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.
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.
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.
- Music – Watch the music played by the staff and volunteers. They are from the 1850s and are wonderful.
- 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.
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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