Ballarat lies about 60 miles northwest of Melbourne on the main road to Adelaide. Situated in the Central Highlands on the Yarrowee River, it enjoys a fine natural setting that attracts many visitors. That natural beauty, however, was not the first reason for the city's popularity. Instead, it was the gold rush in the mid-19th century that led to the huge growth of a small cattle station into the major inland city we see today. Mining still plays a significant, albeit smaller role in the city's economy, although it provides the background for one of the world's leading outdoor museums – the Sovereign Hill mining settlement museum. Top that off with a local winery and a beautiful countryside that surrounds the city, and it’s not hard to see why Ballarat’s restaurants keeps packing them in.