A day trip to Sovereign Hill

It was my initial Melbourne days. I was exploring all the places to see and visit around Melbourne and that is when I stumbled upon the Sovereign Hill. It was a place that looked very different and ancient. I had never seen a place like this before and the pictures looked beautiful. Instantly the place went into my list of places to see in Melbourne.

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About Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill is a very interesting tourist attraction in Victoria state of Australia. It is set in the 1850s and it depicts Ballarat’s first ten years during the gold rush. Opened in the year 1970, Sovereign Hill is an open air museum consisting of 60 historically created buildings. It has antiques, artwork, paper, books, devices, machines, carriage, animals, livestock and machines that were used in the 1850s.

Sovereign Hill is a not-for-profit and community based organisation. It is managed by the board members.

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A picture taken at Sovereign Hill

Where is Sovereign Hill?

Sovereign Hill is in the Golden Point suburb of Ballarat. Ballarat is a city in Victoria. The city is the third largest city in Victoria and inland Australia.

What is Gold rush?

The Gold Rush was a period in the history of Victoria, between the years 1850s and 1860s. There was a huge rush for finding gold and significant workers relocated themselves to the areas where gold was found.

A fun fact is that a Victorian found 2 kilogram nugget worth of gold on the outskirts of Ballarat. That 2 kilogram nugget is worth about AUD 130,000.

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A gold nugget found in the gold museum of Sovereign Hill

How to get there?

  • Train – The VLINE Goldrush Special coach is a courtesy return service to Ballarat train station from Southern Cross train station in Melbourne. The train journey takes 1.5 hours. And there are frequent trains between Melbourne and Ballarat with an interval of one hour.
  • Driving – Sovereign Hill is around 115 kilometres from Melbourne. The drive is around 1 hour 30 minutes.

Cost and timings

The attraction is open on all days (except Christmas) between 10 AM and 5 PM. And it costs around AUD 58.50 per adult. More and updated information can be found on their website.

  • Bookings have to be made prior to the visit online.

Activities to do

There are plenty of things to do in Sovereign Hill and one can easily spend more than a day doing things. Some of the activities to name are:

  • Gold diggings – There is a stream where one can go digging for gold. I did try my luck to find some gold but unfortunately could not find anything.
  • Redcoat soldiers – Watch the march of the Redcoat soldiers at 3 PM everyday. They drill and fire their riffles, which is pretty cool. Definitely do not miss this!
  • Art and crafts – There are plenty of shops where one can see and purchase art and crafts. The masks and the souvenirs were very beautiful.

!! You can also purchase souvenirs online from Gifts Australia website.

  • Photograph – Get photographed in the Victorian attire of the 1850s. The costume of that era is very pretty and they look awesome. There is a cost for taking a picture.
    • Unfortunately, I do not have any photograph with the Victorian costume as I had felt at that time that the cost of getting photographed was a bit expensive. However, I would love to visit again now and get a picture of me in the costume.
  • Gold museum – Visit the gold museum to read the history and know more about the gold found in Ballarat during the Gold rush.
  • Gold Pour – Watch a demonstration of the gold pour and see the goldsmith make a gold bar. The pour happens every hour starting from 11 AM.
    • The gold pour is something that I absolutely enjoyed and it was so amazing to see the whole process of creating a gold bar.
  • Mine tours – There are many Mine tours that are conducted in Sovereign Hill where the staff/ volunteers explain the life and dangers involved for the miners. There is a self guided tour that is FREE and any tour where a staff is involved is charged and it costs about AUD 8 per person.
  • Carriage ride – Go around the town in a carriage.
  • Take a selfie with a horse – The horses are extremely beautiful and groomed. So definitely take a picture of two with the pretty horses.
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Selfie with a horse at Sovereign Hill
  • Music – Watch the music played by the staff and volunteers. They are from the 1850s and are wonderful.
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Musicians at Sovereign Hill
  • Shopping – One can even take a piece of gold from Sovereign Hill. You can also shop online on their website.
  • Livestock – Interact with the livestock that they have.
  • Statues & buildings– There are different statues and buildings around the town. Take a look at them.

Detailed list of activities that one can do in Sovereign Hill is provided on their website. This list is up-to-date based on the season and the tours run.

Safety for solo female travelers

Sovereign Hill is very safe for solo female travelers. It is a town that is monitored and there are no issues or concerns that can ever happen. You will find only the fellow visitors and travelers who are in the place. I traveled to Sovereign Hill alone and I had no problems whatsoever. However, be cautious and know your surroundings on the train, especially at nights.

Closing Notes

I loved visiting Sovereign Hill and I enjoyed the entire day so much. It is definitely fun and interesting to learn about life that was during the Gold Rush era. I recommend adding this place as a must visit when in Melbourne.

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PIN for later reference - A day trip to Sovereign Hill from Melbourne
PIN for later reference – A day trip to Sovereign Hill from Melbourne

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10 thoughts on “A day trip to Sovereign Hill”

  1. Soverign Hill sounds really fascinating. Reading about Gold and the Gold Rush sends a thrill up my spine. Would love to visit the Gold Museum and also see the Gold pouring process. The Mine tours sound really exciting.

  2. This is a nice trip, where one gets to do many things. I would definitely love the mine tour and see how gold bars are made, it would be definitely very informative. Also the red coat parade looks like a nice experience to attend to. Thanks for the informative piece, bookmarking it for the future.

  3. We have not yet visited Melbourne. So now I can add Sovereign Hill to the places to visit. Open air museums like this are always interesting to get a glimpse into the Gold Rush past. And if I came home with some gold that would be a bonus. The masks remind me of Carnival in Venice.

  4. I haven’t been to Australia yet and neither have I heard of this place before. It sounds very interesting and unique – rooted in the good old times, obviously. I would definitely like to visit this place since it is the epitome of the ‘new gold dream’ of the new world 😉

  5. Melbourne is a beautiful modern Australian city owned by a lot of unique places like Sovereign Hill. Interestingly, they sell Venice masks there. Those redcoat soldiers in your photos look like from a historic movie!

  6. Australia is still on the top of my travel list and Sovereign Hill looks awesome! I have never heard of it before, but it seems very unique and fun. I liked the open air museums because I love getting to learn and travel around the places I am visiting. Makes it more of a special and educational experience to my family and I. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Sovereign Hill looks like an interesting place to visit! I hadn’t heard of it before, but it looks like somewhere I would have on my list. I would love to enjoy a mine tour or take a carriage ride around town.


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