Only this August someone was lucky enough to land a $160,000 nugget in the area.

To mine for gold in Victoria, you need a ‘Miners Right’ permit. They are only $20 to buy from the Victorian Government.

You will also need to check which popular gold fossicking areas allow dogs onto the land, as some of the reserves or national parks will not allow pets into the area.   You can hire a gold detector and get some local information from Gold Ballarat at 822 Howitt Street, Ballarat.  They also run some tours that your dog can join you on.

You can also head into the Mining Exchange Gold Shop at 8a Lydiard Street North, Ballarat. You can buy some nuggets here and check out their resident pooch that keeps a close eye on their nuggets of gold you can buy, if you come up empty yourself after a day fossicking.

Other dog friend venues

Other dog-friendly places to eat at with your pooch whilst in town include Racers Café, ‘The Local’ café and produce store, Golden City Hotel and Meigas restaurant.

You can find out more about the things to do and see in Ballarat on the Visit Ballarat website or call them on 1800 446 633.