Established in 1884 and moved to its current location in 1890, the Art Gallery of Ballarat is the oldest provincial gallery in Australia. The architectural gem houses a wonderful collection of early colonial paintings and modern art, with works by noted Australian artists (including Tom Roberts, Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, Albert Tucker, Fred Williams and Howard Arkley). It also hosts contemporary, ticketed shows by national and international artists. There are free daily tours.
The gallery's shop sells art and design objects, while the cafe is an excellent spot for coffee and house-made dishes.