Once in a lifetime

Visiting Sovereign Hill in Ballarat Australia

Sovereign Hill in Ballarat,
Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, Victoria is one of those places that both entertains and educates, with the latter happening without you knowing. Families, couples and anyone with an interest in Australian history will love this historic park and the glimpse it provides into the day to day life during the gold rush years. Sovereign Hill includes shows, a museum, restaurants and even some of the best hotels in Ballarat.

The park is a not for profit, community based cultural tourism organisation and is open from 10 am to 5 pm (5.30 during daylight saving) every day of the year except for Christmas day. The outdoor museum is a re-enactment of the first 10 years after gold was discovered in Ballarat in 1851. Thousands of foreigners flooded to the area in the hope of making their fortune digging for gold. The result was a vibrant and bustling community, and Sovereign Hill gives visitors a chance to step back in time and be part of the excitement.

Visitors to the park can see a $100,000 gold pour, ride in a horse drawn coach around the town, take a fully guided tour into an underground mine and even pan for real gold. Walking the streets of Sovereign Hill are costumed actors such as miners, well dressed ladies and tradesmen such as blacksmiths and candle makers. Visit the shops, theatres, schools and hotels of the town and get a real feel for the way life was during the gold rush years.

There are scheduled activities running throughout each day. You can learn about law and order from the resident Trooper and see how a musket is loaded and fired. Discover the secret of how boiled lollies are made the traditional way with a sweet making demonstration at the confectionery factory. Visit the Apothecaries' Hall (the equivalent of a chemist) and see the displays of antique medical equipment, a doctor's surgery and a range of herbal soaps, remedies, lotions and hair brushes are for sale. There's also a working saddlery, a jeweller, a tinsmith, a foundery and a blacksmith and you can stop into the local photo shop and have your photo taken in beautiful Victorian costume as a fantastic souvenir you can keep forever.

There's also a Chinese Camp which shows how Ballarat's Chinese diggers lived - visit their tents, the herbalists hut, their store and the fully-consecrated temple. The working theatre provides a full program each day of theatre and music, as going to the theatre was a popular activity during the 1800s.
The fascinating modern Gold Museum is an extension of Sovereign Hill, Ballarat and tells the story of the Gold Rush in Ballarat in more detail. Entry to the museum is free with admission to Sovereign Hill, and well worth a visit with one of the highlights being the Destiny Nugget, a 3.6 kilogram gold nugget found in the area. The piece de resistance to a day (or days) at Sovereign Hill is the Blood on the Southern Cross sound and light show each evening. The multimillion dollar show is like nothing you've ever seen and tells the story of the Eureka Rebellion, a dramatic battle between government forces and gold miners in 1854. The show can be watched as part of a show and dinner package that includes two courses and a pre-dinner drink.

Ballarat has a range of other things to do and see along with some great accommodation options for all types of budgets and travellers including Ballarat family accommodation. There are also a number of luxury hotels in Ballarat and numerous budget options.

For more information on hotels in Ballarat luxury Ballarat hotels visit Choice Hotels Australia online.