1999: Me & my mate made my way here DIY.
I was never a big fan of theme parks but we thought we would give this one a go. Gold-panning always sound like a good idea....you know striking it rich? Greed has no boundaries.
Caught a train from Southern Cross Train Station in Melbourne. Journey took about 1.5 hours).
I don't know what to call it. Is it an outdoor museum or a historical theme park? Located in the heart of the Victorian goldfields region, Sovereign Hill portrays the city of Ballarat’s first 10 years after the discovery of gold in 1851. The inclusion of the Sovereign Quartz Mine extends this historical period to the 1880s. All workers in Sovereign Hill are garbed in the attire of the period. It was like falling back in time and yet you couldn't shake off the fact that it was year 2000. After a while, my nascent anti-theme park spidey-sense started to click "cheesy, cheesy, cheesy"....call me spoil-spoilt.
I did enjoy the Mines tour though. Never done that before. It was much colder underground but it was quite interesting to see veins of gold gleaming at you along the quartz walls. The folks sweared that the veins were natural despite my doubts. Did pan for gold along the streams, just for the heck of it.
There is a "Blood on the Southern Cross" nighttime sound-and-light spectacular on the Eureka miners' rebellion of 1854 for those who cared to hang around for that.
Me? I was already on my way back to Melbourne.
2008: Decided to pay the town a visit, this time sans my mate who has since embraced familyhood. Same old, V/Line train via Melbourne. Something doesn't change.
Started my day with a simple but wonderfully hearty lunch at Cafe Bibo, which the Lonely Planet raved about. The breakfast was indeed as good as claimed.
This time I paid the Gold Museum across Sovereign Hill a visit (adult entry: A$9)...just to see what the fuss is all about of what that glitters and gleams.
Took strolls through the town on a Sunday, despite it being all deserted and quiet. The shopping street, Bridge Mall was abandoned and forlorn, save for a trio of redneck kids shouting racial slurs at me and one who threw a bottle cap at me as he rode past me on his bicycle. I hope he will crash one day and break something important.
There are so many beautiful architecture to admire in town. God-smacked. Dropped by the stately Ballarat Fine Art Gallery to catch an exhibition.
Watch a demonstration of a $50,000 gold nugget being melted and poured Gold Smelting Works . The gold is very beautiful in its liquid form.
Sovereign Hill opening hours
10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day.
During daylight saving Sovereign Hill is open until 5:30pm.
Gold Museum open hours 9:30am to 5:20pm.
Sovereign hill is a reconstruction of 1850s Goldfields rush in Australia. This period of time had a big effect on Australians. It was a time in history when groups of men banned together, worked hard in the fields, and defied authority. Its where we get the Australian saying "Digger" which we use when we refer to a good Aussie mate.
The Victorian goldfields produced more than a third of the world gold.
Soldiers on parade in the main street. After a short speech all the soldiers line up to fire their muskets..Very loud! This happens daliy at 1:30pm.
10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day.
During daylight saving, Sovereign Hill is open until 5:30pm
2 adults and up to 4 children (5-15 years) $86.00 AUD
Single Parent Family Pass
1 adult and up to 3 children (5-15 years) $61.00 AUD
Reading my guide I found a quite fascinating description of this place. It is Australia’s foremost outdoor museum and recreates Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold in 1851 when thousands of international fortune-hunters rushed to the Australian goldfields in search of riches.
It's really as you go back in time
There are working shops, hotels, schools, a theatre, crafts, a wheelwright, a candlemaker, a confectioner and steam-driven machinery.
It si open 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day. The Gold Museum that is next to Sovereign Hill is open 9:30am to5:20pm.
The ticket costs $32.50 fir adults, and $15.50 for child.
I wasn't expecting to spend much time in this place since I was travelling sans enfants. But it was so much fun I spent the best part of a day there.
There's so much to see, and the 'characters' are very interesting. Be sure to see the soldiers ... they are a lot of fun.
Visit Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. It is a couple of hours drive from Melbourne but really worth a visit. I have been there a few times and really love it.
There is also a night sound-and-light show which is amazing! It's fairly expensive but great for a day out...
You'll go back in time to the gold rush days. See the way things were back then...old shops, Cobb & Co horse carriages etc.
Sovereign Hill is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily.
This is a wonderful place to go, located in Ballarat, 2 hours drive from Melbourne. It's a periodic simulated goldfield town, with accomodation, restaurants and period shops. Heaps of fun for the kids, and the adults will always learn something new. Spend a whole day there, to make it worth your while.
Sovereign Hill is an open-air museum, or historical park, situated in an early gold diggings area. It is often referred to simply as 'the Park'. It portrays the way of life on the goldfields from 1851 when gold was discovered here to 1861.
Sovereign Hill's mission is to present, in a dynamic group of museums, the mining and social history of Ballarat and to ensure that our visitors are engaged, are informed, are entertained and become our best advocates.
A goldfields township set over 60 acres on the site of the world's richest alluvial gold mine. Over 60 buildings throughout the township to explore. More than 40 horses working in the township. See craftsmen at work in traditional 1850's trades. Go underground in the Red Hill and Quartz Mines. Marvel at $50,000 AUS of liquid gold being poured. See demonstrations and street activations every day
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