The story of an important time and place in Australian history and those living in this time lives on at Sovereign Hill. It’s an internationally acclaimed tourist attraction that prides itself on the extremely close attention to detail found in each aspect of this outdoor museum.
Take a glimpse of what life was like living on Australia’s 1850s goldfields. When visiting Sovereign Hill, you can find real gold in the creek. What’s even better is that gold pans are provided to visitors and the area enforces a ‘finders keepers’ policy. Hence, if you’ve struck gold in the creek, it’s yours to keep.However, Sovereign Hill has so much to offer that it might be overwhelming. That’s why booking a tour is always a fantastic option to take away the stress of planning your itinerary. Nonetheless, you might be wondering about what are the must-see attractions to view when visiting Sovereign Hill. Here are some of our top picks:
- Art Gallery of Ballarat
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the largest and oldest art gallery in Australia and was originally established in 1884 by the residents of Ballarat. The part of its collection in the gallery and the building are both listed on the National Trust of Victoria and the Victorian Heritage Register.
Moreover, this gallery has been noted as the origin of the original Eureka Flag. This art gallery is home to major collections displaying the history of Australian art dating back to the early colonial period to the present day. These art pieces cover a wide array of themes, including Home, Place, Country, and Disruption.
- Ballarat Wildlife Park
Australia is best known for its beautiful wildlife, which is why every opportunity to view these animals should be taken. That’s why the Ballarat Wildlife Park is so popular with visitors when touring Sovereign Hill. This is an interactive wildlife park that’s situated on 37 acres of natural bushland.
The park is home to Australian reptiles, mammals, and birds. One of the most fantastic things about Ballarat Wildlife Park is that you can catch a glimpse of free-roaming koalas, kangaroos, eagles, Tasmanian Devils, alligators, giant tortoises, crocodiles, and a wide array of lizards.
If you’re travelling with kids, this could be the best break if they start getting frustrated learning about the history of Australia’s gold rush, as we can imagine all kids can a little bored.
- Eureka Centre Ballarat
Keeping with the historic theme found throughout Sovereign Hill, the Eureka Centre is dedicated to showcasing the history of Australia’s democracy. This centre was previously the Eureka Stockade, which was the place of origin of Australia’s democracy and is the primary focus of the Eureka Centre.
This museum houses the original Eureka Flag, which was seen as a symbol of defiance when the rebels swore an oath against the ruling colonial government. It’s another amazing piece in Australia’s history that can be discovered at Sovereign Hill.
- Lake Wendouree
Lake Wendouree is an artificially-made shallow urban lake. This is a refreshing site on Sovereign Hill where you can enjoy a picnic and take in the clean air. However, the lake isn’t lacking in historical value. The name ‘Wendouree’ comes from the local Aboriginal word ‘wendaaree.’ This means ‘go away’ and is believed to originate from a story about settler Willian Cross Yuille. In the story, he asked a local indigenous woman what the name of the swamp was and her reply was ‘wendaaree,’ which was actually telling him to go away.
- Ballarat Botanical Gardens
The Ballarat Botanical Gardens Reserve is found on the picturesque Lake Wendouree’s western shore and covers more than 40 acres of land. This area is divided into three distinct zones. The central Botanical Gardens are found in the Victorian pleasure garden. The South and North Gardens are on either side of these central gardens and are open parkland buffers.
It’s a fantastic destination to visit after viewing Australia’s democracy and history and the events of the Australian gold rush. In most instances, many people enjoy viewing these gardens because of the garden’s poetic and metaphorical significance.
After learning about Australia’s journey to democracy, the Ballarat Botanical Garden can be seen as the ‘greener side of life’ when there are equal rights. However, for those who aren’t looking to get too philosophical, the beautiful scenery is also always refreshing to look at and appreciate.
- Goldfields Track Start
Are you looking to cycle on some of the most historic trails in Australia? Well, the Goldfields Track Start is the right place for you. This trail takes you through the sensational lands that were once extremely rich in gold deposits that made Melbourne one of the wealthiest cities in the world.
Goldfields Track Start begins from the heights of Mt Buninyong, which is south of Ballarat. It takes mountain bikers and bushwalkers through the historic towns of this area before ending in Bendigo. Many visitors enjoy the trail’s exceptional sections of single-track cutting through the scenic farmland, granite boulders, and bush.
- Ballarat Tramway Museum
Do you enjoy travelling by tram? If so, the Ballarat Tramway Museum is the right place for you when visiting Sovereign Hill. This museum is an operating tramway run by volunteers. It has a fleet of trams operating on part of the original horse tramway surrounding Lake Wendouree and the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.
Additionally, this museum is home to a massive research collection with an archive of information. These archives house more than 3,500 items involving the tramway. When visiting the Ballarat Tramway Museum, you can enjoy a quick tram ride while also learning about the tramway’s history.
- Kryal Castle
Sovereign Hill isn’t only a place to learn about Australia’s history. There are many fun activities to do. If the ones we have listed above don’t interest you much, you might enjoy this replica medieval castle. Kryal Castle is in the foothills of Mount Warrenheip and features castle towers, a maze, drawbridge, moat, an armoury, and stocks. It’s an amazing destination for kids and adults alike. You’re bound to have a blast when visiting this exciting theme park.
Contact us now to learn about our Sovereign Hill tours and what we can do for you!
Visiting the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and coastal towns along the way, our Great Ocean Road & Twelve Apostles tour is by far our most popular tour and there are plenty of reasons why.
Home to the little penguins, the Phillip Island tour is the perfect trip to take to experience the Australian wildlife with opportunities to get close and intimate with koalas, wallabies, penguins and so much more.
Journey through the breathtaking Dandenong Ranges in a classic steam train, enjoy a beautiful morning tea before finishing your day off with wine tasting at some of Victoria’s most exquisite wineries.
Offering some of the most magnificent countryside in Victoria, experience the Dandenong Ranges in full as you enjoy a ride on the Puffing Billy steam train. Built in 1900, Puffing Billy is Australia’s oldest steam railway. We then head back to Melbourne via Olinda – one of the quaint little craft villages in the area.
Phillip Island is also home to the worldly renowned Penguin Parade and to some of Australia’s most popular natural wildlife attractions. If you want to experience everything amazing Phillip Island has to offer, then the our all new Best of Phillip Island tour is your perfect choice!
We’ve got you covered. This afternoon/evening tour is ideal for those with limited time in Melbourne. Each night at dusk, the Little Penguins waddle up Summerland Beach and make their way to their burrows in the dunes, a ritual that has been followed for thousands of years.
Short on time? We’ve got you covered. This tour is perfect for those who are running out of time, yet still want to see more of what Victoria has to offer. Let us take you to Puffing Billy & Phillip island in just one day!
This tour takes you to Ballarat, Victoria’s biggest inland city and Sovereign Hill. Explore this perfectly re-created 1850s living museum showcasing the working and living conditions of the Gold Rush era.